2019 report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the rights of indigenous peoples

17 July 2019
Issued by:
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
At the 42nd session of the HRC


This report is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 39/13. It contains information on relevant developments relating to human rights bodies and mechanisms and outlines the activities undertaken by OHCHR at headquarters and in the field.


During the period under review, despite major steps taken to advance the rights of indigenous peoples, reports by United Nations human rights mechanisms show that full implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples is far from being achieved.

Global trends during this period indicate that in a context of shrinking democratic spaces, indigenous human rights defenders, organizations and movements, particularly those defending their rights to their traditional lands and natural resources face widespread attacks on them and, at times, criminalization.

Furthermore, the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in matters that concern them, including in the elaboration of development priorities, is a human rights responsibility that many States where indigenous peoples live are still failing to meet.

During the reporting period, the rights of indigenous peoples were included in the recommendations of a number of human rights treaty bodies and in the reports, communications and other activities of special procedures mandate holders. These mechanisms provided detailed, thematic and country-specific recommendations to implement the rights of indigenous peoples, in order for them to be able to claim those rights and interact on an equal footing with the authorities, the private sector and human rights mechanisms.