Integrating the Disability and Indigenous Movements

A woman dressed in black stands in a sunny forest. She looks over her shoulder and holds a cane in one hand.
  • The Accomplishment

  • What Worked

  • About the Author

Indigenous people with disabilities were made visible in Mexico and their voice was raised in the United Nations (UN) system. The greatest impact has been on the formulation of various documents developed between the UN and the indigenous movement that now include specific references to indigenous people with disabilities. A growing number of countries have made similar achievements affecting a range of policies, programs, and actions.

After the meeting I had with six indigenous people with disabilities from other parts of the world, the first document we created that focused on the issue was the Study of the Situation of Indigenous Persons with Disabilities.  It was followed by:

  • The final document from Alta, Norway
  • The World Conference of Indigenous Peoples (especially paragraph 9)
  • Access to justice for indigenous persons with disabilities
  • The world state of infancy 2013
  • The study of sexual and reproductive rights for persons with disabilities by the United Nations Commission on Population and Development
  • The Study by the International Labor Organization (ILO) for indigenous persons with disabilities
  • The Study by the Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities “Women with Disabilities”
  • Recommendations made by the Committee of the CRPD to the Mexican State

The above-mentioned are just some of the most salient texts and I’d also like to take this opportunity to mention an additional accomplishment of mine which was that in July of 2016 the Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism of Experts developed a day of discussion exclusively to address the violations of the rights of indigenous people with disabilities with a special focus on women and girls. As a result of this lobbying work the UN Voluntary Contributions Fund graciously recognized me as the Indigenous leader of Latin America and the Caribbean for advocacy with international impact.

Additionally, in the National Congress we are pushing for an agreement and an initiative that will guarantee that indigenous people with disabilities will not find themselves at a greater disadvantage than the rest of non-disabled indigenous people.