Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Addressing both individual and collective rights, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) asserts indigenous peoples' rights to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions. States are to support these rights in a manner consistent with international human rights law and the just and most compelling requirements of a democratic society. In the area of elections, contradictions between these objectives often can and do occur. To better inform the resulting policy discussion, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) facilitates international research and dialogue on challenges and innovation happening at the juncture of elections and the rights of indigenous peoples. At a national level, IFES assists countries to meet UNDRIP standards by holding inclusive national and local-level elections that respect language and traditional political institutions and practices. IFES works with state officials and indigenous stakeholders to incorporate the rights of indigenous peoples into each stage of the electoral cycle, from the development of election law to the adjudication of election disputes. In some cases, IFES also provides technical assistance directly to indigenous communities as they seek to further develop and strengthen their own election practices.