An international expert group meeting on urban indigenous peoples and migration in Santiago, Chile urged the international community to understand and better support indigenous people leading a marginalised existence in many cities around the world.
The meeting of the United Nations Housing Rights Programme, held 27-29 March, was financed by Canada and jointly organized by UN-HABITAT, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the Latin American and Caribbean Demographic Centre, and the International Organization for Migration.
The experts said that indigenous people living in urban areas constitute more than half of the indigenous population in many countries. This rate is on the increase due to variety of factors that lead to forced or involuntary movement from rural to urban areas. The situation of indigenous peoples in urban areas varies greatly: While some are able to adapt and improve their living conditions without loss of cultural identity; many are subject to discrimination, exclusion and violence.
The experts recommended that greater attention by the relevant authorities is required to address rights of urban indigenous peoples. They agreed that public authorities need to understand the multiple identities of indigenous peoples within urban areas and their continuing relationship to their traditional lands and natural resources.
The report of the expert group meeting can be downloaded here in English and Spanish.