UNSR Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

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 

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples on her visit to Mexico Print


This report examines the situation of indigenous peoples in Mexico. It is based on information received by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples during her visit to the country from 8 to 17 November 2017 and on independent research.

The Special Rapporteur notes that, since the official visit made in 2003 by the former Special Rapporteur, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, and despite the commitments subsequently made by Mexico in the field of human rights, indigenous peoples continue to face serious challenges in the exercise of their human rights.

Current development policies, which are based on mega-projects (in mining, energy, tourism, real estate and agriculture, among other areas), pose a major challenge to indigenous peoples' enjoyment of human rights. Lack of self-determination and prior, free, informed and culturally appropriate consultation are compounded by land conflicts, forced displacement, and the criminalization of and violence against indigenous peoples who defend their rights.

All these problems are taking place against a backdrop of profound inequality, poverty and discrimination of indigenous peoples that restricts their access to justice, education, health and other basic services.

Rights of indigenous children, adolescents and families to mental health and wellbeing Print


The International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP)


July 2018

IACAPAP declares recognition of certain fundamental mental health rights of children, adolescents and families of indigenous communities everywhere, in concert with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).

Indigenous communities are identified as those within nation states that can regard themselves and be regarded by others as indigenous on account of their descent from the people who inhabited a particular territory (land and waters) at the time of conquest or colonisation of that territory, and who, regardless of their legal status, retain some or all of their own social, economic and cultural traditions. This statement follows United Nations policy, set out by the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention of the International Labour Organisation (1989) and by the website of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2018).

Statement of Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples to the Human Rights Council 39th Session Print



Statement of Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
to the Human Rights Council 39th Session

Geneva, 19 September 2018

Mr. President,
Distinguished delegates,
Indigenous peoples' representatives,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is an honour for me to address the Human Rights Council today and present my reports. I would like to start by expressing my gratitude to the numerous States, indigenous peoples, and others, and in particular to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, for the support they have provided as I have carried out my mandate over the past year.

I have, in the exercise of my mandate, observed a worrying escalation in the attacks, criminalisation and threats against indigenous peoples who are defending their rights to protect their lands, territories and resources. For this reason, I have decided to dedicate my thematic report to the Council to this topic.

Report to Human Rights Council - 2018. Attacks against and criminalization of indigenous peoples defending their rights Print

acnudhHuman Rights Council
Thirty-ninth session
10-28 September 2018 Agenda item 3
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development.


PDF: En  Sp  Fr  Ru  Ch  Ar

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples

Note by the Secretariat

The Secretariat has the honour to present to the Human Rights Council the report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, prepared pursuant to Council resolution 33/12. In the report the Special Rapporteur briefly refers to the activities undertaken since the submission of her last report, provides a thematic study on attacks against and the criminalization of indigenous human rights defenders and reflects on available prevention and protection measures. She concludes with recommendations on how various stakeholders can prevent violations and improve protection.

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples on her visit to Guatemala Print


The report considers the situation of the indigenous peoples of Guatemala on the basis of information received by the Special Rapporteur during her visit to the country between 1 and 10 May 2018.

The Special Rapporteur notes that the situation of the Maya, Xinka and Garifuna peoples is characterized by serious structural problems, particularly the lack of protection for their rights to their lands, territories and resources and the racial discrimination that pervades all areas of life. She expresses her deep concern at the resurgence of violence, forced evictions and the criminalization of indigenous peoples that defend their rights.

Impunity, corruption, institutional weakness, the failure to implement the Peace Agreements and extreme economic and social inequality are the main obstacles. It is imperative that the Government of Guatemala identify the structural problems as a matter of urgency and work towards their resolution.

Read full report here

English  Español

UN experts urge prompt ratification of landmark Latin America and Caribbean environment treaty Print
GENEVA (13 September 2018) – UN human rights experts* welcome the adoption of the landmark Escazú agreement and are now urging States in Latin America and the Caribbean to sign and ratify as quickly as possible a ground-breaking environment treaty for the region.
The Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean was adopted on 4 March 2018 in Escazú, Costa Rica, and will be open for signature on 27 September at the UN General Assembly in New York.
The treaty is the first of its kind in the world to include specific binding provisions for the protection and promotion of people, groups and organisations that promote and defend human rights in environmental matters. It was negotiated under the auspices of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN ECLAC) and is the only binding treaty stemming from the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
“This landmark regional treaty not only guarantees good governance and basic democratic rights but is also an enabler for environmental protection and sustainable development,” the 27 UN experts said in a joint statement.
“There is a special emphasis on people and groups in vulnerable situations and measures to try to help those most in need. We welcome the focus in this treaty on overcoming the barriers and difficulties that hinder the full enjoyment of human rights related to the environment, which is especially crucial in Latin America and the Caribbean,” they added. They also praised the treaty’s explicit recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples, as well as the acknowledgement of the cultural diversity of Latin America and the Caribbean and of their peoples.
ECUADOR. Call for inputs on upcoming country visit to Ecuador 19 to 29 November 2018 Print

acnudhThe Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples is collecting information in preparation of her country visit to Ecuador scheduled to take place from 19 to 29 November 2018.

In accordance with the established practice of mandate-holders, the Special Rapporteur welcomes all relevant submissions that indigenous organisations and other stakeholders may wish to transmit for her consideration in preparation of this visit, such as:

- Recent analytical reports or surveys on indigenous peoples in Ecuador;

- Information on the policy, programmes and legal framework with respect to indigenous peoples;

- Priority issues/concerns and situations that warrant the attention of the Special Rapporteur;

- Suggestions on issues to examine and related locations to visit;

- Contact info for indigenous organisations and civil society representatives to meet in different regions in relation to suggested locations to visit.

Kindly submit information by 30 September 2018 to indigenous@ohchr.org. Please indicate "Visit to Ecuador 2018" in the subject heading of the email submission.

A global crisis is unfolding. A Letter from the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Print


A global crisis is unfolding. The rapid expansion of development projects on indigenous lands without their consent is driving a drastic increase in violence and legal harassment against Indigenous Peoples.

I've been alerted to hundreds of cases of "criminalization" from nearly every corner of the world. These attacks—whether physical or legal—are an attempt to silence Indigenous Peoples voicing their opposition to projects that threaten their livelihoods and cultures.

My new report finds a pattern of abuse, with the private sector often colluding with governments to force Indigenous Peoples from their lands by whatever means necessary to make way for infrastructure, agriculture, mining, and extractive projects.

The Philippines: UN experts urge further action to remove names on Government’s “terror list” Print


GENEVA (20 August 2018) – UN human rights experts* have welcomed a ruling in the Philippines declaring that the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, is a non-party to the government's recent petition which seeks to declare the New People's Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines as "terrorist organisations".

"While we welcome this decision, we are still deeply concerned about the continued naming of many others, including human rights defenders, in the petition, as this tags them as terrorists," said the UN experts.

The decision was issued by the Regional Trial Court of Manila on 27 July in relation to a petition filed in February 2018 by the Department of Justice. In the petition, Ms Tauli-Corpuz was named on a list, with more than 600 others, de facto accusing them as terrorists and alleged members of the New People's Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The Indigenous Peoples, TRIPS & Biodiversity Convention Print

vicky tauli-corpuzBy Victoria Tauli-Corpuz

GENEVA (IDN-INPS) – International standards have come a long way in recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples to their traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and, indeed, even genetic resources. The adoption of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 1992 finally did away with the concept of biological and genetic resources as the common heritage of mankind, recognizing that States have sovereignty over biological and genetic resources that are owned, found and accessed from within their territories.
The CBD also conclusively recognizes the authority of indigenous peoples over their traditional knowledge. Specifically, Article 8(j) of the CBD directs Parties to enact national legislation to preserve, protect, maintain, and promote the wider application of indigenous peoples' traditional knowledge relevant to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, provided that such use takes place with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge. Article 8(j) also encourages equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices.
Guatemala: Rise in attacks on human rights defenders is deeply concerning – say UN experts Print

logo-acnudhGENEVA (9 August 2018) - UN human rights experts* have raised alarm over the increase in killings, attacks and other acts of intimidation against human rights defenders in Guatemala, amid restrictive legislative and political attempts to curtail their work.

Between 9 May and 27 July 2018, 11 defenders** who were working to protect various indigenous communities' rights in the context of safe and healthy environment, including access to land and to basic services, were killed. These defenders, the majority indigenous, sought to protect their communities from development and business-related human rights abuses***. The attacks were of an unusually violent nature- four suffered fatal cuts by bladed weapons, including cuts to their ears and throat.

"We are concerned that the frequency and severity of these attacks could have ripple effects throughout the population, sending a message that there are dangerous consequences for defending human rights, especially given that these crimes often go unpunished", the UN experts said.

States must act now to protect indigenous peoples during migration Print


GENEVA/NEW YORK (7 August 2018) – States around the world must take effective action to guarantee the human rights of indigenous peoples, says a group of UN experts*. In a joint statement marking International day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, the experts say it is crucial that the rights of indigenous peoples are realised when they migrate or are displaced from their lands:

"In many parts of the world, indigenous peoples have become migrants because they are fleeing economic deprivation, forced displacement, environmental disasters including climate change impacts, social and political unrest, and militarisation. Indigenous peoples have shown remarkable resilience and determination in these extreme situations.

We wish to remind States that all indigenous peoples, whether they migrate or remain, have rights under international instruments, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Statement. 11th Session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Print


Statement of Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

11th Session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

11th of July 2018

UN experts to US: “Release migrant children from detention and stop using them to deter irregular migration” Print

acnudhGENEVA (22 June 2018) - The executive order signed by the US President on 20 June 2018 fails to address the situation of thousands of migrant children forcibly separated from their parents and held in detention at the border, UN experts* said. In addition, it may lead to indefinite detention of entire families in violation of international human rights standards, they said.

"This executive order does not address the situation of those children who have already been pulled away from their parents. We call on the Government of the US to release these children from immigration detention and to reunite them with their families based on the best interests of the child, and the rights of the child to liberty and family unity," the experts said.

"Detention of children is punitive, severely hampers their development, and in some cases may amount to torture," the experts said. "Children are being used as a deterrent to irregular migration, which is unacceptable."

The UN experts have already expressed to the US Government their grave concerns over the impact of the zero-tolerance policy signed by the Attorney General on 6 April 2018. As a result of the new policy, parents travelling with their children, including asylum-seeking families, were automatically separated and subjected to criminal prosecution as a punitive deterrent from migrating to the United States.

Alleged violations of the rights of indigenous peoples. Communications sent: 1 December 2017 to 28 February 2018. #Cambodia #Peru #Egypt #Mexico #Philippines #USA #Paraguay #Guatemala #Bangladesh Print


Alleged violations of the rights of indigenous peoples. Communications sent: 1 December 2017 to 28 February 2018.
#Cambodia #Peru #Egypt #Mexico #Philippines #USA #Paraguay #Guatemala #Bangladesh.

See Communications report of Special Procedures A/HRC/38/54, 5 June 2018.


Guatemala needs to do more to stop the killings of indigenous activists Print


By Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (*)
The Washington Post, May 23, 2018.

I did an official 10-day visit from May 1-10 to Guatemala as part of my tasks as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. In a span of five days, while I was there and after I left, Luis Marroquin, Jose Can Xol and Mateo Chamán Paau were killed. They were killed in their fight for their rights to continue owning the lands they live in and live from. All of them are Q'eqchi' Maya.

Philippines: UN racial discrimination experts voice concern at “terrorist” list Print


GENEVA (14 May 2018) – Indigenous peoples and human rights defenders must be removed from a list of more than 600 individuals alleged to be affiliated with "terrorist organizations," the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said in a decision on the Philippines issued in the course of the Committee's 95th session, held in Geneva.

The full decision is included below this press release.

The Committee, which monitors the implementation of the UN anti-racism Convention which the Philippines ratified in 1967, addressed what they termed the dire situation faced by indigenous leaders and human rights defenders engaged in the fight against racial discrimination in the country.

Acting under its preventive mechanism — the Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures that aims to prevent existing situations from escalating into conflicts and limit the scale of serious violations of the Convention — the Committee expressed alarm at the inclusion of incumbent and former UN mandate holders on that list.


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