Pursuant to Resolution 51/16 of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will dedicate his annual report to the Human Rights Council to the theme ²Indigenous Persons with Disabilities.²
An estimated 1.3 billion people, or 16% of the world’s population are persons with disabilities. While there is a lack of disaggregated global data on Indigenous persons with disabilities, the estimate is more than 54 million.1 The UN has reported that ²the rate and risk of disability among Indigenous Peoples are higher because of dangerous working conditions, lower standards of living, and the poor quality of the preventive medical services available to them. Above all, …. they do not usually have access to suitable rehabilitation services.2
Indigenous persons with disabilities often suffer multiple forms of discrimination and face barriers to the full enjoyment of their rights, based on their Indigenous status and disability.3 Intersectional discrimination can limit their access to the justice system, development programmes and funds, education, employment, health care, communication, and transportation services. Due to marginalization, poverty and ²invisibility,² they are not always able to voice their concerns and exercise their rights.
The Special Rapporteur identified this theme as a focus for his report after hearing directly from Indigenous persons with disabilities about the challenges they face in exercising their rights. As per resolution of the Human Rights Council 51/16, the Special Rapporteur is to pay special attention to the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous persons with disabilities in carrying out his mandate.
The Special Rapporteur’s report will build upon the findings of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMPRIP), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) who have previously examined this issue. At the request of an international delegation of Indigenous persons with disabilities, the UNPFII undertook a study on the situation of Indigenous persons with disabilities with a particular focus on challenges faced with respect to the full enjoyment of human rights and inclusion in development (E/C.19/2013/6) to coincide with the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on Disability and Development in 2013 (A/68/L.1). EMRIP has examined the obstacles that Indigenous persons with disabilities face in a 2014 study on access to justice (A/HRC/27/65) and during a panel discussion at its 9th session in July 2016. The discussion was informed by an expert group meeting organized by the OHCHR, UNPFII, EMPRIP, and ILO among others, in which the mandate of the Special Rapporteur participated.4 In 2015, the ILO published a discussion paper on Indigenous persons with disabilities in the context of access to training and employment.5 Finally, the OHCHR’s ²Analytical study on the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change² (2009) addresses the specific impacts of climate change on Indigenous persons with disabilities.6
The report will highlight examples of Indigenous-led approaches to ensuring the inclusion of persons with disabilities and advancing their rights, as well as review good practices undertaken by States and international organizations. It will give particular emphasis to the challenges faced by Indigenous women, children, LGBTI and gender diverse people, elders,7 and migrants with disabilities. Finally, it will clarify the conceptualization of support and care services for persons with disabilities8 in light of the legal, social and cultural specificities of Indigenous Peoples.
International legal standards recognizing the rights of Indigenous Persons with disabilities are set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, International Labour Organization Convention 169, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The Special Rapporteur, therefore, wishes to receive inputs by way of response to the annexed questions, that will inform his report to be presented at the 57th session of the Human Rights Council in September 2024. The Special Rapporteur requests submissions from Member States and inter-governmental entities, UN agencies, funds and programs, Indigenous Peoples and organizations, civil society actors, humanitarian and development organizations, national human rights institutions, business representatives and other relevant stakeholders, to contribute to the preparation of the report. Please email your written submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 February 2024 in English, French or Spanish preferably in WORD (.docx) accessible format. Kindly indicate in the subject of your email ²Submission for 57th Session Human Rights Council Report. Respondents are requested to limit their inputs to a maximum of 4000 words. Additional supporting materials, such as reports, academic studies, and other background materials may be annexed to the submission.
Submissions will be published as received on the OHCHR mandate webpage, unless requested otherwise. Please, kindly indicate in your email if you DO NOT wish your submission to be made public.
The Special Rapporteur is particularly interested in receiving inputs on any or all the following issues, including recent case studies and specific examples of best practices led by Indigenous Peoples as well as initiatives taken by States and international organizations.
- Please identify the root causes of why Indigenous persons have higher rates of physical and mental impairments and face societal barriers related to disabilities at a disproportionately higher rate.
- Please, identify the greatest challenges to realizing the human rights of Indigenous persons with disabilities, including the unique challenges faced by Indigenous women, children, LGBTI and gender diverse persons, migrants, and older persons with disabilities. Please indicate the key factors that have contributed or could contribute to overcoming these barriers.
- Please provide information about the impacts of pollution and toxic contamination, climate change and/or conservation measures on Indigenous persons with disabilities.
- Please indicate how States, communities of Indigenous Peoples, the private sector, and international institutions are ensuring the participation of Indigenous persons with disabilities in decision-making that impacts their lives and interests.
- Please share examples of good practices led by States, communities of Indigenous Peoples, the private sector and international organization to promote a human rights-based approach to the challenges faced by Indigenous persons with disabilities. Please explain how States, international organizations and the private sector can best support the empowerment of Indigenous persons with disabilities, and the realization of their rights at the international level.
- Please indicate whether the State has a national support and care system for persons with disabilities that is inclusive, accessible, affordable and culturally appropriate for Indigenous persons with disabilities.
- Please provide information on the role of new technologies, including artificial intelligence, in assisting in the personalization and affordability of services for Indigenous persons with disabilities.
- Please indicate how Indigenous persons with disabilities are addressing the challenges confronting them with specific examples.
- Please provide information of concrete initiatives, actions and programs relating to Indigenous persons with disabilities that have been developed by Indigenous organizations, civil society organizations and other stakeholders. Please explain to what extent the work of Indigenous and civil society organizations and other stakeholders on Indigenous persons with disabilities is taken into account to inform national policies.
2- UN Enable, International Norms and Standards relating to Disability, https://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/comp506.htm
3- UN DESA, The United Nations and indigenous persons with disabilities, https://www.un.org/development/desa/disabilities/issues/the-united-nations-and-indigenous-persons-with-disabilities.html
7- The UN has adopted the term ‘older persons.’ See Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons: https://www.ohchr.org/en/special-procedures/ie-older-persons. For clarity, the Special Rapporteur refers to ‘elders’ which is a term commonly used by Indigenous Peoples.
Responses should be submitted by 15 February 2024
Email subject line:
Submission to 57th HRC session report