In many parts of the world, indigenous peoples suffer from a history of discrimination and exclusion that has left them on the margins of the larger societies in which they exist. For this reason, they face great difficulties in maintaining and developing their own models of development and well-being and are consequently disproportionately affected by poverty and exclusion. Under the basic principles of universality, equality and non-discrimination, indigenous peoples are entitled to the full range of rights established under international law. However, indigenous peoples, as collectivities, have distinct and unique cultures and world views, and their current needs and aspirations for the future may differ from those of the mainstream population. Their equal worth and dignity can only be assured through the recognition and protection of not only their individual rights, but also their collective rights as distinct groups. It is when these rights are asserted collectively that they can be realized in a meaningful way. This has led to the development of a separate body of international instruments for the recognition and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples.