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Posted on April 2nd, 2012, by

There should be no real difference between the protection of minorities and indigenous groups in international human rights law.

Under human rights the inseparable rights of human personality are usually implied. Conception of human rights acknowledges that everybody has a right to use his or her human rights without some distinction on the sign of race, color of skin, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, presence of proper class or other position. Human rights are legally guaranteed legal norms in area of human rights, which protect separate persons and group of people from actions, hurting basic freedoms and dignity of human personality. These norms found a reflection in agreements, ordinary international law, code of laws and code of principles and in other sources of legal norms. Laws in area of human rights impose on the states an obligation to operate definitely and forbid the states to carry out the certain types of activity. At the same time a law does not set a human right. Human rights are rights which everybody has because of that he is human personality. Agreements and other sources of right, as a rule, serve for the formal protecting of rights for separate persons and groups from actions or inaction of governments which hinder realization of their human rights. The main purpose of this paper is to prove that there should be no real difference between the protection of minorities and indigenous groups in international human rights law.

I found an interesting idea that was demonstrated by Kingsbury (1998) and it shows the next vision of the problem: Indigenous groups with some recognition of their land rights face the dilemma: how to live within the nation state participating in its economy while maintaining distinctive culture and heritage.  That ought to be their decision, and no one else’s, even if that someone else be a government with a fresh political mandate.  Those of us who are non-indigenous members of such nation states need to guarantee the minimum requirements for these indigenous groups to make a realistic choice.  Doing so, we have the opportunity, at some considerable cost, to ground our national identity and project in the depth and complexity of the history of our land and all its peoples.

First of all I want to note that there are some main characteristics of human rights that make no difference between the protection of minorities and indigenous groups. These basic characteristics are:

ü                                   based on respect of dignity and value of everybody;

ü                                   universal, i.e. applicable in an equal degree and without some discrimination to all people;

ü                                   inalienable, i.e. nobody can be deprived from his or her human rights, except for concrete situations: for example, a right on freedom can be limited, if it is set a court, that or other person is guilty in the commission of crime;

ü                                   indivisible, associate and interdependent, as not enough to observe one human rights and not observe other. In practice violation of one right frequently results in violation of other rights. All human rights must be therefore examined equivalent and in an equal degree necessary for providing of dignity and value of everybody.

According to Sedletzki (2009) we see that the recognition of special rights for minorities and indigenous peoples in the international framework, particularly in a European context, has always met with suspicion. It has been marked by a tension between three elements: the importance of respect for cultural diversity; understandings of the principle of non-discrimination; and the need to ensure peace and stability within states. This explains why international standards bear the influence of historical events and have evolved over time, depending on the weight awarded to each of these elements.

The problem of defense of indigenous groups’ rights carries both international and domestic character. Thus, national facilities of their legal defense must provide the maximal account of requirements, set of international acts.

A modern international law serves as not only guideline but also powerful stimulus in development of intra-national legislation in area of providing of rights for indigenous groups. Determining international standards as it applies to legal status of these people; an international law is instrumental in the processes of democratization of internal development of the states, on territory of which they live.

Normative documents produced by international association serve as instruments of international defense of rights for indigenous groups and minorities, and also activity of different international and ungovernmental organizations, directed on realization of concrete procedures of defense of their rights. We will dwell, foremost, on international acts, operating in the field of providing of rights for native people.

In adjusting and defense of rights for native people a modern international law comes from confession after every representative from their number of confessedly rights and freedoms, belongings in an equal measure to all habitants of planet, regardless of their racial, religious, national or linguistic belonging. They in full degree must use all human rights and basic freedoms, by the proclaimed and protected international documents. At the same time regardless of quantity and other descriptions on these people, as well as on other, principles of equality of rights and self-determination spread. Confession after them and individual, and collective rights it is related to that native people are the same citizens and people of the states, on territory of which they live, as well as other citizens and people of these states. Therefore, legal status of native people and their representatives in the democratic states must not yield to legal status of other citizens. Presently in an international law there is a number of universal and special acts, applied in regard to indigenous small in quantity groups.

Thus, based on above stated information it is necessary to mention for the conclusion that defense of rights of indigenous groups, as well as defense of minorities, must be based on non-admission of collective discrimination, and on providing of equal collective rights. It will allow minorities to develop the originality, but will not injure the processes of integration. In such a way we see that there should be no real difference between the protection of minorities and indigenous groups in international human rights law. I also want to quote information from web site that will be a good conclusion for this paper: in conclusion, the active engagement of the Inter-American human rights system with issues and concerns of indigenous peoples’ human rights is one of the most important developments in international law today. Many of the arguments that we make in this Article about indigenous peoples’ rights in their traditional lands and resources could not be credibly made in international law a few short decades or even years ago. Yet, as we have tried to show, within the Inter-American human rights system at least, these arguments are supported by an ever increasing number of international and domestic legal precedents. The resolution of the indigenous human rights cases described in this Article will, one way or another, provide additional important legal precedents. These cases hold the potential to further the transformation of international law itself into an ever more meaningful and effective instrument for addressing the human rights concerns of indigenous peoples in the Americas and around the world as well.

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