Indigenous peoples across the world experience the consequences of historical colonization and invasion of their territories, and face discrimination because of their distinct cultures, identities and ways of life. In recent decades, the international community has given special attention to the human rights situations of indigenous peoples, as shown by the adoption of international standards and guidelines, as well as by the establishment of institutions and bodies that specifically target these peoples’ concerns. The rights of indigenous peoples are further promoted by international and regional human rights mechanisms. (See Indigenous Peoples)
In this context, the Commission on Human Rights decided to appoint in 2001 a Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, as part of the system of thematic Special Procedures. The Special Rapporteur’s mandate was renewed by the Commission on Human Rights in 2004, and by the Human Rights Council in 2007. (See Mandate).
In the fulfillment of her mandate, the Special Rapporteur:
- Promotes good practices, including new laws, government programs, and constructive agreements between indigenous peoples and states, to implement international standards concerning the rights of indigenous peoples (See Promotion of good practices);
- Reports on the overall human rights situations of indigenous peoples in selected countries (See Country reports);
- Addresses specific cases of alleged violations of the rights of indigenous peoples through communications with Governments and others (See Communications);
- Conducts or contributes to thematic studies on topics of special importance regarding the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples (See Thematic studies).
The Special Rapporteur undertakes efforts to follow-up on the recommendations included in her predecessor’s reports in relation to the foregoing areas of work.