At the international level, Indigenous Peoples’ right to participate in decision-making processes in relation to issues that have a direct impact on their lives and future continues to be an uphill battle, including facing political and procedural barriers to their effective participation.

A considerable number of UN organisations and other multilateral institutions consider Indigenous Peoples’ rights as a marginal issue within their broader mandate. Many of the policies and programmes that directly affect Indigenous Peoples’ rights and well-being are developed and implemented without much regard for their rights or the considerations of international human rights standards regarding Indigenous Peoples.

There is therefore a pressing need to ensure that Indigenous Peoples’ voices continue to be heard and that the international community pays particular attention to their situation. It is also crucial that Indigenous Peoples continue to be able to effectively use the international human rights system to seek redress for human rights violations, especially today, in a COVID-19 world, where the pandemic does not allow for physical meetings that provide space for informal access to decisionmakers, and which may limit opportunities for influence.

Although IWGIA has worked extensively for decades to strengthen the focus of international bodies on Indigenous Peoples’ rights, there is still more to do. While this important work will continue, IWGIA’s global governance also seeks to address one of the biggest challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples: ensuring respect and protection of their rights at the national level. There is a lack of accountability on the part of many states for their international human rights obligations and commitments with regard to Indigenous Peoples’ rights, including their systematic disregard of recommendations made by international and regional human rights institutions and mechanisms.

We believe that more decisive action is urgently needed to ensure accountability of states with regard to their international human rights obligations and commitments on Indigenous Peoples’ rights. We will strengthen our efforts to promote multi-stakeholder engagement initiatives at national, regional and international levels aimed at monitoring and following up on recommendations made by international and regional human rights mechanisms.


Documenting: To enhance Indigenous Peoples’ access to justice and redress for violations of their rights, we will produce evidence-based human rights documentation and reports for submission to international and regional human rights mechanisms. The documentation produced will also be a key tool for Indigenous Peoples to enhance their engagement in and contribution to global decision-making processes, particularly in relation to Sustainable Development Goal monitoring, Indigenous women’s rights and climate action.

Advocating: We will undertake advocacy initiatives alongside our partners and with our allies at the national, regional and international level, especially at UN human rights bodies’ and mechanisms’ events, as well as those of regional human rights institutions, such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. We will apply a “toolbox approach” in order to support Indigenous partners in using a pool of strategic international human rights mechanisms and global processes to vindicate their rights, aimed at increasing state accountability for the protection of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. We will also seek more decisive action to ensure Indigenous Peoples are not left behind in the review and implementation of the SDGs by ensuring their inclusion in and contribution to the development of national action plans, state reviews and regional strategies.

Supporting empowerment: We will enhance the capacity and knowledge of Indigenous Peoples to engage in global decision-making processes that affect their lives and future and to effectively use human rights mechanisms to seek redress for human rights violations. Central to this is demanding and facilitating the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples at all levels of decision-making that affect their rights and interests.



IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting and defending Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Read more.

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Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for Indigenous Peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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