Indigenous peoples with disabilities face discrimination and accessibility barriers both related to their disability and also related to being indigenous peoples. Many programs meant to benefit indigenous peoples may be inaccessible for indigenous peoples with disabilities. Meanwhile, programs meant to benefit people with disabilities may not meet the needs of indigenous peoples with disabilities.
Protecting the human rights of indigenous peoples with disabilities may require using human rights instruments for people with disabilities in conjunction with human rights instruments for indigenous people.
Using the CRPD for Indigenous Peoples with Disabilities
Paragraph “p” in the preamble of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) acknowledges that indigenous peoples with disabilities are among those who “are subject to multiple or aggravated forms of discrimination”. This paragraph can be used to explain why it is appropriate to pay particular attention to the human rights needs of indigenous peoples with disabilities. This includes taking steps to ensure that indigenous peoples with disabilities are able to benefit from the protections of the CRPD on the same basis as other people with disabilities.
Using the UNDRIP for Indigenous Peoples with Disabilities
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), unlike the CRPD, is not a legally binding instrument. However, it sets an important international standard for how governments should treat indigenous peoples. Paragraph 2 in Article 21 explicitly states that governments need to pay particular attention to the “rights and special needs” of indigenous persons with disabilities along with other marginalized populations such as indigenous elders, women, youth, and children.
The full text of the UNDRIP is available in both English and Spanish.
A Funders Toolkit: Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples can help you understand how to use the UNDRIP in your country.
The publication, Know your Rights: Adolescent friendly version of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples can be used to explain the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to adolescents. It is available in both English and Spanish.
Using the ILO Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (1989, No. 169)
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (No. 169), similar to the UNDRIP, is meant to stimulate dialogue between governments and indigenous and tribal peoples to improve their situation. This instrument may be useful in advocating for rights not otherwise addressed in the CRPD such as land rights, the right to be consulted in the use of mineral and other resources located on indigenous territory, or the right to free and informed consent in any displacement of indigenous peoples from their traditional territories.
ILO Convention on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, 1989 (No. 169): A Manual contains the full text of the convention in the appendix, starting on page 93. The manual as a whole can help you understand how to use the ILO convention in your country.