• Home
  • Global Governance

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.

STRATEGIC FOCUS AREAS (2021-2025)

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.

Empowering: 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.

  • Social media gives voice to indigenous communities

    With about half the world’s indigenous people living in cities -where connection to the wired world is comparatively easy - electronic media is playing a growing role in promoting their rights. “Thanks to the Internet, it only takes a couple of seconds for news related to indigenous communities to...

  • Combating violence against indigenous women and girls

    The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) adopted recommendations on combating violence against indigenous women and girls at its 11th session in May 2012. The recommendations were based on those from the International Expert Group Meeting on Combating Violence against Indigenous Women...

  • Report about the World Heritage Convention and Indigenous Peoples

    In September 2012, the Danish Agency for Culture, the Greenland Government and IWGIA together hosted an International Expert Workshop on the World Heritage Convention and Indigenous Peoples as part of the Convention’s 40th Anniversary.

  • International: Statement by the special rapporteur for the 12th session of UNPFII

    Statement by Professor James Anaya Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Twelfth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 22 May 2013, New York

  • UN: Danish Minister directs attention to indigenous peoples’ access to education

    In his statement on education at the 4th session of the General assembly open work group on sustainable development goals held this week in New York, the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Christian Friis Bach, directed attention to indigenous peoples’ access to education. The Minister...

  • Rio+20:Indigenous Peoples International Declaration on Self-Determination and Sustainable Development

    Indigenous Peoples International Declaration on Self-Determination and Sustainable Development 19 June, 2012, Rio De Janeiro Indigenous Peoples from all regions of the world met at the “Indigenous Peoples International Conference on Sustainable Development and Self Determination,” from June 17th –...

  • New manual aims to further practical implementation of the UNDRIP

    The new manual “The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – A Manual for National Human Rights Institutions”, by the the Asia Pacific Forum and the UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, aims at increased engagement by national human rights institutions in...

  • Anaya's comments on sexual health and reproductive rights of indigenous peoples

    The Special Rapporteur James Anaya presented his comments during the International Expert Group Meeting held in New York last week. Anaya opened the conference outlining the barriers faced by indigenous peoples in regard to the realization of their right to health, including inadequate access to...

  • World Bank: Poverty Rates Strikingly High Among Indigenous Populations

    The highest percentages of indigenous people in proportion to the total national population are in China (36 percent), South Asia (32 percent) and Southeast Asia (10 percent), according to “Indigenous Peoples, Poverty, and Development”, a treatise on indigenous peoples in Asia, Africa and Latin...

  • International: UN General Assembly adopts the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    With an overwhelming majority of 143 votes in favour, only 4 negative votes cast (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, United States) and 11 abstentions, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13, 2007.

  • Risk of serious setback for indigenous participation in the UN

    During the last weeks, IWGIA has been receiving disturbing news from New York about the hesitancy of the current President of the General Assembly to reconfirm the appointment of an indigenous co-facilitator on an equal basis with a State representative to facilitate the debate and negotiations related...

  • Indigenous women request UN to nominate a facilitator for world-level meeting

    Indigenous Women of the Americas today requested John Ashe, President of the United Nations General Assembly, to designate an indigenous delegate who, together with the states’ representative, will facilitate the process of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples to be held this September.

  • UN overrides indigenous peoples’ internal process for nomination of Expert

    “We need to assert  respect for indigenous peoples-led selection process and safeguard  the integrity and independence of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that  resulted from the global movement of indigenous peoples,” says Tebtebba  (Indigenous  Peoples’  International  Centre  for  Policy ...

  • Submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women

    Drafting of the General Recommendation on the Rights of Indigenous Women and Girls With this written submission, the International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) seeks to bring forward the voices, perspectives and experiences of indigenous women and girls, particularly from Africa, Asia, Latin...

  • Reactions to the outcome of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

    Indigenous peoples express moderate satisfaction with the Outcome Document adopted Monday 22 September at the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples: It is not as action oriented as was hoped for, but it confirms and reaffirms the language of the UN Declaration and will be an important tool for...

  • New Special Rapporteurship on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

    Taking into account the interdependent and indivisible nature of human rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) decided to initiate a process to create an Office of the Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ESCR).

  • 45th Session of the Human Rights Council

    The Human Rights Council is the main intergovernmental body within the United Nations system responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe. It therefore plays a pivotal role in the promotion and the protection of Indigenous Peoples’ rights.  Most of the gains...

  • Overall Disappointment at the United Nations: World Conference endangered

    Indigenous peoples were left with frustration and disappointment as the preparatory process for the realization of the High Level Plenary Meeting also known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples was left in a limbo at the closing session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

  • Latest update on the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

    At the end of May, indigenous peoples were left with frustration and disappointment as the preparatory process for the realization of the High Level Plenary Meeting of the UN General Assembly, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) was left in a limbo at the closing...

  • WCIP: Joint letter proposes addition about regional developments to the zero draft

    The letter signed by indigenous organisations and support NGO’s underlines the importance of including a new Preambular Paragraph to the current Zero draft of the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. The Preambular Paragraph should welcome regional developments regarding...

  • Press release: World Bank moves to undermine the rights of indigenous peoples

    In an unprecedented move, the World Bank will be proposing that governments could ‘opt-out’ of requirements designed to protect indigenous peoples from unintended and negative consequences from development activities funded by the multilateral lender. In a leaked draft of new environmental and...

  • Joint submission on the situation of the Ogiek to the Human Rights Council's 45th Session

      45th regular session of the Human Rights Council14 September to 2 October 2020Item 3Submission related to the “Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the rights of indigenous peoples”: https://undocs.org/en/A/HRC/45/22 ( paragraphs 38 and 39) The Ogiek Peoples...

  • Why are indigenous people left out of the sustainable development goals?

    Despite promises to leave no one behind, the UN drafting committee has little to say about halting threats to indigenous peoples survival. On his blog at the Guardian Jonathan Glennie explains why development can be considered a threat as much as an opportunity.

  • IWGIA: Letter to the World Bank related to ongoing review of Safeguard Policy

    IWGIA has sent a letter to the World Bank related to the review of its Environmental and Social Safeguard Policies. By proposing an alternative approach to applying its safeguards on Indigenous Peoples the bank disregards international law on indigenous peoples rights and undermines achievements...

  • IWGIA's submission on the Congo Brazzaville country report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples

      45th regular session of the Human Rights Council14 September to 6 October 2020Item 3Interactive dialogue with SR on the rights of indigenous peoples24th of September 2020   IWGIA's submission on the Congo Brazzaville country report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples...

  • Statement by IWGIA’s partner AIPP on Human Rights Day

    This year’s slogan for Human Rights Day is, "Human Rights 365". This encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that...

  • Joint submission on the Human Rights Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Cambodia

      45th regular session of the Human Rights Council14 September to 2 October 2020Agenda Item 2Country situations information on the human rights situation of Indigenous Peoples in Cambodia IWGIA and AIPP are happy to learn from the report to the HRC that the OHCHR has been raising awareness and...

  • UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples reports to UN General Assembly

    On 18 October 2010, Prof. James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation of Indigenous Peoples, presented his second annual report to the United Nations General Assembly in New York during its 65th session. In his report, Prof. James Anaya notes that indigenous peoples are...

  • UN Tracks Progress on Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People

    At its sixty-fourth session, the United Nation's General Assembly discussed the findings of the Secretary General’s midterm report tracking the progress made in the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People so far. UN organizations, NGOs, and states contributed to the findings...

  • Submission on the Report of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar

      45th regular session of the Human Rights Council14 September to 2 October 2020Report of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for MyanmarAgenda  item 2 IWGIA and AIPP welcome the establishment of the independent investigative mechanism with the mandate to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse...

  • Joint submission on COVID-19 to the OHCHR - HRC45

    45th regular session of the Human Rights Council14 September to 2 October 2020Agenda Item 2Oral update by the HC, oral updates on COVID19 IWGIA and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) applaud the OHCHR for recognizing the specific vulnerabilities of Indigenous Peoples during the COVID-19...

  • Raising the voices and needs of indigenous women in Africa and Asia

    Indigenous women all over the world suffer from triple discrimination as they are not only discriminated simply for being women or for being indigenous, but also for being indigenous women. Indigenous women are often not only left out of local and national political processes but are also excluded from...

  • IWGIA’s submission on the report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples

    45th regular session of the Human Rights Council14 September to 6 October 2020Item 3Interactive dialogue with SR on the rights of indigenous peoples24th of September 2020 IWGIA’s submission on the report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples (A/HRC/45/34)...

  • Seminar: Indigenous peoples’ rights to autonomy and self government through self determination

    An International Seminar to assess the global status and trends with regards to indigenous autonomies took place in Mexico City in March 2019. This meeting follows the work developed by indigenous organisations and the organising institutions over the last few years. Read the recommendations from...

  • Written statement on the worsening cases of violence against indigenous women

    IWGIA and Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) has together submitted this statement to draw attention to the worsening cases of violence against indigenous women at the UNSCW committee. Read the full statement in the following part.

  • ILO Convention No. 169

    The ILO Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention No. 169 is an international treaty, adopted by the International Labour Conference of the ILO in 1989.

  • Invitation to the conference: Claiming Civic Space Together

    The 4th and 5th of March, IWGIA participates in the conference "Claiming Civic Space Together" in Copenhagen, and you are invited too.

  • Indigenous Peoples innovative process of establishing UNPFII and IWGIA's role in it

    In May 2002, United Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) held its first official meeting in New York. This was as a result of a groundbreaking process where indigenous peoples in nearly a decade pushed the boundaries for how United Nations functioned and overcame difficult...

  • The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

    On September 13, 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The adoption followed more than twenty years of discussion within the UN system. Indigenous peoples played a key role in the formulation of the Declaration.

  • 8th Session of the EMRIP: Joint statement on indigenous rights and World Heritage

    Joint statement on the continued lack of protection of the rights of indigenous peoples with respect to their cultural heritage in the context of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention Joint statement of: Endorois Welfare Council, Saami Council & International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)

  • Human Rights Council: Special Rapporteur presents Report 2015

    The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has submitted her report to the Human Rights Council, which provides a summary of her activities since her previous report to the Council (A/HRC/27/52) and undertakes a thematic analysis of violations against...

  • SDGs: Roundtable conference on the 2030 development agenda

    Two weeks after the adoption by the United Nations of the Sustainable Development Goals indigenous peoples gather in Copenhagen to take stock and strategize on their involvement in the 2030 agenda.  IWGIA and the Norwegian Forum for Development Cooperation with Indigenous Peoples have organised a...

  • Appointment of two indigenous experts to follow up on the World Conference

    The President of the United Nations General Assembly, Mr Mogens Lykketoft, made a major decision to move forward with implementing the WCIP Outcome Document by appointing Claire Charters (Maori from New Zealand) and Prof. James Anaya (former UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous...

  • Global conference urged to include 300 million excluded women

    IWGIA and IDSN call on the participants in the Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen to address discrimination against hundreds of millions of Dalit and indigenous women.

  • IACHR in crisis: Strong Support to Public Statement

    Facing the crisis affecting the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH), the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) and Observatorio Ciudadano Chile have prepared a public statement and call organisations to endorse the demand to reach a solution to the actual...

  • OAS: Regressive elements in the American Declaration

    The American Declaration was unanimously approved by the participating States on 15 June 2016, albeit with scant indigenous participation. The regional organization issued a press release stating that the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples had finally been adopted, after 17...

  • Denmark is still standing with indigenous peoples

    You have to look a bit before you will find it. But on page 33 in the new Danish development strategy you will find indigenous peoples rights as a key priority in the human rights area. The new strategy has been adopted by all the parties in the Danish Parliament except one. All this means, that...

  • Cunningham: “We should feel joy for what has been achieved at the World Conference”

    “Now we have the enormous challenge of ensuring that States fulfill their commitments”, Miskito leader says. Miskito leader Mirna Kay Cunningham said that indigenous peoples of the world should be happy about the outcome of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, held on the 22 and 23 of...

  • In memory of Erica-Irene Daes

    Dr. Erica-Irene Daes, an academic, diplomat, UN independent expert and strong human rights defender, was undoubtedly one of the main protagonists in the significant progress achieved over the last four decades in relation to recognising Indigenous Peoples as subjects of international law. She...

STAY CONNECTED

About IWGIA

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

Indigenous World

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

Contact IWGIA

Prinsessegade 29 B, 3rd floor
DK 1422 Copenhagen
Denmark
Phone: (+45) 53 73 28 30
E-mail: iwgia@iwgia.org
CVR: 81294410

Report possible misconduct, fraud, or corruption

NOTE! This site uses cookies and similar technologies.

If you do not change browser settings, you agree to it. Learn more

I understand