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Legal implications of the UNDRIP

The adoption of the UNDRIP on 2007 by the UN General Assembly was the culmination of a challenging process initiated more than twenty years ago in which indigenous peoples themselves were the main driving forced3 The adoption also reflects the deep aspirations of the world’s indigenous peoples and their confidence in international law and human rights law as powerful tools to modify entrenched patterns of domination and exclusion that have affected indigenous peoples since colonial times.64 To a great extent, the UNDRIP is an attempt to repair historical wrongs suffered by indigenous peoples.65 As established by the UNDRIP in its preamble, ‘indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of, inter alia, their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources, thus preventing them from exercising, in particular, their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests’.66

Concerning the legal status of the rights recognized in the UNDRIP, we must first distinguish between the legal value of the Declaration itself and the normative character of the substantive rights included in the UNDRIP.

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