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Indigenous children

© Michael Amendolia/ Network/ ActionAid
© Michael Amendolia/ Network/ ActionAid
As every child, indigenous children have the right to:

 Not be discriminated against

 Enjoy their culture

 Use their own language (read and write in their own language),

 Profess and practice their own religion

 Have access to education, vocational training, health and other services that are culturally sensitive

 Be protected from all forms of violence, exploitation, abuse and abandonment, including commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking and child labour that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child’s education.

Sources: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Articles 7, 17, 21, 22; Convention on the Rights of the Child, Articles 28,29,30; ILO Convention No. 138; Convention No. 169, Articles 28-29; ILO Convention No. 182. (Read more UNDG guidelines on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues p. 22).

Committee on the Rights of the Child Recommendations (2003):


19. Recommends that States parties ensure access for indigenous children to appropriate and high quality education while taking complementary measures to eradicate child labour, including through the provision of informal education where appropriate. In this regard, the Committee recommends that States parties, with the active participation of indigenous communities and children,:

a) review and revise school curricula and textbooks to develop respect among all children for indigenous cultural identity, history, language and values in accordance with the Committee’s General Comment no. 1 on the aims of education;

b) implement indigenous children’s right to be taught to read and write in their own indigenous language or in the language most commonly used by the group to which they belong, as well as in the national language(s) of the country in which they live;

c) undertake measures to effectively address the comparatively higher drop out rates among indigenous youth and ensure that indigenous children are adequately prepared for higher education, vocational training and their further economic, social and cultural aspirations;

d) take effective measures to increase the number of teachers from indigenous communities or who speak indigenous languages, provide them with appropriate training, and ensure that they are not discriminated against in relation to other teachers;

e) allocate sufficient financial, material and human resources to implement these programmes and policies effectively.

Read our section on the outcomes of this recommendations:

CRC GC11 Indigenous children and their rights under the Convention

Read the CRCGC11 GENERAL COMMENT No. 11 (2009)

Read about Traeger Park School v. Minister of Education Northern Territory of Australia Australia’s Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission - Aboriginal Students Support & Parents Awareness Committee , HREOCA 4, 26 February 1992.

Read our sections:

Indigenous Peoples

Advocacy kit for promoting multilingual education: including the excluded