The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples seen from a legal historical perspective

Update 2023

Fifteen years ago, 143 states adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples. Although many countries have accepted the legal standards, the implementation and effective realisation of the rights of indigenous peoples is seen as rather unsatisfactory. From a legal historical point of view, it is not least interesting because the UNDRIP elevated a group’s self-identification, its traditions, and historical identity formation to the level of a fundamental consideration in determining its status. We wondered how indigenous peoples responded to this, and whether this declaration had consequences on the ground. How did indigenous communities prove their traditions, their historical identity, their rights? – We asked experts from Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia and Peru for short statements on these and other questions related to the 15th anniversary of the UNDRIP. These are the legal history insights they gave us:

Archivos de comunidad en Bolivia. Saber normativo y diversidad epistémica (Paola Revilla and Pablo Quisbert)

Legal regime for the mosaic of differences: 25th anniversary of UNDRIP – experiences in Brazil (Samuel Barbosa)

¿Un parche en una nalga, cuando el dolor es de muela? A propósito de los 15 años de la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los pueblos indígenas (Karla L. Escobar)

Una consulta del siglo XXII: La ebullición local del Derecho Internacional de los Pueblos Indígenas (Armando Guevara Gil)

Cite as: Duve, Thomas: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples seen from a legal historical perspective,, 27.10.2022,

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