Awareness raising

One of the main preconditions for decision-makers and implementers to be able to advance indigenous peoples’ rights is that they are aware of the general situation facing indigenous peoples, their rights and the consequences of non recognition/implementation of these rights.

Documenting and systematizing information about the situation of indigenous peoples, their rights and violations of their human rights is a strong lobbying and advocacy tools vis-à-vis decision-makers and implementers as well as the general public. It also forms the basis for training and sharing of experience among indigenous peoples around the world.

IWGIA works to raise awareness about the situation and rights of indigenous peoples through producing and publishing books, human rights reports, briefing papers, training manuals and audio-visual materials.

IWGIA also supports indigenous organizations to produce their own publications and information material on the basis of which they can build their own advocacy work nationally, regionally and internationally.

Below you find examples of local communication and awareness raising projects supported by IWGIA:

Indigenous Communication projects and information centers in South America and Russia

There is a growing interest among indigenous organizations in implementing communication programs through which to discuss the communities’ problems and make their demands known to the general public. IWGIA has, for a number of years, been supporting different communication projects, either web pages, radio programs or the production of videos. In turn, these programs are promoting coordination processes and training networks of indigenous communicators, with notable results in terms of disseminating the situation of the continent’s indigenous peoples.

Some of the communication projects supported by IWGIA are:

AJI became a reference point for me, as we have nothing in the Reserve. In AJI, we make videos, radio programs, we learn computing and we put a newspaper together. What I like best is that the whole world is going to know about us and that it is we young indigenous people who are doing all this ourselves. This is good as we are starting to get a sense of self-worth. IWGIA is helping us in all this and we know that it is very difficult to find people who believe in us.”  - Indianara Rodrigues Machado

IWGIA also supports indigenous information centers in the European North, Siberia and Far East of the Russian Federation. These information centers are instrumental in raising awareness of indigenous issues in the regions through their websites and newsletters, as well as through their contributions to the mainstream media. Furthermore, the centers provide technical support to the organization of indigenous events, as well as capacity building seminars.

Information Center in Russia wins prize for best website on ethnic issues

RAIPON’s information center in Moscow is playing a vital role in distributing information about indigenous peoples and has improved its website. As a result, it has won a public prize for the best website on ethnic issues in the Russian Federation.

Raising awareness of the implications of REDD for indigenous peoples in Asia

IWGIA works to raise awareness and strengthen advocacy around the climate change mitigation schemes intended to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation called REDD. These activities are supported within a regional project in Asia entitled "Promoting Rights-based, Equitable and Pro-Poor REDD Strategies in South and Southeast Asia", as well as through large dialogue meetings bringing together indigenous leaders, civil society organizations and relevant government agencies.

In 2010, one of the results of IWGIA’s engagement and support for awareness raising on the implications of REDD for indigenous peoples was the creation of the Climate Change Monitoring and Information Network website. The website is a platform for experience sharing where IWGIA’s partners post news items on REDD-related developments in their countries. In effect, the website is an important capacity building tool for our project partners and other indigenous organizations engaged in REDD activities in their countries.

Supporting the establishment of indigenous rights observatories in South America

One of IWGIA’s main objectives is to enhance the capacity of indigenous peoples to effectively document human rights abuses and access justice for the benefit of their people, particularly those who are the victims of human rights violations, and to advocate for the long-term adoption and implementation of indigenous peoples’ human rights.

In the context of this work, in 2010 IWGIA continued to support the establishment and work of indigenous rights observatories in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and the Philippines. These observatories have been consistently systematizing documentation on human rights abuses and promoting public policy proposals in favour of indigenous peoples.

Films as an advocacy tool for the promotion of indigenous peoples´rights

In 2010, in collaboration with the African Commission’s Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities (WGIP), IWGIA produced a film on indigenous peoples in Africa and the work of the WGIP. The film was shot in Cameroon among the Bagyeli and the Mbororo communities, in Kenya among the Endorois and the Ogiek communities, and in Banjul at the 47th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR. It illustrates the main challenges facing indigenous communities in Africa and gives an overview of the work and role of the WGIP and the ACHPR in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous populations in Africa.

The film has already served as a powerful tool for raising awareness of indigenous peoples’ rights. It was for example shown at the Regional Sensitization seminar of the ACHPR held in Congo in August 2011, at the Training Course on Indigenous Peoples' Rights at the University of Pretoria in September 2011, and not least, at the ASEAN Indigenous Peoples' Task Force meeting held in November 2011 in Bali, where it served as inspiration for lobbying for a similar process in Asia.

Also in 2010, and in cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, IWGIA produced a DVD on the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP). The film was shot in Geneva during the 2nd session of the EMRIP and aims to raise awareness among indigenous peoples, civil society, national human rights institutions, governmental institutions and the general public as to the mandate of the Expert Mechanism and its contribution to advancing the rights of indigenous peoples.