Attacks and criminalisation of indigenous human rights defenders: report

Published
10 August 2018
Author
Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
Presented
To the HRC at its 39th session


Background

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples is gravely concerned at the drastic increase in attacks and acts of violence against, criminalisation of and threats aimed at indigenous peoples, particularly those arising in the context of large-scale projects involving extractive industries, agribusiness, infrastructure, hydroelectric dams and logging. The Special Rapporteur therefore decided to prepare a thematic report to draw attention to the escalation of these concerns. This report will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in September 2018.

Building on numerous recent initiatives undertaken by indigenous peoples, civil society actors as well as by the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, the Special Rapporteur focused this report on the specific experiences and challenges faced by indigenous peoples. Concrete steps taken by different stakeholders to prevent attacks and provide collective protection measures will be explored with a view to identify proposals for action. 

Summary

The focus of the present report is on the distinctive characteristics of attacks against and criminalisation of indigenous peoples defending their rights under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and under human rights treaties, with emphasis on violations occurring in the context of development projects.

The Special Rapporteur considers the collective and individual impact on indigenous peoples and assesses the effectiveness of prevention and protective measures, identifying good practices and prevailing challenges with regard to protective measures for indigenous peoples. Attention is also dedicated to the gendered impacts on indigenous women.

The report concludes with recommendations on how various stakeholders can prevent violations and improve protection, underlining inter alia the importance of establishing accountability for violations against indigenous human rights defenders; the need to address root cases such as the denial of the collective land rights of indigenous peoples; and that prevention and protection measures should be developed with the participation of the indigenous communities concerned

In preparation of the report, the Special Rapporteur conducted several consultations with indigenous defenders and issued a public call for input. Submissions for this report will be kept confidential.