OHCHR and indigenous peoples
About indigenous peoples and human rights
Attacks on indigenous peoples’ human rights defenders have increased dramatically in recent years for defending their collective rights to lands, territories and resources. Their cultures continue to be threatened, and the protection and promotion of their rights resisted. These conflicts and human rights violations result in the displacement and dispossession of indigenous peoples.
Indigenous women and girls face additional forms of discrimination. They are three times more likely to experience sexual violence compared to non-indigenous women. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these vulnerabilities.
Furthermore, the lack of legal recognition and the lack of disaggregated data are contributing to the invisibility of indigenous peoples, compounding the discrimination they face. This calls for reinvigorated efforts to address the negative legacy of historical injustices, discrimination, and assimilation that indigenous peoples have been subjected to over centuries.
Our work on indigenous issues
The UN Human Rights Office carries out a range of country-specific and regional activities to advance the rights of indigenous peoples. In particular, we:
- Support legislative change at national level and provide legal analysis and expert advice on relevant policies and legislation;
- Facilitate dialogue and cooperation with a wide range of actors including State authorities, parliamentarians and national human rights institutions;
- Develop tools and guidance on the rights of indigenous peoples;
- Contribute actively to the Inter-Agency Support Group (IASG) on Indigenous Issues, notably to implement the UN system-wide action plan on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
- Coordinate a fellowship programme for indigenous young people, offered in four languages;
- Support the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples;
- Provide secretariat support to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
- Provide secretariat support to the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
9 August 2023
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 22nd session
17–28 April 2023