Cultural dimensions

The cultural dimensions of the people’s right to self-determination can be seen as its right to determine and establish the cultural regime or system under which it is to live. This implies recognition of its right to regain, enjoy and enrich its cultural heritage, and affirm the right of all its members to education and culture. The Declaration of the Principles of International Cultural Co-operation, adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO, recognizes that every people has the right and duty to develop its culture, and mentions in its preamble the most important United Nations resolution relating to recognition of the right of peoples to self-determination.

The deeply spiritual and special relationship between indigenous peoples and their lands is fundamental to their existence as such and to all their beliefs, customs, traditions and culture. These concerns are taken into account in Article 25 of the draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: “Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual and material relationship with the lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard”.

 

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