Indigenous people and inqualities



Promoting equality, social equity. Gender equality and women empowerment.


Inequality and indigenous Peoples


 Presentation by Lucy Mulenkei -Indigenous Information Network and the chair of African Indigenous women organizations



Thank you Co Chair


 In preparations for this process, Indigenous Peoples globally participated in the UN Development Group Global Thematic Consultations on Inequalities. These included a three-week-long e-discussion on indigenous peoples and inequalityco-moderated by the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issue, UN Women and UNICEF. The main purpose was to ensure the contribution of Indigenous Peoples in the process and to secure a sustainable development process of post-2015 agenda that includes Indigenous Peoples. This was crucial as already there was a gap expressed by Indigenous Peoples and especially women and youth who felt invisible in Millennium Development goals and related national reports that did not provide disaggregated data reflect their situation


Inequalities of Indigenous Peoples include the non-recognition of their collective land rights Socio, economic, political inequality and unequal access to public services. These practices impair indigenous peoples’ rights over and access to ancestral lands, forests, waters and other natural resources, which are important for their subsistence as well as for their cultural and spiritual well-being. Without access to their land and natural resources, Indigenous Peoples feel poor and marginalized in search of their livelihoods. These problems have forced many able and young men and women to migrate to cities to look for employment causing them further discrimination.  As migrants to cities and labour intensive work places Indigenous women and children are exposed to risks, sexual abuse, trafficking, hazardous child labour, and general exploitation. Inequality affects indigenous women more and because of this, face doubles and young indigenous women face triple discrimination with mainstream society and within their own because of their sex, being indigenous.


Unfortunately these inequalities still exit despite an extensive legal framework that recognizes indigenous peoples’ right to enjoy the full range of human rights and equal opportunities. This framework includes the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), ILO Convention No. 169, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination—ICERD, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women—CEDAW  and other frameworks at the national and regional levels.


The post-2015 agenda must create policy space for equitable development, and must require States to fulfill their obligations to develop monetary policies that support, rather than undermine, women’s and indigenous people’s rights. There is need to recognize indigenous peoples economies no matter how small. They have for years sustained their livelihoods in these economies, and   should not be sidelines or threatened by national development strategies which are closely tied to private sector investments and natural resources and extractive industries. Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous peoples and local communities is required for any projects and developments that may affect lands which they own, occupy or otherwise use.  Recognition of indigenous peoples’ collective rights, in particular the right to land, and natural resources, education and health and the consideration of special conditions and needs of indigenous women, children, youth and indigenous persons with disabilities will be one of the positive ways to reduce and eliminate poverty and inequalities  among Indigenous peoples, women and children.



Co- Chairs, it is important that the SDGs and the Post 2015 framework include the implementation of a human rights-based approach to development that takes into account issues of equality and sustainability, and endorses the fundamental concept of development with culture and identity. The framework into the agenda should guarantee the full implementation of existing human rights agreements.

The post-2015 agenda must recognize women and indigenous peoples as full rights holders, and integrate comprehensive strategy accountability mechanisms to fulfil economic, social,  cultural   and political rights. States should involve include women and indiegnsou peoples in leadership and decisoin making process and take the unique opportunity to strengthen women’s and Indigenous Peoples right to meaningfully particpate in formulating, implementing, and monitoring the post-2015 agenda.