General Recommendation No. 23: Indigenous Peoples : . 18/08/97.
General Recommendation No. 23: Indigenous Peoples. (General
Convention Abbreviation: CERD

General Recommendation XXIII

Indigenous Peoples

(Fifty-first session, 1997) *

1. In the practice of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, in particular in
the examination of reports of States parties under article 9 of the International Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the situation of indigenous peoples has
always been a matter of close attention and concern. In this respect, the Committee has
consistently affirmed that discrimination against indigenous peoples falls under the scope of the
Convention and that all appropriate means must be taken to combat and eliminate such

2. The Committee, noting that the General Assembly proclaimed the International
Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples commencing on 10 December 1994, reaffirms
that the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Racial Discrimination apply to indigenous peoples.
3. The Committee is conscious of the fact that in many regions of the world indigenous
peoples have been, and are still being, discriminated against and deprived of their human
rights and fundamental freedoms and in particular that they have lost their land and
resources to colonists, commercial companies and State enterprises. Consequently, the
preservation of their culture and their historical identity has been and still is jeopardized.
4. The Committee calls in particular upon States parties to:
(a) Recognize and respect indigenous distinct culture, history, language and way of life as
an enrichment of the State's cultural identity and to promote its preservation;
(b) Ensure that members of indigenous peoples are free and equal in dignity and rights
and free from any discrimination, in particular that based on indigenous origin or identity;

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