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International Processes & Initiatives

Every year IWGIA reports on the situation of Indigenous Peoples worldwide. Our global report, The Indigenous World, documents the state of Indigenous Peoples' rights in countries on all continents with detailed country reports authored by distinguished experts, Indigenous activists and scholars. 

It is IWGIA's hope that Indigenous Peoples and their organisations will find our reports useful in their advocacy work, and that a wider audience will use our information on Indigenous Peoples worldwide. The Indigenous World has been published every year since 1986.

This section focuses on International Processes and Initiatives which have a special focus on Indigenous Peoples.

Read all the individual country reports here or download any of the annual editions of The Indigenous World here


The Indigenous World 2022: African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR)

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) was established in accordance with Article 30 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, with a mandate to promote and protect human and peoples’ rights on the continent. It was officially inaugurated on 2 November 1987 and is the premier human rights monitoring body of the African Union (AU). In 2001, the ACHPR established a Working Group on Indigenous Populations/Communities in Africa (WGIP), marking a milestone in the promotion and protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Africa.

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The Indigenous World 2022: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967 with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by its founding Member States. The Member States of the Association are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. The ASEAN Secretariat is based in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The ASEAN Charter was adopted in November 2007 and came into force in December 2008. It is the legally binding agreement among the Member States that provides ASEAN with a legal status and institutional framework.

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The Indigenous World 2022: Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

The Convention on Biological Diversity is an international treaty under the United Nations (UN), adopted in 1992. The Convention has three objectives: to conserve biodiversity, to promote its sustainable use, and to ensure the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from its utilisation (Art. 1).[1]

The Convention has developed programmes of work on thematic issues such as marine, agricultural and forest biodiversity, and on cross-cutting issues such as traditional knowledge, access to genetic resources and protected areas. All the programmes of work have a direct impact on Indigenous Peoples’ rights and territories. The Convention recognises the importance of traditional knowledge (Art. 8j) and customary sustainable use of biological resources (Art. 10c) for the achievement of its objectives.

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The Indigenous World 2022: Arctic Council

Disclaimer: From 3 March 2022 the Arctic Council has been pausing all official meetings of the Council and its subsidiary bodies until further notice. The pause is in effect at the time of publication of this article in April 2022.

The Arctic Council, established in 1996, is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation in the Arctic among the Arctic States, Arctic Indigenous Peoples and other Arctic inhabitants. The category of Permanent Participants (PP) is a unique feature of the Arctic Council. Six organizations that represent Arctic Indigenous Peoples are designated as Permanent Participants and these include: the Arctic Athabaskan Council, the Aleut International Association, the Gwich’in Council International, the Inuit Circumpolar Council, the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON) and the Saami Council. The category of PP was declared in the Ottawa Declaration (1996) “On the Establishment of the Arctic Council” and was created to provide a means for active participation and full consultation of the Arctic Indigenous Peoples within the Arctic Council, and to ensure participation in all levels of the Arctic Council, including co-leading projects that affect Arctic inhabitants, and contributing to the Arctic Council's expert work and political proceedings.

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The Indigenous World 2022: Business and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

2021 marked a decade since the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (GPs)[1] were approved by the Human Rights Council. The GPs set out the obligations of states under international human rights law, including that applicable to Indigenous Peoples, and the responsibilities of business enterprises with regard to the same rights, in the context of economic activity. Ten years on from adopting the GPs, the UN Working Group on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises (WG) initiated a process of dialogue by gathering input from states, businesses, civil society and Indigenous Peoples with which to analyse the implications of the GPs for the protection of human rights in the context of business activity.

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The Indigenous World 2022: Defending the Rights of Indigenous Women

With their wisdom, energy and empowerment, Indigenous women are agents of change both in their own lives, as Indigenous women, and in the lives of their peoples, as members of their communities. They plant the seeds with which to defend and demand full exercise of their individual and collective rights. Some have flourished, for example, in the recognition of their diverse identities and ancestral roots, in the daily vindication of their rights as women, and in the constant struggle for the defence of their territories. They remain united in the struggle and are continuing to strengthen collective leaderships, from the local to the global level.

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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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