• Indigenous peoples in Argentina

    Indigenous peoples in Argentina

    The most recent national census in 2010 gave a total of 955,032 people self-identifying as descended from or belonging to an indigenous peoples' group.
  • Peoples

    There are 35 different officially-recognised indigenous peoples. They legally hold specific constitutional rights at federal level and in various provincial states.
  • Rights

    ILO Convention 169 and other universal human rights instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic and Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) are of constitutional force in the country. Argentina voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  • Challenges

    The tensions and conflicts over indigenous peoples’ land claims worsened in 2017. The State of Argentina failed to guarantee and enforce indigenous rights over land, and moreover, criminalised the members of indigenous communities who called out for this failure.

Argentina

Indigenous peoples in Argentina

According to the last national census in the country (2010), there are 955,032 people in Argentina who self-identify as descended from or as indigenous peoples. There are 35 different officially-recognised indigenous peoples that hold legally specific constitutional rights at a federal level and in various provincial states.

Argentina has voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ratified ILO Convention 169. The country has also ratified other universal human rights instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic and Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

Indigenous peoples in Argentina

Argentina is a federal country with 23 provinces and with a national population of almost 40 million people. According to the 2010 national census, 955,032 people self-identify as or as a descendant of indigenous peoples.

Main challenges for Argentina’s indigenous peoples

The tensions and conflicts over indigenous peoples’ land claims worsened in 2017. The State of Argentina failed to guarantee and enforce indigenous rights over land, and moreover, criminalised the members of indigenous communities who called out for this failure. In the context of this scenario and the confrontation between the two parts, there have been numerous acts of violence, and even deaths of indigenous activists, as it is the case of Santiago Maldonado.

The tension over land sees one of its roots in the economic interest in extractive activities on the territories claimed by indigenous peoples, as guaranteed rights of indigenous peoples, is incompatible with the neo-developmentalist economic model that is based precisely on these extractive activities.

Potential progress for Argentina’s indigenous peoples

With the aim of reducing levels of violenece, spaces for intercultural dialogue were created during 2017. The peace and intercultural dialogue committee7 that was created nationally brought together representatives of different political spaces, civil society organisations, intellectuals, with the aim of finding a political response to the tensions that would enable Argentina to set aside the use of force when resolving territorial conflicts, and instead find peaceful and agreed solutions.

Some of the documents that have emerged from this space reflect on the portrayal of indigenous Mapuche as violent terrorists.

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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. Download here.

Contact IWGIA

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

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