The Indigenous World 2021: The work of the UN Treaty Bodies and Indigenous Peoples Rights
The treaty bodies are the committees of independent experts in charge of monitoring the implementation by state parties of the rights protected in international human rights treaties. There are nine core international human rights treaties that deal with civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; racial discrimination; torture; discrimination against women; child rights; migrant workers’ rights; persons with disabilities; and enforced disappearances. The main functions of the treaty bodies are to examine periodic reports submitted by state parties, adopt concluding observations and consider individual complaints. Concluding observations contain a review of both positive and negative aspects of a state’s implementation of the provisions of a treaty and recommendations for improvement. Treaty bodies also adopt general comments which are interpretations of the provisions of the treaties. A large number of treaty bodies’ general comments makes reference to Indigenous Peoples’ rights. However, so far, only the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) and the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) have adopted general comments specifically addressing Indigenous Peoples’ rights. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is preparing a general recommendation on the rights of Indigenous women and girls for adoption in 2022.
This article contains a non-exhaustive overview of the reference made by the treaty bodies in their concluding observations, general comments and views, to Indigenous Peoples or to groups who are otherwise self-identifying as Indigenous Peoples, with a specific focus on five treaty bodies: the CERD, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the Human Rights Committee (HRC), the CEDAW and the CRC.
The treaty bodies and Indigenous Peoples’ rights
The COVID-19 pandemic deeply impacted the activities of the treaty bodies in 2020. While 123 state party reports were submitted during the year, only 27 concluding observations were adopted and 97 lists of issues were prepared. Despite the limited number of concluding observations, the committees continued to remind state parties of their obligations to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples to life, equality and non-discrimination, including their collective rights to access, own, use, develop and control their lands, territories and resources and to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). The CRC and CERD continued to refer some state parties to the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Under its Early-Warning Measures and Urgent Procedures (EWUP), the CERD processed seven Indigenous rights-related communications. The committees also adopted five new general comments as well as decisions, views and opinions on 215 individual communications, including two related to the violations of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and individuals. The committees also issued a number of guidance notes, advisories and statements on a human rights-based response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a significant number of them addressing Indigenous-related rights. A compilation of these materials is available on the OHCHR website.
In a collective statement, the chairs of all treaty bodies called for the adoption of measures to protect the rights to life, and access to adequate standards of health and care services without discrimination and underlined the need to provide supplementary care for those particularly vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, including Indigenous Peoples.
The CCPR reminded states parties of their obligations to take measures to protect the rights to life and health of all individuals in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure that public discourse in connection with COVID-19 did not constitute advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred, or incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence against specific marginalized or vulnerable groups.
The CESCR highlighted the vulnerability of Indigenous Peoples to the pandemic and noted their higher rates of chronic illnesses and underlying health conditions, which place them at greater risk of developing severe health complications from COVID-19. The committee recommended the adoption of special, targeted measures to protect and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on discriminated groups, including tailored measures to protect the health and livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and the provision of accurate and accessible information about the pandemic in Indigenous languages. The CESCR also underlined that prioritization of specific groups to receive vaccines must respect general principles prohibiting discrimination and be based on medical need and public health grounds, notably considering those most exposed and vulnerable to COVID-19 due to social determinants of health, including Indigenous Peoples.
Through its EWUP, the CERD underlined the vulnerability of Indigenous Peoples, specifically those living in remote areas and in isolation, to the COVID-19 pandemic and recalled states parties’ obligations to ensure the protection of their rights. The CERD also called upon states parties to protect against and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on groups subject to structural discrimination and ensure equal access to healthcare services, adequate housing, employment, education, and to a vaccine against COVID-19, and to guarantee their participation in the design and implementation of emergency measures.
The CEDAW urged states parties to uphold women’s rights in their responses to the public health threat posed by COVID-19. The committee also called for the adoption of targeted measures to mitigate the devastating impact of the pandemic on groups of disadvantaged women and, in particular, to ensure that Indigenous women and girls have access to culturally-acceptable healthcare, aiming for an integrated approach between modern medicine and Indigenous traditional medicine as well as equipment, testing and emergency treatment for COVID-19. The committee also underlined the importance of providing such services in collaboration with local Indigenous authorities and ensuring respect for their right to self-determination and territorial protection from virus transmission. The committee finally recommended states parties guarantee that Indigenous women and girls have access to continuous education and COVID-19 related information, including in Indigenous languages. The CRC urged states parties to respect the rights of the child when taking measures to tackle the public health threat posed by the pandemic and to notably consider the health, social, educational, economic and recreational impacts of the pandemic on the rights of the child. The committee recommended ensuring that children are fed nutritious food during the period of emergency or lockdown, provided with healthcare, water, sanitation and core child protection services, and that their views be heard and taken into account in decision-making processes on the pandemic. The CRC finally recommended that states parties respect the right of every child to non-discrimination in their measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic and take targeted measures to protect the rights of Indigenous children.
A toolkit of treaty law perspectives and jurisprudence in the context of COVID-19 was compiled to strengthen the human rights-based approach of states’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The obligations of states parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to protect the equal rights of Indigenous Peoples to health, access to information, life and security, particularly that of Indigenous Peoples’ leaders and human rights defenders, and to protect Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation or initial contact were reaffirmed. The obligations of states parties to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, children and women to non-discrimination were also underlined.
Summary of concluding observations addressed to the state parties under reviews
Right to land, territory and natural resources
The CCPR expressed concern at the absence of policy and legal frameworks governing the ownership and use of Indigenous land in Dominica. The CERD underlined restrictions on the rights of Indigenous Peoples to freely dispose of their lands and natural resources and the limited progress made towards the protection, restitution and titling of Indigenous territories in Colombia. The CERD also pointed out the lengthy and bureaucratic land titling process preventing Indigenous groups from registering their collective lands in Cambodia. The CERD and the CESCR noted patterns of forced internal displacement in Colombia (CERD), forced evictions in Guinea (CESCR), and evictions and house demolitions in Israel (CERD). While the CERD underlined the granting of licences for tourism, industrial fishing and mining projects without environmental precautions in Colombia, the CESCR singled out the negative effects of extractive activities on the environment and health of communities in Guinea.
The CCPR called upon Dominica to expand measures promoting the rights of Indigenous Peoples. The CERD recommended that Colombia implement legislation to guarantee and restore the rights of Indigenous Peoples to own and control their lands and territories and to protect them from illegal encroachment. The CERD recommended that Colombia guarantee Indigenous Peoples’ right to dispose freely of their lands and natural resources, while the CRC urged Rwanda to recognize the rights of Batwa children and their families to the natural resources of the forests. The CERD further recommended that Israel ensure the rights to property, housing and access to land and natural resources of Bedouin communities and that Cambodia ensure equal access of Khmer Krom to land, while also urging both states parties to resolve pending land disputes and ownership claims. Cambodia was advised to simplify the land titling procedure to enable the recognition of Indigenous lands and Colombia to implement measures and decisions related to lands restitution. The CERD also recommended that Cambodia and Colombia prevent and protect Indigenous Peoples from forced displacement, that Israel stop house demolitions and evictions while the CESCR called upon Guinea to ensure that evictions are carried out in accordance with due process of law, preceded by consultation and consideration of alternatives and subject to appeal.Lastly, Colombia was asked to carry out assessments of the environmental and human rights impacts of economic and natural resource projects and to ensure mitigation measures, compensation for damages and shares in the benefits (CERD). Similarly, Guinea was recommended to undertake independent studies into the effects of extractive and hydroelectric activities on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights and to establish the liability of mining companies involved in water pollution (CESCR).
Right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent
The CERD and CPPR underlined violations related to the right to consultation and FPIC in Dominica and the Central African Republic (CAR) (CCPR) as well as in Israel, Cambodia and Colombia (CERD). The CCPR recommended that the CAR and Dominica ensure consultation to obtain the FPIC of Indigenous Peoples in relation to the adoption or application of any decision or measure that might have an impact on their way of life and culture. The CERD called upon Cambodia and Colombia to ensure the right of Indigenous Peoples and communities to be consulted with a view to obtaining their FPIC before any project, activity, legislative, administrative measure or matters affecting their rights in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international standards. The CERD also recommended that Israel ensure consultation with Bedouin communities in relation to their rights to land and property while the CESCR urged Guinea to ensure that mining operations respect the right to consultation and the legal guarantees of persons whose property has been expropriated, including landowners or persons with land usage rights.
Right to equality and non-discrimination and access to social services
The CERD underlined the persistent structural and historical discrimination faced by Bedouins in Israel, reflected in poor health and shorter life expectancy. It further emphasized low levels of education, high levels of poverty and social exclusion in Colombia, limited access to health care, education or basic services in Colombia and Cambodia, and inadequate standards of living in Cambodia and Israel. The CERD paid particular attention to the discrimination faced by Khmer Krom in accessing employment, education, health care and basic services in Cambodia and by Bedouin communities in accessing adequate housing, water and sanitation facilities, and electricity in Israel.
The CCPR recommended the adoption of a national strategy in the CAR and of a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in Dominica to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples from discrimination. For its part, the CERD called upon Colombia to guarantee their social inclusion and protection from discrimination. The CERD also requested that Indigenous Peoples’ right to adequate food be ensured in Colombia, Indigenous Peoples’ rights to education, health care and adequate standards of living be ensured in Cambodia and the living conditions and health status of Bedouins be improved in Israel. The CRC recommended that Costa Rica and Rwanda combat dropout rates among Indigenous children and ensure full and equal access to education. The CERD invited Costa Rica to ensure culturally-appropriate, intercultural bilingual education in consultation with Indigenous children, while the CESCR invited Norway to guarantee the right to education in Sámi languages.
Intersectional discrimination and rights of Indigenous children
The CRC expressed concern at the persistent denial of the existence of Indigenous Peoples, in particular the Batwa in Rwanda, the multiple and intersectional forms of discrimination against Indigenous children in Costa Rica and the persistent discrimination faced by Bedouin children in relation to access to services and protection from violence in Palestine. The CRC and CERD underlined high levels of child and infant mortality (Costa Rica, Israel), chronic malnutrition and related deaths (Colombia) and the vulnerability of Indigenous children to sexual abuse and exploitation (Costa Rica). The CRC also noted the persistence of institutionalization affecting Indigenous children (Costa Rica) while the CERD underscored the ongoing recruitment of Indigenous children by armed groups (Colombia). The CRC emphasized the adverse impact of climate change and natural disasters on the rights of the child in Micronesia, the Cook Islands and Tuvalu.
The CRC recommended that Rwanda grant Batwa children and their families recognition of their special status and adopt measures to combat all forms of discrimination. The committee further recommended that Costa Rica adopt a comprehensive national strategy and action plan addressing multiple and intersectional discrimination against children and that Palestine sanction all forms of violence related to discrimination and strengthen the effectiveness of its social protection system including for Bedouin children. Both the CRC and CERD called upon state parties to address inadequate standards of living (Rwanda), reduce child poverty (Rwanda, Costa Rica), child mortality (Costa Rica), chronic malnutrition (Colombia) and ensure access to health services (Colombia, Rwanda) and adequate housing (Rwanda). The CRC recommended that Costa Rica ensure that systems of reporting and prosecuting of sexual abuse against children avoid the re-traumatization of the child victim and ensure treatment and compensation. The CRC advised Costa Rica to transform the childcare and protection systems to prevent institutionalization while the CERD recommended Colombia eliminate the recruitment of Indigenous children by armed groups. Taking note of Sustainable Development Goal 13, the CRC recommended that Micronesia, the Cook Islands and Tuvalu take into account the special vulnerabilities, needs and views of children when developing policies and programmes addressing climate change and disaster risk management. In line with its General Comment No. 11 (2009) on Indigenous children, the CRC asked Costa Rica to seek the FPIC of Indigenous children in connection with measures affecting their lives and that development projects, business activities and legislative or administrative measures be subject to consultations and in line with the UNDRIP.
Intersectional discrimination and rights of Indigenous girls and women
The CERD underlined the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination faced by Indigenous women and girls in relation to accessing employment, education, health care and justice (Israel, Cambodia, Colombia) as well as high rates of violence (Cambodia, Colombia), in particular sexual violence in Colombia. In relation to land rights, the CEDAW expressed concerns regarding discriminatory provisions in the Tuvalu lands legislation in relation to women’s rights to inherit land as well as discriminatory customs and practices preventing rural women from accessing and inheriting lands in Pakistan and Zimbabwe. The CESCR also underlined obstacles related to women’s rights to inherit property in Benin and to own land in Guinea. The CEDAW further underlined the limited participation of women in the implementation of climate change and disaster risk management programmes and the impact of seawater flooding and pollution on women’s access to food, water, firewood and medicinal plants in Kiribati.
Recalling its General Recommendation No. 25 (2000) on gender-related dimensions of racial discrimination, the CERD recommended Colombia, Cambodia and Israel to combat or eliminate the multiple forms of discrimination faced by Indigenous women in accessing justice, employment, education and health services. Cambodia was asked to incorporate the issue of violence against Indigenous women into its national action plans and efforts to end violence against women, while Colombia was urged to prevent sexual violence, protect victims, and ensure prosecution and reparation. In relation to land rights, the CEDAW recommended that Tuvalu amend the discriminatory provisions of the Tuvalu Lands Code 1962 and the Native Lands Act 1956, Zimbabwe to complete an independent land audit to expose inequalities in land redistribution and to facilitate access by women to their inherited land, and Pakistan to eliminate discriminatory practices and customs preventing rural women from acquiring and inheriting property and using lands. The CESCR recommended that Benin ensure that women and girls exercise their equal rights to inheritance and land ownership and that Guinea prevent all forms of discrimination in relation to access to property. Kiribati was finally advised to ensure the participation of women in the implementation of climate change and disaster risk management initiatives and to take measures to address the impact of climate change on women’s access to resources and livelihoods.
Civil and political rights
The CERD underlined threats and attacks on Indigenous communities in Cambodia and Colombia, particularly paramilitary incursions into Indigenous territories, criminalization, reprisals, killings of Indigenous leaders and rights defenders, and a failure to protect, investigate and sanction such violations in Colombia. The CERD underlined the difficulties faced by Indigenous Peoples in accessing justice in Israel and Colombia, in particular special Indigenous courts in Colombia, while the CCPR noted allegations concerning enslavement of Indigenous Peoples in the CAR. The CERD also underscored the lack of progress and measures taken to protect Indigenous Peoples at risk of physical or cultural extinction in Colombia, the revocation of the citizenship of Bedouins in Israel and the statelessness of the Khmer Krom in Cambodia. The CERD underlined persistent discrimination in political participation, the lack of adequate Indigenous representation in the public administration in Colombia, as well as recent legislative changes weakening the right to the political participation of minorities in Israel. In the CAR, the CCPR underlined the absence of Indigenous representation in decision-making and in the electoral sphere.
The CERD recommended that Cambodia protect Indigenous Peoples from attacks and intimidation in relation to communal lands and that Colombia prevent acts of violence, threats, and reprisals against Indigenous leaders and rights defenders and guarantee their protection and access to justice, in particular to the Indigenous justice system. The CERD requested that Israel eliminate barriers preventing access to justice and facilitate the filing of complaints for victims of racial discrimination. The CCPR recommended that the CAR adopt a national strategy to eradicate practices involving the enslavement of Indigenous Peoples. Colombia was urged by the CERD to take urgent measures to ensure the physical and cultural survival of Indigenous Peoples living in voluntary isolation or in a situation of initial contact. Israel was asked to establish a mechanism to end statelessness among Bedouins and Cambodia to provide identification documents recognizing the citizenship of the Khmer Krom. In relation to representation and political participation, the CERD recommended that Colombia guarantee Indigenous participation in the implementation of the Peace Agreement and in public affairs, both in decision-making positions and representative institutions, and that Israel achieve adequate representation of Bedouins in the law enforcement and judicial bodies and ensure their participation in political decision-making processes. The CCPR finally recommended that the CAR promote Indigenous participation in public affairs.
Early-Warning Measures and Urgent Procedures
Under its EWUP, the CERD considered two COVID-related cases in Brazil and Peru issuing a letter and a statement respectively, as well as five other Indigenous rights-related cases in Canada, Panama, United States of America, Russian Federation and Thailand.
General comments and recommendations
The CCPR adopted General Comment No. 37 (2020) on peaceful assembly, which calls upon states parties to ensure that laws do not result in discrimination against Indigenous Peoples in the enjoyment of the right of peaceful assembly.
The CERD adopted General Recommendation No. 36 (2020) on preventing and combating racial profiling by law enforcement officials in which the committee recognizes that Indigenous Peoples are the most vulnerable to, and targeted by, the continuous practice of racial profiling.
The CESCR adopted General Comment No. 25 (2020) on science and economic, social and cultural rights, which calls upon states parties to eliminate all forms of discrimination, protect local, traditional and Indigenous knowledge, notably through securing ownership and control of this traditional knowledge by Indigenous Peoples, and ensure that Indigenous Peoples participate in intercultural dialogue for scientific progress, notably through genuine consultation in order to obtain free, prior and informed consent.
The CEDAW adopted General Recommendation No. 38 (2020) on trafficking of women and girls in the context of global migration, which underlines the vulnerability of Indigenous women and girls to trafficking.
The CRC adopted draft General Comment No. 25 (2020) on the digital environment, which notably requires states parties to take particular measures to: prevent the discrimination faced by Indigenous children in accessing the digital environment; enhance the provision of diverse, accessible and beneficial content for Indigenous children; support and ensure the safety of Indigenous children advocating for their rights online and support educational and cultural institutions to make available diverse digital and interactive learning resources, including Indigenous resources.
Under article 14 of its Convention, the CERD adopted an opinion on a complaint submitted by the President of the Sámi Parliament of Sweden and by 14 other members of the Vapsten Sámi Reindeer Herding Community against Sweden. Under article 22 of its Convention, the CAT adopted a decision on a complaint submitted by Flor Agustina Calfunao Paillalef, a national of Chile and a member of the Mapuche people against Switzerland.
Justine Berezintsev holds a Master’s degree in human rights and humanitarian action from Sciences Po in Paris, France. In 2019, she worked for the Indigenous Peoples and minorities section of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. She now works in the field of Indigenous education.
The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.
This article is part of the 35th edition of The Indigenous World, a yearly overview produced by IWGIA that serves to document and report on the developments Indigenous Peoples have experienced. Find The Indigenous World 2021 in full here
Notes and references
 Due to word limit, the activities of the Committee against Torture (CAT), Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT), Committee on Migrant Workers (CMW), Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) were not included.
 Compilation of statements by human rights treaty bodies in the context of COVID-19, see OHCHR. “Compilation of statements by human rights treaty bodies in the context of COVID-19.” September 2020. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/TB/COVID19/External_TB_statements_COVID19.pdf
 UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies call for human rights approach in fighting COVID-19, see OHCHR. “UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies call for human rights approach in fighting COVID-19.” 24 March 2020. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25742
 United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. “Statement on derogations from the Covenant in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic.” 30 April 2020. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/CCPR/COVIDstatementEN.pdf
 Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. “Statement on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its implications under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.” 4-7 August 2020. https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/1_Global/INT_CERD_SWA_9234_E.pdf
 OHCHR. “Guidance Note on CEDAW and COVID-19.” 2020. https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=INT/CEDAW/STA/9156&Lang=en
 OHCHR. “The Committee on the Rights of the Child warns of the grave physical, emotional and psychological effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and calls on States to protect the rights of children.” 2020. https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=INT/CRC/STA/9095&Lang=en
 Human Rights Treaties Branch. “Internal HRTB toolkit of treaty law perspectives and jurisprudence in the context of COVID-19.” 15 July 2020. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/TB/COVID19/HRTB_toolkit_COVID_19.pdf
 United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. “Concluding observations in the absence of the initial report of Dominica.” CCPR/C/DMA/COAR/1. 24 April 2020. https://undocs.org/CCPR/C/DMA/COAR/1
 United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. “Concluding observations on the combined seventeenth to nineteenth periodic reports of Colombia.” CERD/C/COL/CO/17-19. 22 January 2020. https://undocs.org/CERD/C/COL/CO/17-19
 United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. “Concluding observations on the combined fourteenth to seventeenth reports of Cambodia.” CERD/C/KHM/CO/14-17. 30 January 2020. https://undocs.org/en/CERD/C/KHM/CO/14-17
 United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. “Concluding observations on the combined seventeenth to nineteenth reports of Israel.” CERD/C/ISR/CO/17-19. 27 January 2020. https://www.un.org/unispal/document/concluding-observations-on-the-combined-seventeenth-to-nineteenth-reports-of-israel-advance-unedited-version-cerd-c-isr-co-17-19/
 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. “Concluding observations on the combined fifth and sixth periodic reports of Rwanda.” CRC/C/RWA/CO/5-6. 28 February 2020. https://undocs.org/CRC/C/RWA/CO/5-6
 United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. “Concluding observations on the third periodic report of the Central African Republic.” CCPR/C/CAF/CO/3. 30 April 2020. https://undocs.org/CCPR/C/CAF/CO/3
 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. “Concluding observations on the second periodic report of the Federated States of Micronesia.” CRC/C/FSM/CO/2. 3 April 2020. https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC/C/FSM/CO/2&Lang=En
 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. “Concluding observations on the combined second to fifth periodic reports of the Cook Islands.” CRC/C/COK/CO/2-5. 2 April 2020. https://undocs.org/en/CRC/C/COK/CO/2-5
 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. “Concluding observations on the combined second to fifth periodic reports of Tuvalu.” CRC/C/TUV/CO/2-5. 31 March 2020. https://undocs.org/en/CRC/C/TUV/CO/2-5
 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. “Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of Pakistan.” CEDAW/C/PAK/CO/5. 10 March 2020. https://undocs.org/en/CEDAW/C/PAK/CO/5
 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. “Concluding observations on the sixth periodic report of Zimbabwe.” CEDAW/C/ZWE/CO/6. 10 March 2020. https://undocs.org/en/CEDAW/C/ZWE/CO/6
 United Nations Economic and Social Council. “Concluding observations on the third periodic report of Benin.” E/C.12/BEN/CO/3. 27 March 2020. https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=E/C.12/BEN/CO/3&Lang=En
 United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. “Concluding observations on the combined initial, second and third periodic reports of Kiribati.” CEDAW/C/KIR/CO/1-3. 11 March 2020. https://undocs.org/en/CEDAW/C/KIR/CO/1-3
 In 1994, the CERD decided to establish early warning and urgent procedures as part of its regular agenda. Early warning measures are to be directed at preventing existing problems from escalating into conflicts and urgent procedures to respond to problems requiring immediate attention to prevent or limit the scale or number of serious violations of the Convention.
 Regarding the exacerbation of discrimination against Indigenous Peoples due to COVID-19, see https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/BRA/INT_CERD_ALE_BRA_9239_E.pdf
 Regarding the increasing spread and threat of COVID-19 among the Indigenous Peoples living in the Amazon region of Peru, see https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/PER/INT_CERD_SWA_PER_9236_E.pdf
 Regarding the development of the C dam project, the approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project in British Columbia as well as the Coastal Gaz Link Pipeline and their impact on the Secwepemc and We’suwet’en communities, who did not provide their free, prior and informed consent, see https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/CAN/INT_CERD_ALE_CAN_9296_E.pdf
 Regarding the impact of the Changuinola 1 hydroelectric station on the Ngäbe people, see https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/PAN/INT_CERD_ALE_PAN_9298_S.pdf
 Regarding the impact of a planned oil and gas development in the Coastal Plain of the Artic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska on the Gwich’in peoples, see https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared Documents/USA/INT_CERD_ALE_USA_9242_E.pdf and https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/USA/INT_CERD_ALE_USA_9300_E.pdf
 Regarding allegations of judicial harassment of a non-governmental indigenous organization working on the promotion and protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Russian Federation, see https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/RUS/INT_CERD_ALE_RUS_9297_E.pdf
 Regarding allegations of forced evictions and harassment and reported continuing and escalating violence against Indigenous Peoples in the Kaeng Krachan National Park, see https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CERD/Shared%20Documents/THA/INT_CERD_ALE_THA_9299_E.pdf
 Para 25 calls upon states parties to ensure that laws and their interpretation and application do not result in discrimination in the enjoyment of the right of peaceful assembly, for example on the basis of race, colour, ethnicity, age, sex, language, property, religion or belief, political or other opinion, national or social origin, birth, minority, indigenous or other status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity, or other status. Particular efforts must be made to ensure equal and effective facilitation and protection of the right of peaceful assembly of individuals who are members of groups who are or have been subjected to discrimination, or who may face particular challenges in participating in assemblies. States moreover have a duty to protect participants from all forms of discriminatory abuses or attacks. (CCPR/C/GC/37), see United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. “General comment No. 37 (2020) on the right of peaceful assembly (article 21).” CCPR/C/GC/37. 17 September 2020. https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CCPR%2fC%2fGC%2f37&Lang=en
 Para 4 recalls the provision of the CERD’s General Recommendation No. 23 (1997) on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, stressing that Indigenous Peoples should be free from any discrimination, in particular that based on Indigenous origin or identity. Para 6 and Para 11 (CERD/C/GC/36), see United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. “General recommendation No. 36 (2020) on preventing and combating racial profiling by law enforcement officials.” CERD/C/GC/36. 17 December 2020. https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CERD%2fC%2fGC%2f36&Lang=en
 Para 28 notes the General Comment’s special focus on Indigenous Peoples, as well as women, persons with disabilities, and persons living in poverty, and addresses the duty of states parties to eliminate all forms of discrimination, with special attention to groups that have experienced systemic discrimination in the enjoyment of the right to participate in and to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications, such as Indigenous Peoples. Para 39 calls upon states parties to take measures to protect local, traditional and Indigenous knowledge through different means, including special intellectual property regimes, and to secure the ownership and control of this traditional knowledge by Indigenous Peoples. Finally, Para 40 highlights that Indigenous Peoples should participate in a global intercultural dialogue for scientific progress, calling upon states parties to provide Indigenous Peoples with the means to participate in this dialogue. This paragraph also calls upon states parties to take measures to respect and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly in relation to their land and their identity, and to hold necessary, genuine consultation to obtain free, prior and informed consent whenever the state party or non-state actors conduct research, take decisions or create policies relating to science that have an impact on Indigenous Peoples or when using their knowledge. (E/C.12/GC/25), see United Nations Economic and Social Council. “General comment No. 25 (2020) on science and economic, social and cultural rights (article 15 (1) (b), (2), (3) and (4) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights).” E/C.12/GC/25. 30 April 2020.
 Para 20, on socio-economic injustice, highlights that marginalized women and girls, including those who belong to Indigenous communities, are most vulnerable to sex and gender-based discrimination and to being trafficked. (CEDAW/C/GC/38), see United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. “General recommendation No. 38 (2020) on trafficking in women and girls in the context of global migration.” CEDAW/C/GC/38. 20 November 2020. https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CEDAW/C/GC/38&Lang=en.
 Para 12, on the right to non-discrimination; Para 53, on the right to access to information; Para 68, on the right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly” and Para 109, on the right to education (CRC/C/GC/25), see United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. CRC/C/GC/25. https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=CRC%2fC%2fGC%2f25&Lang=en
 United Nations International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. “Opinion adopted by the Committee under article 14 of the Convention, concerning communication No. 54/2013.” CERD/C/102/D/54/2013. 18 December, 2020. https://undocs.org/CERD/C/102/D/54/2013
 Adopted on 18 December 2020 concerning a communication submitted on 16 September 2013 by Lars-Anders Ågren, Ellen Marie Anne Anti, Henrik Omma, Ole-Henrik Omma, Elle Merete Omma, Jon Mikael Labba, Inger-Ann Omma, Marja-Kari Omma, Inger Baer-Omma, Lars-Jonas Omma, Liecelotte Omma, Morgan Omma, Lisa Omma, Per-Henning Utsi and Gun-Margret Utsi, Sami members of the Vapsten Sami reindeer herding community, represented by counsel, Mattias Åhrén, head of the Human Rights Unit of the Saami Council. The complainants claimed their right to property (article 5 (d) (v)), to equal treatment before the tribunals and all other organs administering justice (5 (a)), and to an effective protection and remedies (article 6), considering that the state party granted exploitation concessions to a private mining company in the Vapsten’s traditional territory without their consent, ignored that the right to non-discrimination requires that the Vapsten be treated as an Indigenous reindeer herding community and not as a Swedish property right holder, and denied them the right this specific issue to a court. The Committee found that Sweden did not comply with international obligations to protect the complainers against racial discrimination by adequately/effectively consulting them in the granting of the concessions and to respect the land rights of the Vapsten Sami Reindeer Herding Community. The Committee further found a violation of the complainers’ rights under article 5 (d) (v) and 6 of the Convention. The Committee recommended that Sweden provides an effective remedy to the complainer by effectively revising the mining concessions after an adequate process of free, prior and informed consent and amends its legislation, to reflect the status of the Sami as indigenous people, which would notably enshrine the international standard of free, prior and informed consent.
 United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. “Decision adopted by the Committee under article 22 of the Convention, concerning communication No. 882/2018.” CAT/C/68/D/882/2018. 2 January 2020. https://undocs.org/en/CAT/C/68/D/882/2018
 Adopted 2 January 2020 concerning a communication submitted on 17 August 2018 by Flor Agustina Calfunao Paillalef (represented by counsel, Pierre Bayenet) against Switzerland. The complainant claimed a violation of her right under article 3 of the Convention as she faced deportation to Chile, which she purported would put her at risk of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, both by the Chilean authorities and by private individuals because of her work in the defence of the rights of the Mapuche people and considering the consistent pattern of human rights violations against Mapuche rights defenders as well a situation of personal risk. The Committee found that the deportation of the complainant to Chile by Switzerland would constitute a breach of article 3 of the Convention by the State party and requested Switzerland to reconsider the complainant’s asylum application and refrain from deporting the complainant while her application for asylum is being considered.
Tags: Global governance