Indigenous Peoples in Asia are marginalized and discriminated

Asia is home to the largest number of indigenous peoples on earth, with an estimated 260 million of a total of 350 million total population of indigenous peoples worldwide.

Asia is, in fact, one of the most culturally diverse regions in the world. Asian indigenous peoples face problems such as denial of self-determination, the loss of control over their land and natural resources, discrimination and marginalization, heavy assimilation pressure and violent repression by state security forces.

Although some of the countries have legislations that to some extent protect the rights of indigenous peoples, like the Philippines, India and Nepal, but these rights have often been ignored or overruled. These problems have been highlighted in this program conducted based on interview with Signe Leth, who is senior advisor to Indigenous women, Indigenous youth and Land Rights in Asia at International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA).

With a heart beating for Asia and its 260 million indigenous peoples, Signe Leth manages IWGIA’s programmes in Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar and India. Signe has a special focus on indigenous women’s rights and indigenous peoples’ land rights. After her education in Social Anthropology at the University of Aarhus, Signe lived in Cambodia for four years, where she studied the traditional judicial system and domestic violence among the Kreung. From several consultancies and stays abroad, Signe has developed excellent cross-cultural skills as well as various language skills. Signe is also the staff observer in IWGIA's board.

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