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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 2021: UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples is one of the 56 “special procedures” of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The special procedures are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective.

The Special Rapporteur has a mandate to promote the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and relevant international human rights instruments; examine ways and means of overcoming existing obstacles to the full and effectively protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples; promote best practices; gather and exchange information from all relevant sources on violations of the human rights of Indigenous Peoples; and formulate recommendations and proposals on measures and activities to prevent and remedy violations of those rights.

On 1 May 2020, Mr. Francisco Cali-Tzay from Guatemala, a former member of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, assumed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Ms Victoria Tauli-Corpuz from the Philippines was the Special Rapporteur from June 2014 to April 2020. She was the first woman and the first person from the Asian region to hold the position.

During 2020, the Special Rapporteur continued to focus on the principal mandated areas of work: promoting good practices; responding to specific cases of alleged human rights violations; conducting thematic studies, undertaking country visits; and making recommendations to governments and other actors.

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Indigenous World 2020: 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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Indigenous World 2020: European Union Engagement with Indigenous Issues

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 Member States established in 1951. Its legislative and executive powers are divided between the EU’s three main institutions: the European Parliament (co-legislative authority - EP), the Council of the European Union (co-legislative and executive authority - CoEU) and the European Commission (executive authority - EC). In addition, the EU has its own diplomatic service: the European External Action Service (with EU “embassies” throughout the world).

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The Indigenous World 2021: World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Indigenous Peoples have rights over their traditional knowledge,[1] traditional cultural expressions[2] and genetic resources,[3] including associated intellectual property rights, as recognized in Article 31 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.[4] However, conventional intellectual property laws, in large measure, are woefully inadequate in protecting Indigenous Peoples’ intellectual property rights. In the absence of effective legal recognition and protection, Indigenous Peoples’ intangible cultural heritage, ranging in forms from textile designs to traditional songs, medicinal plant knowledge and environmental conservation is often treated as being in the “public domain”, and misappropriation by those within the fashion, film and pharmaceutical industries, among others, is widespread and ongoing.

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Indigenous World 2020: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) established on 8 August 1967 with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by its founding member states: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Brunei, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Vietnam and Myanmar later joined, making ASEAN a 10-member state institution.

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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Indigenous World 2020: Global Indigenous Youth Caucus

It is estimated that there are 370 million Indigenous persons in the world, approximately 45% of whom are between 15 and 30 years of age. This group of Indigenous Peoples face numerous challenges, including marginalisation, migration and premature maternity. Despite these problems, Indigenous youth continue organising to attain their rights and bring their situation to the light of day.

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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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