OHCHR Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section

The OHCHR Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section (IPMS) works to advance the protection and empowerment of indigenous peoples and minorities and help them to realize their human rights.

The Section’s objectives are:

  • To develop and promote standards, policies, guidelines and solution-orientated research and analysis in relation to indigenous peoples and minorities.
  • To contribute to all stages of country engagement including needs assessment, design and implementation in relation to indigenous peoples and minorities, in particular in relation to the recommendations of the Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures and UPR.
  • To strengthen partnerships with United Nations and regional organizations and civil society through inter-agency cooperation and human rights training for indigenous peoples and minorities, through grants administrated by the Voluntary Fund on Indigenous Populations to enable indigenous representatives to participate in UN meetings and processes.
  • To work to ensure indigenous and minority issues are addressed in UN bodies and human rights mechanisms in particular the Human Rights Council, the Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures mandate holders through pro-active cooperation.

Minority rights are being increasingly recognized as an integral part of the United Nation's work for the promotion and protection of human rights, sustainable human development, peace and security. OHCHR has a leading role within the UN system in this respect, as the Office has highlighted countering discrimination as one of its thematic priorities in its OHCHR Organisational Management Plan 2018-2021. OHCHR is also taking a lead in the work of the UN Network on racial discrimination and the protection of minorities created in 2012. , in line with Article 9 of the Declaration, by ensuring that coordinated effort is made towards advancing and prioritising minority rights throughout the UN system.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020 OHCHR had to redesign its Minorities Fellowship Programme and Indigenous Fellowship Programme, which otherwise are held annually in Geneva, into a country-based programme, which saw 34 former fellows posted as “senior fellows” in OHCHR country and regional offices, United Nations country teams and United Nations peacekeeping operations, in 29 locations in all regions. The main objective was to place the most successful former fellows in order for them to receive on-the-job training and to build their capacity to develop advocacy and leadership skills. At the same time, OHCHR and other United Nations entities benefited from the senior fellows’ expertise, knowledge and experience, which helped to expand diversity and ensure greater inclusion within United Nations structures.

Please also consult the latest report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council at its 19th session - Rights of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities A/HRC/46/44


Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
8-14 Avenue de la Paix
CH-1211 Geneva 10

Contributions received by OHCHR toward preparation of the Secretary-General report to the General Assembly entitled “Effective promotion of the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities”

Inputs received

Member States

  1. Argentina 
  2. Chile
  3. Ecuador
  4. Greece
  5. India
  6. Iraq
  7. Italy
  8. Honduras
  9. Lebanon
  10. Lithuania         
  11. Mauritius
  12. Mexico
  13. Mongolia
  14. Qatar
  15. Russian Federation     
  16. Romania
  17. Slovakia
  18. Switzerland
  19. Uruguay          
  20. Ukraine


  1. UNESCO – Geneva

Intergovernmental organisation

  1. Council of Europe