Indigenous Peoples' Rights

The rights of Indigenous Peoples have been a focus of the DTP since its first course in 1990.  Indigenous Peoples were historically unrepresented and unrecognised in the UN system and at the national level.  Effective advocacy has changed this and new standards and mechanisms have been developed to respond to the denial of rights and the demands of Indigenous Peoples across the world.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other standards and mechanisms have been adopted  even as the rights of Indigenous Peoples have come under greater pressure as a result of rapid economic change and processes of globalisation. Lack of recognition or respect for Indigenous Peoples’ rights has led to the displacement of communities and to conflict. National contexts are different but there are challenges common to Indigenous Peoples across the region.

Since 2004, DTP has organised and facilitated an Asia-Pacific regional capacity building program on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Its 10th Annual Regional Program was held in Cambodia in June 2013.  The program placed particular emphasis on Indigenous Peoples’ rights in the context of economic development, the private sector and the challenges of climate change.

Issues of recognition of special relationships to land, and of traditional knowledge systems, of the right of Indigenous Peoples to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, a human rights based approach to development and corporate accountabiility and REDD + are included in a curriculum that has developed and remained relevant over the last decade.