Engaging National Human Rights Institutions in Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


Brenda L. Gunn

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration) is a key international human rights instrument for the protection and promotion of Indigenous peoples’ inherent rights. The UN system and states recommitted to implementing the UN Declaration at the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Implementing the UN Declaration will require actions by multiple actors, including states, UN agencies and Indigenous peoples. However, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and potentially the subnational (or provincial-level) institutions, also play a crucial role in promoting and monitoring the implementation of international human rights standards, such as those provided for in the UN Declaration. There exists much research that speaks to the role of NHRIs in promoting international human rights law domestically, but none that speaks specifically to the role of NHRIs in promoting implementation of the UN Declaration. This paper explores the roles that NHRIs can play at both the international and the domestic level in implementing the UN Declaration.