Frontpage > Publications > Search publications

Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation and Initial Contact in the Americas

: Recommendations for the Full Respect of their Human Rights

Prepared by the Rapporteurship on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Inter-America Commission on Human Rights

The western hemisphere is home to the largest number of indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation and initial contact in the world. They are the last peoples who were not colonized and who do not have permanent relations with today’s predominant national societies. These peoples and their ancestors have lived in the Americas since long before current States came into existence. Today, very few of them survive, and many are at risk of disappearing entirely.

Indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation and initial contact are holders of human rights in a unique situation of vulnerability, and among the few who cannot advocate for their own rights. This reality makes ensuring respect for their rights especially important. Given the impossibility of them advocating for their own rights, States, international organizations, members of civil society, and other actors in the defense of human rights must ensure that their human rights are respected to the same extent as those of all inhabitants of the Americas, taking into account the particularities of their situation.

This Report presents a general introduction to the human rights situation of indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation and initial contact in the Americas. It also compiles the main sources of law from the inter-American and universal human rights systems for their protection, identifies the threats to the full enjoyment of their human rights, and makes a series of recommendations to the member States of the Organization of American States.

This report was prepared with input obtained from various sources, including States, indigenous and civil society organizations, and experts and approved by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on December 30, 2013