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

45th regular session of the Human Rights Council
14 September to 6 October 2020
Item 3
Interactive dialogue with SR on the rights of indigenous peoples
24th of September 2020

IWGIA’s submission on the report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples (A/HRC/45/34)


The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) would like to start by congratulating Mr. Francisco Cali Tzay on his appointment as Special Rapporteur. We are confident that the Special Rapporteur will devote his best efforts to promote compliance of UN Member States and other relevant actors with the applicable international human rights standards, in particular, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), and we are ready to co-operate with the mandate-holder to support the fulfilment of his work.

We would like to present some brief comments regarding the reports submitted by Mr. Cali as developed by former Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, as well as to submit some brief recommendations for the consideration of the Human Rights Council and its Member States.

The thematic report by the Special Rapporteur summarizes some cases of progress in achieving justice and reparation for indigenous peoples and preventing violations of their internationally recognized rights in which the mandate has been instrumental. In our view, the report provides two main conclusions.

First, the examples discussed offer a glimpse of the dire human rights violations indigenous peoples are still suffering in all the regions of the world. The Special Rapporteur does in fact underline that violence and criminalization against indigenous peoples, when they defend their collective rights to their lands, territories and resources has drastically increased in the last few years.

Second, it corroborates, therefore, the need and importance of a strong Rapporteurship on the rights of indigenous peoples. The mandate was created nearly 20 years ago, and, in the words of the Special Rapporteur, the implementation  gap in terms of realization of the rights of indigenous peoples and the increasing violence and criminalization, signal de need more than ever for a strong and effective mandate. 

In this sense, IWGIA would like to stress the recommendations contained in the report and would like to provide the following:

a) Calls on UN Member States to continue supporting and timely renewing the mandate of the SR.

b) Encourage/call UN Member States to increase their support to the UN special procedures system, and specifically to the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, to ensure that he counts with the necessary human and financial resources to adequately carry out his work.


IWGIA has had the honour to co-operate with the mandate-holders since the creation of the mandate, and bears witness of the limitations imposed on the work entrusted by the HRC and the victims expectations due to the lack of adequate means. Potential areas of work that could help significantly the fulfilment of the mandate, such as increased cooperation with regional and national human rights bodies and institutions, cannot be adequately developed for the same reason.

c) Calls on the UN Member States, in particular members of the HRC, to study and develop ways to encourage the effective cooperation of the Members with the SR, and to devise ways in which the SR can monitor and report on the situation of the human rights of indigenous peoples in countries that do not respond to the requests for information nor accept country visits requests.

d) IWGIA would also like to encourage the OHCHR and other relevant UN bodies, as well as donors and civil society organizations, to facilitate and support the meaningful engagement of indigenous peoples with the Special Rapporteur.

Finally, IWGIA would like to highlight the work that the former Special Rapporteur developed during her term on consultation and free, prior and informed consent, as reflected in her report. IWGIA would like to encourage current SR to continue providing guidance and assistance to both States and indigenous peoples for the adequate implementation of these important rights that, as underlined by the Special Rapporteur, stem from the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination, autonomy, self-government and the right to decide their own priorities and ways to pursue their sustainable development.



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.

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