UNSR Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

Guatemala Congress must not pass “amnesty” bill for rights violations, say UN experts Print

acnudhGENEVA (11 March 2019) – UN human rights experts* are urging the Congress of Guatemala not to pass a new bill which would set up a general amnesty for serious human rights violations committed during the armed internal conflict.

The bill seeks to amend Guatemala's National Reconciliation Law which has been the basis of trials involving human rights violations in the country since the peace accords of 1996, and would establish an automatic mechanism for extinguishing the criminal responsibility of all those responsible for serious violations of human rights committed during that period.

"The approval of these reforms would seriously affect victims' rights to justice, truth, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition. It could also lead to reprisals and attacks against victims, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, plaintiffs, witnesses, experts and others involved in human rights trials, putting their own safety and that of their families at risk," the experts said.

Indonesia: UN experts condemn racism and police violence against Papuans, and use of snake against arrested boy Print

acnudhGENEVA (21 February 2019) - Prompt and impartial investigations must be carried out into numerous cases of alleged killings, unlawful arrests, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of indigenous Papuans by the Indonesian police and military in West Papua and Papua provinces, say a group of UN human rights experts*.

In the latest reported case, a video was circulated online of a handcuffed indigenous Papuan boy being interrogated by Indonesian police with a snake wrapped around his body. The boy, who was arrested on 6 February for allegedly having stolen a mobile phone, is heard screaming in fear while the laughing police officers push the snake's head towards his face.

"This case reflects a widespread pattern of violence, alleged arbitrary arrests and detention as well as methods amounting to torture used by the Indonesian police and military in Papua," the experts said.

Enhancing and Promoting Indigenous Peoples. Knowledge and Innovations for Climate Resilience and Sustainable Development Print


Keynote Address: Indigenous Peoples' Forum in IFAD,
4th Global Session, 12-14 February 2019,
IFAD Headquarters, Rome, Italy

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz,
UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Mr. Gilbert Houngbo, President of IFAD, Mr. Paul Winters, Members of the Governing Council of IFAD, the Senior Management and staff of IFAD, members of the Indigenous Peoples' Steering Committee, Indigenous representatives, ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honor for me to speak at this opening plenary of the 4th Global Meeting of the Indigenous Peoples' Forum at IFAD. I always look forward to attending this Forum because it represents what can possibly be achieved through a partnership between indigenous peoples and a UN Multilateral Financial Institution. For many of us, indigenous peoples, we started knowing IFAD only in 2001. It has not been that long but many milestones have been achieved between then and now. The theme "Promoting Indigenous Peoples' Knowledge and Innovations for Climate Resilience and Sustainable Development" is so apt as several of the gains achieved by indigenous peoples since the Forum in 2017 speak to this theme.

Brazil: UN experts call for probe into deadly dam collapse Print

acnudhGENEVA (30 January 2019) - UN human rights experts* have called for a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the collapse of a tailing dam in Minas Gerais, Brazil, on 25 January 2019, the second such incident involving the same company in the past three years.

Dozens were killed and hundreds left missing by the disaster involving the Córrego do Feijão mine owned by the mining company Vale. Experts expressed their deepest condolences to the families of the victims and solidarity to those affected by the catastrophic collapse of the tailing dam.

The tragedy demands accountability and calls into question preventive measures taken subsequent to the Samarco mining disaster in Minas Gerais just over three years ago, when a catastrophic flood of mining waste near Mariana killed 19 people and affected the lives of millions, including indigenous communities." the experts said.**

To keep the planet flourishing, 30% of Earth needs protection by 2030 Print


The move would safeguard biodiversity, slow extinctions, and help maintain a steady climate, a leading group of conservationists say.

This week a United Nations working group responded to a joint statement posted online in December by some of the world's largest conservation organizations calling for 30 percent of the planet to be managed for nature by 2030—and for half the planet to be protected by 2050. But exactly what counts as "protected"—and how countries can reach those goals—is still up for debate. (direct download)

Conservationists say these high levels of protection are necessary to safeguard benefits that humans derive from nature—such as the filtration of drinking water and storage of carbon that would otherwise increase global warming. The areas are also needed to prevent massive loss of species.

Jair Bolsonaro's stance on indigenous people is 'discriminatory and racist' Print


Brazil's new president, Jair Bolsonaro, has wasted little time in targeting the country's indigenous people. UN rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz told DW that a move to expand farming will put indigenous rights at risk.

DW: Jair Bolsonaro has issued an executive order making the Agriculture Ministry responsible for deciding what to do with lands claimed by indigenous peoples, stripping power from the indigenous affairs agency, FUNAI. How do you see these developments?

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz: This is a regressive move, because the Agriculture Ministry is the agency which supports the expansion of the areas for the production of crops for export and for cattle ranching. Putting FUNAI under a body which has the function of facilitating the expansion of agriculture, including to the indigenous peoples' lands and territories, will potentially undermine FUNAI's mandate which is to protect the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands and territories.

What can possibly happen is that FUNAI's mandate will be changed or its resources and powers will be reduced significantly which will make it very weak in terms of performing its role of protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.

Guatemala: UN experts concerned indigenous leader convicted in retaliation for opposition to Oxec hydro project Print

GENEVA (19 December 2018) – UN rights experts have expressed concerns over the jailing of an indigenous leader and human rights defender in Guatemala following opposition to a hydro-electric dam project.

Bernardo Caal Xól, who was sentenced in November to seven years and four months' imprisonment, has represented the q'eqchí' communities in Santa Maria Cahabón municipality in legal actions against the Oxec company's project since 2015.

"The criminalisation of Mr. Caal Xól was preceded by virulent defamation campaigns in media, depicting him as a violent criminal acting against the interest of the nation," said the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, who visited Guatemala in May 2018 and met him in prison in Cobán.

"When we met, Mr. Caal Xól expressed serious concerns over his personal security in prison. I urge that his effective protection be ensured," the independent expert said.

The role of people in the landscape in meeting the Paris Agreement temperature targets Print

PANEL: 9 December 2018 15:00-15:30 | Katowice time (GMT+1) LIVESTREAM

How can all the issues discussed today bridge the science – calling for urgent action on climate change in the landscapes – with how people live and act on a daily basis? Key speakers will reflect on how we can ensure we meet Paris Agreement targets through the lens of rights, political accountability and collaboration. Perspectives from indigenous people, civil society and policy makers will help map out the steps we need to take together for successful and holistic climate mitigation.


Takeshi Shimotsuma
Supervising Director of Global Environment and Energy
Environment Policy Bureau, Kyoto City Government, Japan

Mette Wilkie
Chief, Policy and Resources Division and Deputy Director FAO

Jennifer Morgan
Executive Director

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

See Concept note

Honduras: Masterminds of Berta Cáceres killing still at large, say UN experts Print

acnudhGENEVA (7 December 2018) – UN experts welcomed the decision of the court in Tegucigalpa to convict the murderers of the environmental rights defender, Berta Cáceres, but reiterated their concern that the masterminds of her murder remain at large.

On 28 November 2018, a Sentencing Tribunal of the Honduran Judiciary in Tegucigalpa convicted seven men of the murder of the Lenca leader, an environmental and indigenous rights defender who was shot dead in her home on the night of 2 March 2016. Significant concerns have been expressed internationally about the trial, particularly regarding the exclusion of victims and the delay in trial proceedings.

Berta Cáceres had led protests and spoken out against the construction of the Agua Zarca dam, which threatened the traditional lands and water resources of the local Lenca indigenous communities. The project was being built on the Rio Gualcarque, a river considered sacred by the indigenous Lenca peoples.

Climate Change and Human Rights. Joint statement of the UN Special Procedures Mandate Holders. 24th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC Print


Joint statement of the United Nations Special Procedures Mandate Holders
on the occasion of the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC

Climate Change and Human Rights

Leer versión en español [pdf]

6 December 2018 - As independent experts of the UN Human Rights Council*, we call on States to fully integrate human rights standards and principles in the rules for implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change (the Paris Rulebook). In a significant breakthrough, in 2015, Parties to the Paris Agreement recognized the need to integrate their human rights obligations and their efforts to address climate change, pledging to respect and protect human rights in all climate actions. Now, as the Parties meet in Katowice, Poland for the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (3 to 14 December 2018), they must take the necessary steps to operationalize their human rights obligations as they finalize the Paris Rulebook.

Climate change is one of today's greatest threats to human rights, as illustrated in the recently released Special Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)1, which describes the ways in which climate change is transforming life on earth and adversely impacting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people. The IPCC concluded that "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society" are needed to prevent catastrophic climate impacts. Unfortunately, the existing commitments of State Parties to the Paris Agreement—through their nationally determined contributions—put the world heading for 3°C of warming.

End of mission statement by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on her visit to Ecuador Print


End of mission statement
by the United Nations Special Rapporteur
on the rights of indigenous peoples,
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on her visit to Ecuador

Quito, November 29, 2018


Introduction and background

In my capacity as Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, I have visited Ecuador from 19 to 29 November 2018. First of all, I would like to thank the Government of the Republic of Ecuador for inviting me, as well as for allowing me to conduct my visit in an independent manner. I regard this invitation as an indication of the Government's willingness to advance in a constructive dialogue towards the full implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples in the country.

During my 11-day visit, I have met with the President of the Republic, Mr. Lenin Moreno, several Ministers, high-level representatives from different ministries and governmental institutions, the President of the National Assembly, the Judiciary Council, the Supreme Court of Justice, the Attorney General, the Public Prosecutor and the Human Rights Ombudsperson, among others. I have also met with representatives from the civil society, academia, the private sector and the members of the UN system in the country.

I have also participated in one national assembly in Quito and two regional assemblies in Lago Agrio and Yakuwasi, Victoria del Portete, organised by the Confederación de las Nacionalidades Indígenas de Ecuador, CONAIE, its confederations ECUARUNARI, CONFENIAE and CONAICE, and its federations and organisations. I would like to express my gratitude to CONAIE for the hard work in organising and coordinating these very important meetings. Through them, I have had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of representatives of indigenous communities, peoples and nationalities from the Sierra, the Coast and the Amazon. Furthermore, I visited the Shuar Centre of Kupiamai and the community of Tundayme in the Morona Santiago and Zamora Chinchipe Provinces, and the Sápara community of Jandayaku in Pastaza. In the city of Latacunga, I met with representatives of indigenous peoples of the Sierra to hear about indigenous justice, while in Cangahua, members of the Kayambi people introduced their actions and proposals on intercultural bilingual education to me. I was sorry not to be able to visit the territories of the indigenous nationalities of the Coast, but I had the chance to meet with members of the Épera, Chahi and Awá nationalities in Ibarra. I also held meetings with authorities of Waorani nationality, including from the Bameno community, and had separate meetings with indigenous women. I would like to express my deepest regrets to the communities that had invited me, but where I could not visit due the short time available for my mission, in particular to the community of Molleturo, affected by the Rio Blanco project. Please rest assured that I will carefully consider all the information you have submitted to me in my final report.

In all these meetings, I have received an enormous amount of oral testimonies and written information. While I will be reviewing this information in detail over the coming months for the preparation of my final report to the Human Rights Council to be submitted in September 2019, I would hereby like to share some preliminary observations and recommendations. My visit to Ecuador takes place in the year of the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the 2008 Montecristi Constitution. Therefore, I thought it would be timely to assess the progress in the implementation of the Constitutional commitments regarding the building of a plurinational State, including the effective application of the collective rights of indigenous communes, communities, peoples and nationalities in light of Ecuador's international human rights obligations in this regard. I also wanted to follow up on the outstanding observations and recommendations made by my predecessors, Rodolfo Stavenhagen in 2006 and James Anaya in 2009.

Ecuador: UN expert on indigenous peoples to visit Nov. 19-29 Print

acnudhGENEVA (15 November 2018) – The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, will visit Ecuador from 19 to 29 November.

"My visit takes place at a symbolic time for Ecuador, 10 years after the adoption of the Constitution which widely recognises the collective rights of indigenous peoples," said Tauli-Corpuz.

The Special Rapporteur will assess the implementation of the Constitution in light of Ecuador's international human rights commitments, particularly with respect to indigenous peoples' rights to self-determination and to lands, territories and natural resources. She will also assess the situation of indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation and initial contact in the Amazon.

"I am particularly interested in learning about Ecuador's experience in building a truly plurinational and intercultural society, including through adequate consultation processes with indigenous peoples, intercultural health and bilingual education systems as well as harmonisation of the ordinary and traditional justice systems," Tauli-Corpuz said.

Mexico: Killing of indigenous rights defender is "reprehensible" say UN experts Print

acnudhGENEVA (6 November 2018) – UN experts have strongly condemned the killing of Julián Carrillo, an indigenous rights defender from the state of Chihuahua, who had worked tirelessly for over two decades to defend his community against the exploitation of Rarámuri ancestral lands.

On 23 October 23 2018, Julián Carrillo told a friend by phone that he believed he was being watched and said he would go into the forest in an attempt to hide. On the evening of 25 October, his body was found. He had multiple bullet wounds.

"We urge the Mexican authorities to identify the perpetrators of this reprehensible crime and to bring them to justice in accordance with the law," the experts said.

The experts also urged the Government to address the underlying causes of such violence. "The killing of Julián Carrillo highlights the serious situation in the Sierra Tarahumara where the lack of recognition of indigenous land rights is a root cause of the recurring violence against and displacements of indigenous communities."

The Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and the Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression have all visited the state of Chihuahua. In the course of the past year they have expressed grave concern over the lack of adequate protection measures for human rights defenders and indigenous communities at risk.

Indigenous Conflict Mediation and Resolution Processes that Work Print


Interview with Victoria Tauli Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Victoria Tauli Corpuz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, laughs out loud as she recalls reading about about capacity-building programs on self-governance for indigenous peoples. "We've been governing ourselves long before nation states even existed!" In a conversation with Politically Speaking during a recent trip to New York, Ms. Tauli Corpuz talked about important role indigenous governance can play in achieving peaceful and inclusive societies by furthering cooperation and dialogue between indigenous peoples, the private sector and state actors.

Struggling for inclusion Print

vickytaulicorpuz220pxBy Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

Indigenous people have always had to struggle to be heard at the United Nations. It is never a given that we will have a voice in international institutions, and indeed we have often had to protest on the margins before being granted our rightful seat at the table.

The groundbreaking 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was the product of decades of advocacy from indigenous peoples from around the world. It took years until the UN finally started to draft the declaration in 1982, and formal discussions only began in 1995. At that time, we were told that we were not allowed to speak in the negotiations. We could only observe. But we refused to legitimise yet another decision made about us without our participation or consent, so we walked out, and won the right to participate formally.

Presentation by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples of her Report on her mission to Mexico Print


Presentation by
the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples,
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, of her Report on her mission to Mexico
Mexico City, Mexico (15 October 2018)


Dear ladies and gentlemen present,

I would like to express my gratitude for this opportunity to speak today and present my report on my official visit to Mexico which I undertook on 8 to 17 November 2017.

I would like to give my respect to the indigenous peoples of this country whose rights were the subject of my visit and of this report, and whose societies, cultures and traditions have contributed greatly to the rich history, culture and diverse fabric of this nation.

My visit to Mexico had a two-fold purpose: to assess the implementation of the recommendations that my predecessor Special Rapporteur Rodolfo Stavenhagen made in 2003, and to evaluate how Mexico has implemented its international human rights commitments related to indigenous peoples.

International human rights perspectives on access to justice for indigenous peoples in Mexico Print


International human rights perspectives on access to justice
for indigenous peoples in Mexico.

Presentation by Victoria Tauli-Corpuz,
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples

for the
Forum on Access to Justice for Indigenous Persons and Peoples
Federal Judiciary Council (15 October 2018)


Dear ladies and gentlemen present here today. I would like to thank the Federal Judiciary Council for inviting me to speak before this important seminar on the issue of access to justice for indigenous peoples.

I want to give my respect to the indigenous peoples of this country whose right to access to justice is the subject of discussion in this seminar.

As Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, I am tasked to look into the obstacles, challenges, barriers and good practices of States in protecting, respecting and fulfilling the rights of indigenous peoples. It was in the context of this mandate that I was invited by the Government of Mexico to undertake an official country mission from 8 to 17 November 2017. My mission had the two-fold purpose of assessing the implementation of the recommendations that my predecessor Special Rapporteur Rodolfo Stavenhagen made in 2003 and to evaluate how Mexico has implemented its international commitments on indigenous peoples' human rights.

Guatemala: UN experts welcome court ruling that Ixil Mayans were victims of genocide and urge the State to prosecute and punish the perpetrators Print


GENEVA (22 October 2018) – A Guatemalan court's ruling that indigenous Ixil Mayans were victims of genocide and crimes against humanity sets a historic precedent for transitional justice in Guatemala, the region and the world, UN experts said today.

"The court's decision confirms that the suffering and humiliation suffered by the Ixil peoples at the hands of the Guatemalan army constituted crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity," the experts said. "We celebrate the significant progress made in the search for truth, the fight against impunity and the recovery of historical memory of the events that occurred during the internal armed conflict (1960-1996) estimated to have claimed over 200'000 lives," they said.

Last month's judgment in the trial over the deaths of 1,771 people, most of them members of the Ixil community, between 1982 and 1983 established that the Guatemalan army used the most brutal techniques of violence against the civilian population, including killings, torture and cruel and inhuman treatment, sexual violence and forced displacement, causing the partial physical destruction of the Ixil population.

Presentation to the UN General Assembly 2018. Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Print

2018 statement GA

Statement of

Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, 
Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples

Presentation to the Third Committee of the General Assembly
at its 73rd Session Item 71 (a & b): Rights of indigenous peoples

New York, 12th of October 2018

Honourable Chair of the Third Committee, Mr. Mahmoud Saikal
Distinguished Representatives of Member States,

Indigenous representatives and authorities in the room and across the world,
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to address the General Assembly today for the fifth time since I took up the mandate as Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples in 2014. Over the last half decade, I have been reporting here and at the Human Rights Council on a range of troubling issues for indigenous peoples. I have tried to shed light on the structural reasons behind the human rights violations and marginalisation that indigenous peoples continue to face almost in every country. I have explored topics such as the impact of international investment and free trade agreements on indigenous peoples' rights; the impact of conservation and climate change adaption and mitigation projects; and the increasing attacks, criminalisation and even murder of indigenous peoples, amongst other issues.

Today, I want to discuss what I see as one of the possible solutions to address the challenges that indigenous peoples face across the world: namely the importance of protecting and promoting the role of indigenous peoples' own institutions and ways of governing themselves. At the core of this are the rights to self-determination, self- governance and autonomy.

A/73/176 - Indigenous peoples and self-governance. Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples to General Assembly 2018 Print

onuUnited Nations
General Assembly
Seventy-third session
Item 71 (a) of the preliminary list
Rights of indigenous peoples

17 July 2018

Report of the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the rights of indigenous peoples


The present report is submitted to the General Assembly by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples pursuant to her mandate under Human Rights Council resolution 33/12. In the report, the Special Rapporteur provides a summary of her activities since her previous report to the Assembly and an introductory comment on the issue of indigenous peoples and self-governance.

In the section on activities, the Special Rapporteur highlights recent thematic work on topics relating to criminalization; consultation and free, prior and informed consent; indigenous peoples in isolation and initial contact; country visits; communications; and other activities. In the section on indigenous peoples and self-governance, she reviews examples of indigenous governance systems documented by the mandate holder and highlights some of the positive outcomes achieved in terms of sustainable development.



I. Introduction

II. Activities of the Special Rapporteur in 2017 and 2018 

A. Attacks against and criminalization of indigenous peoples
B. Consultation and free, prior and informed consent
C. Indigenous peoples in isolation and initial contact 
D. Country visits to Mexico and Guatemala
E. Communications and cooperation with human rights mechanisms, relevant United Nations bodies and regional human rights organizations

III. Indigenous peoples and self-governance

A. Background 
B. The international legal framework relating to indigenous peoples and self-governance
C. Self-governance and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
D. Examples of indigenous governance systems and their contributions to sustainable development at the national level 
E. Key areas for future discussions

IV. Concluding remarks 


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