Guidelines on Indigenous Peoples' Issues

image of Guidelines on Indigenous Peoples' Issues
This publication aims to assist the United Nations system to mainstream and integrate indigenous peoples’ issues in processes for operational activities and programmes at the country level. It sets out the broad normative, policy and operational framework for implementing a human rights-based and culturally sensitive approach to development for and with indigenous peoples, provide lines of action for planning, implementation and evaluation of programmes involving indigenous peoples and duly integrating the principles of cultural diversity into United Nations country programmes. It 1) provides an overview of the situation of indigenous peoples and the existing international norms and standards adopted to ensure the realization of their rights and resolve some of the crucial issues that they face; 2) presents a practical table and checklist of key issues and related rights; and 3) discusses specific programmatic implications for UNCTs for addressing and mainstreaming indigenous peoples’ issues.



Introduction and purpose

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.


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