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Indigenous Fellowship Programme

The Indigenous Fellowship Programme (IFP) was launched by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in the context of the first International Decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples (1995/2004).

The aim of the programme is to give indigenous peoples the opportunity to gain knowledge on the UN system and mechanisms dealing with human rights in general and indigenous issues in particular so they can assist their organizations and communities in protecting and promoting the rights of their people. In its first decade, more than 100 indigenous men and women from 46 countries undertook the programme. They provided human rights training to many more in their communities.

The IFP is accessible in four different languages: English, French, Spanish and Russian. The selected candidates are entitled to a return flight ticket, living expenses and basic health insurance for the duration of the training programme. The programme -in its four linguistic versions- is held annually. In 2011, a review of the IFP was undertaken and it was decided to merge all the linguistic components into one single training programme (with simultaneous interpretation) lasting from 4 to 5 weeks in Geneva. It was also decided that the date of the training programme would coincide with the sessions of the Expert Mechanisms on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, thus allowing the fellows to participate more actively in that Mechanism. OHCHR Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section – responsible for that programme – is foreseeing to complement the IFP in Geneva through the establishment of regional training components, which will prepare the participants to the Geneva session.

Who can apply?

  1. The candidate must be indigenous (non-indigenous persons will not be taken into consideration, even if they have close links with indigenous communities and/or organizations).
  2. Age should not be a limitation to participation in the programme.
  3. Formal education should not be a limitation to participation in the IFP given the socio-economic barriers confronted by many indigenous peoples that limit access to formal educational institutions.
  4. Candidates should agree to train other indigenous persons after the return to their respective communities/organizations.
  5. The candidate should be proposed and his/her candidacy supported by his/her indigenous organization and/or community. It is desirable that the sponsoring organization has a firm constituency or membership and that it is representative.
  6. The candidate should have a good working knowledge of the language, in which the programme is imparted

Selection process

The selection of fellows reflects a gender and a regional balance. The general human rights situation in the respective regions/countries is also taken into consideration.

A pre-selection of up to 15 candidates (priority and alternates) is made by previous indigenous fellows. The final selection of successful candidates is undertaken by an advisory group composed of indigenous persons.

In view of the large number of applications, we regret to inform that only successful candidates will be contacted.

How to apply?

Fellowship applications will only be taken into consideration if they are fully completed. Both parts I and II must be signed and faxed or sent by regular post at the following address:

Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Unit
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
UNOG-OHCHR
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland
Telefax number: (+41 22) 917 90 08

Application forms need to be accompanied by an official recommendation letter from the nominating indigenous organization or community. We strongly encourage you to send your application form well before the deadline.

Please note that given the high number of applications usually received, we are not anymore in a position to print scanned applications. Therefore, scanned applications sent via email will NOT BE taken into consideration.

Any questions pertaining to the Indigenous Fellowship Programme can be sent to the address mentioned above or E-mailed to: fellowship@ohchr.org


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