Rights of indigenous peoples

Graphic: Group of indigenous people in the Philippines


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APF members address global indigenous forum

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Indigenous peoples have unique, distinctive cultures, languages, legal systems and histories. They share a strong connection to their land and have developed a rich body of traditional knowledge that enriches us all.

However, across the Asia Pacific and around the world, indigenous peoples are among the most vulnerable and marginalised peoples.

Indigenous peoples share legacies of forced removal and relocation from their traditional lands, cultural destruction, discrimination, exclusion from decision-making processes and widespread human rights violations.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted in 2007, was a milestone achievement, representing more than 20 years of collaboration and negotiation between indigenous peoples, governments and human rights experts.

The challenge is to make its core principles - self-determination; participation in decision-making; respect for and protection of culture; and equality and non-discrimination – an everyday reality for indigenous peoples.


Graphic: Participant displays map at national inquiry hearing in Malaysia


The Declaration actually sets the parameters around good relationships between governments and indigenous people and that's how I intend to use it here in Australia.

Mick Gooda, Australian Human Rights Commission


National human rights institutions in the Asia Pacific are working alongside indigenous communities to advance their rights and to promote respect – by government, business and others – for the principles in the Declaration.

Our members use their education, complaint handling, advisory and investigation functions to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

A number have also undertaken ground breaking national inquiries on indigenous peoples' right to land.

Many use their unique standing with United Nations human rights bodies and mechanisms to directly advocate on violations of the rights of indigenous peoples in their countries.

In 2015, the APF launched a new blended learning training course on the rights of indigenous peoples to provide practical support to our members in their important work.


Graphic: Opening session of UNPFII, 24 April 2017

APF members address global indigenous forum

APF members have added their voices to a global discussion of the challenges facing indigenous peoples and the areas where progress is being made.


Graphic: Indigenous man smiling

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: A Guide for NHRIs

This manual outlines the key elements of the Declaration and the ways in which NHRIs can use their mandates to promote its implementation in practice


Resolution

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

04 Oct 2015  
Indigenous
Report

Community Guide to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

04 Oct 2015  
Indigenous
Report

State of the World's Indigenous Peoples

04 Oct 2015  
Indigenous
Report

State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples

04 Oct 2015  
Indigenous
More resources

Image credits

  1. Group of indigenous people in the Philippines - Jill Chrisp/New Zealand Human Rights Commission
  2. Participant displays map at national inquiry hearing in Malaysia - SUHAKAM