Frontpage > About IWGIA > What we do > International Human Rights advocacy

International human rights advocacy

At the international level, IWGIA focuses on the work of inter-governmental organisations, and particularly the United Nations human rights bodies.

IWGIA’s main objectives with regard to its Human Rights and International Advocacy Work Program are:

  • To enhance respect for indigenous peoples' human rights and to ensure that indigenous peoples are involved in all decisions that concern their own future.
  • To support indigenous organizations' endeavours to open up political and legal spaces in the international rights arena and to be accepted as participants on a basis of equality.

To achieve these aims, IWGIA supports a considerable number of activities with the common goal of promoting indigenous participation in intergovernmental institutions and supporting indigenous initiatives to link international advocacy work with local, national and regional activities.

Financial support to indigenous peoples

Facilitation of meetings in the United Nations is a central activity for IWGIA. IWGIA plays an important role in ensuring indigenous participation in the different meetings and working groups within the UN system. This is done by financial support from the Human Rights Fund to cover travel expenses of participants.

The Human Rights Fund

IWGIA is one of five organizations, which since 1984, together have operated a fund, The Human Rights Fund for Indigenous Peoples (HRFIP). The purpose of the fund is to increase the participation of indigenous representatives at sessions in the UN. The fund finances travel and lodge expenses for the representatives of indigenous peoples, who upon application have qualified for financial support to sessions in the UN or other international fora.

Accreditation to the UN

Another important role of IWGIA is the facilitation of accreditation necessary for a great number of indigenous representatives by way of IWGIA's ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) Consultative Status. A status which is required in order to be able to participate in the UN meetings.


IWGIA has published a number of publications, which seeks to reflect the discussions on the rights of indigenous peoples in the United Nations and regional human rights systems and guide indigenous activist on how to best use relevant bodies and mechanisms.

Every year "The Indigenous World" gives a short report on the most important developments within the different processes and mechanisms during the latest calendar year.

More information

You can read more about IWGIA's involvement in human rights work in the following sections of our website :

  • UN Mechanisms and Processes - about the work of The UN Permanent Forum, The UN Human Rights Council and its treaty bodies and special procedures etc.
  • Regional Bodies and Mechanisms - about the work of the African Commission of Human and Peoples' Rights, The Arctic Council, The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, and The Organization of American States.