Resolution on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

published 22 July 1995 updated 31 March 2017

The Education International First World Congress meeting in Harare (Zimbabwe) from 19 to 23 July 1995:

1. Recalls the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the ILO Convention (No.169) and the many international instruments on the prevention of discrimination;

2. Notes that 1995 is the beginning of the decade of Indigenous Peoples;

3. Recognises

a. that the social, cultural and economic conditions of Indigenous Peoples distinguish them from other sections of the national community, and that their status is regulated wholly or partially by their own customs or traditions or by special laws or regulations;

b. that those who are regarded as Indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country or a geographical region to which the country belong, at the time of conquest or colonisation or the establishment of present state boundaries and who, irrespective of their legal status retain some or all of their own social, economic cultural and political institutions;

4. Considers the diversity of cultures, religions, social and economic organisations of the 250 million Indigenous Peoples, living in over 70 countries worldwide and representing 4% of the world's population;

5. Recognizes the inherent dignity and the unique contribution of Indigenous Peoples to the development and plurality of society;

6. Acknowledges that the distinct cultures and languages of indigenous peoples enrich the cultural heritage of humankind and deserve protection as vehicles of culture and identity;

7. Recalls that the constitution of Education International commits EI "to combat all forms of racism and of bias or discrimination in education and society due to gender, marital status, sexual orientation, age, religion, political opinion, social or economic status or national or ethnic origin";

8. Recalls further that the World Conference on Human Rights re-affirmed the commitment of the international community to promote the economic, social and cultural well-being of indigenous peoples;

9. Recognizes the role that teacher unions and the education system have in ensuring the promotion and preservation of cultural identity for indigenous peoples.

The Congress determines that Education International:

10. Shall promote the rights of Indigenous Peoples through participation in the United Nations working group on Indigenous Peoples and where possible shall include indigenous peoples in EI delegations to this working group;

11. Shall support the proposal of a permanent Forum of Indigenous peoples in the UN;

12. Will promote the collective rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination and recognition of their cultural identity , including the right to learn and to use their own language;

13. Will encourage member organisations to promote education for Indigenous Peoples that is developed with their full participation to meet the aspirations and needs of Indigenous Peoples;

14. Shall urge UNESCO to promote, within the curricula of the education systems of member states, the use of materials that reflect the history, cultures and contemporary lifestyles of indigenous peoples and that recognise their knowledge, skills values and beliefs;

15. Shall encourage member organisations, where appropriate, to establish Indigenous Education Committees, to ensure representation of indigenous teachers and educational workers in their union structures and to include indigenous members within their delegations;

16. Shall promote the rights of Indigenous Peoples provided for in international human rights instruments.