collage of indigenous people and Rio + 20 logo in the background

Indigenous Peoples

NOT Dehumanization

UN Action

Highlighting the problem

Many issues raised by indigenous peoples, such as climate change and access to safe drinking water are now more visible at the international level.

The United Nations has highlighted the problem of discrimination against indigenous peoples since the first Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination in 1973-1982.

This concern led to the establishment in 1982 of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, which articulated their needs and aspirations in the landmark Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted in September 2007 by the UN General Assembly.

Spotlight: Master Class Series

UNESCO - Master Class Series against Racism and Discriminations

A global "training for trainers" initiative seeking to empower students to become youth champions in their own schools and communities and spread awareness on how to deconstruct the mechanisms underlying racism and discriminations.

Using a human rights-based approach, the classes serve as dialogue spaces and peer learning forums among young participants, experts, resource persons, and invited personalities to openly discuss taboos that corrode the social and moral fiber in societies. Topics include the rights of indigenous peoples.

logo with illustration of various people ©UNESCO

Durban Declaration and Programme of Action

The Durban Declaration of 2001 acknowledges the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples. It emphasizes, among other things:

Discrimination against Indigenous Peoples is racial discrimination

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination has made it clear that discrimination against indigenous peoples is racial discrimination. It has interpreted non-discrimination as the protection of aspects of indigenous cultural identity and language and the offer of economic and social development, effective participation, and rights over lands, territories and resources.

E-learning tool

Indigenous Peoples' rights

A free online course by the UN Human Rights Office promoting indigenous peoples' rights.

UN Human Rights YouTube channel

Three mechanisms for combating discrimination against Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations has also established three mechanisms for combating discrimination against indigenous peoples:


Where are we?

Despite the progress that has been made, achieving significant recognition of, and improvements in, the human rights of peoples, who have endured centuries of exploitation and marginalization remains a tremendous challenge for governments and the United Nations system.

COVID-19 and Indigenous and Tribal Peoples

As the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic repercussions are evolving, a particularly severe impact is emerging on the world’s indigenous and tribal peoples. They work in sectors hard-hit by the crisis, predominantly in the informal economy and are disproportionally affected by poverty. Immediate and continuing action is needed for ensuring that socio-economic responses include respect for their rights and ensure their access to decent work and social protection.

International Labour Organization (ILO) YouTube channel