EXCERPT FROM THE CONSTITUTION OF THE
BOLIVARIAN REPUBLIC OF VENEZUELA
The Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The State shall recognize the existence of indigenous people and of their communities, their social, political,
economic organization, their religions; the same as their habitats and their rights over their ancestral lands
which they have traditionally occupied, and which are necessary to develop and guarantee their way of life. The
National Executive shall, with the participation of the indigenous peoples, establish and guarantee their
collective property rights, which shall be deemed to be inalienable, non - embargo and non - transferable,
according to that which has been established herein by this law and Constitution.
The full utilization of natural resources of the habitats of the indigenous people on the part of the State shall
be carried out in such a manner as to not damage the social, economic and cultural integrity of the same. The same
shall be subject to previous information and consultation with the respective indigenous communities involved. The
benefits of this utilization on the part of the indigenous people are subject to the Constitution and the law.
The indigenous people have a legal right to keep and, to develop their ethnic and cultural identities, their
universal vision, their values, their spirituality and their sacred places for ritualistic purposes. The State
shall promote the value and discussion of the cultural manifestation of the indigenous people; which they have a
right to, proper education and to an educational regime of intercultural and bilingual character; paying
particular attention to their socio-cultural and traditional values.
The indigenous people have a right to all-encompassing health programs, based upon full consideration to their
cultural practice. The State shall recognize the traditional medicine and complementary therapies, subject to
biological ethical principles.
The indigenous people have a right to keep and promote their own economic practices, based upon reciprocity,to the
solidarity and exchange of their traditionalproductive activities, to their participation in the national economy,
and to be able to define these priorities. The indigenous peoples have a right to services for the purpose of
professional development,and to participate in the elaboration, execution and development of specific capacitation
programs, and to services of technical and economic assistance, within the limits of the local developmental
maintenance. The State guarantees to its work force, and to the participant indigenous workers - the enjoyment of
their rights; which are given as part of labour legislation.
The collective, and intellectual property of the knowledge, technologies and innovations of the indigenous peoples
is guaranteed. All activities related to the genetic resources, and to the knowledge associated with the same
shall be established for the common good. The registration of patents involving these resources and ancestral
knowledge is strictly prohibited.
The indigenous people have a right to political participation. The State shall guarantee indigenous representation
at the National Assembly, and in the deliberating bodies of federal and local entities,which contain indigenous
populations; in accordance with legal decrees.
The indigenous peoples, as our ancestral and cultural roots are an inherrent part of our Nation, of the State and
of the Venezuelan people as one, sovereign and indivisible. In accordance with this Constitution, they have the
duty of safeguarding national sovereign integrity. The term 'people' shall not be interpreted in this Constitution
in the sense as that given by International Law.
Caracas, December 1999