Decision Rules for Ranking Multiculturalism Policies for Indigenous Peoples

In evaluating multiculturalism policies related to indigenous peoples, this document uses nine indicators. These are described briefly below. For each indicator, policy documents, program guidelines, legislation, and government news releases were examined to assess the extent to which a country has met or exceeded the standard outlined in the indicator. Where official government documents were not available, secondary sources and other academic research have been used.

For each indicator, a qualitative assessment is provided along with the relevant evidence. A response of “yes” indicates that the country has met or exceeded the standard outlined in the indicator, a response of “no” indicates that the country has not met this indicator, while a response of “partial” indicates that the country has made some progress in this area.

  1. Recognition of land rights/title
    Yes: Country has recognized the indigenous peoples’ rights and/or title to lands in statutory instruments (i.e., constitutions, legislation, proclamations, treaties, court decisions).
    Partial: Country has policy related to indigenous land usage rights/privileges, but without legislative base; or, country has policy of, or legislated, usufructuary rights of indigenous peoples to land under the state’s authority.
    No: Country has not recognized land rights/title of indigenous peoples.
  2. Recognition of self-government rights
    Yes: Self-government rights have been recognized in law.
    Partial: Indigenous peoples enjoy limited rights or privileges of governance over matters affecting them.
    No: Country has not affirmed rights of self-government for indigenous peoples.
  3. Upholding historic treaties and/or signing new treaties
    Yes: The state has entered into at least one treaty, historic or modern/contemporary, with the indigenous peoples. The treaty(ies) must be duly recognized by state authorities as binding.
    No: No treaties exist.
  4. Recognition of cultural rights (language, hunting/fishing, religion)
    Yes: Country recognizes the cultural rights specific to the indigenous population in statutory instruments in two or more cultural domains.
    Partial: Only cultural rights from one domain, such as language, have been recognized in law or policy; and/or country permits the indigenous population to enjoy or engage in an extensive range of cultural activities as a matter of policy, not law.
    No: Country does not recognize the cultural rights of the indigenous population.
    Note:    In an earlier version of the Index, the presence (or absence) of Sunday-closing legislation was evaluated as part of this indictor. Although a number of countries were found to have provisions that allow shops to open and close on days of their choosing, it was often not clear whether such policies were a response to multiculturalism, or other – often economic – considerations. As such, this measure has been excluded from this version of the index.
  5. Recognition of customary law
    Yes: The customary law of indigenous peoples has been recognized by the state in law or court rulings.
    Partial: A limited scope of traditional legal customs still in practice within indigenous societies is permitted by the state.
    No: Country does not recognize the customary legal traditions of the indigenous peoples.
  6. Guarantees of representation/consultation in the centre government
    Yes: Legislation guarantees representation of indigenous peoples in central government; and/or countries have statutory obligation to consult with indigenous peoples.
    Partial: Indigenous peoples have representative bodies that are subordinate to the national government; and/or indigenous groups are consulted, as a matter of policy, on issues that affect them.
    No: Indigenous peoples have no guarantee of representation/consultation in either law or policy. The existence of departments/ministries of the central government which are mandated to address indigenous peoples/issues do not qualify as representation/consultation. Historically, government ministries of indigenous affairs have often been a mechanism for non-indigenous political leaders to impose decisions on indigenous peoples, rather than a mechanism for indigenous peoples to affect the decisions of central governments. This indicator is concerned with the latter, and hence is intended to measure the extent to which indigenous peoples can speak for themselves and participate effectively in decision-making processes of the central government.
  7. Constitutional or legislative affirmation of the distinct status of indigenous peoples
    Yes: The constitution or legislation recognizes and affirms a group as indigenous.
    Partial: The distinct status of indigenous peoples is affirmed in other policy/legal instruments.
    No: The constitution does not affirm the distinct status of indigenous peoples, and no domestic legislative instruments or policies exist to this effect.
  8. Support/ratification for international instruments on indigenous rights
    Yes: Country has signed and ratified ILO Convention 169 Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989.
    Partial: Country has not supported or ratified ILO Convention 169 but has voted for, or later endorsed/supported the non-binding United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples..
    No: Country has not supported or ratified any international instruments on indigenous rights.
  9. Affirmative action
    Yes: Country has an affirmative action policy that targets members of the indigenous population; this may be in the public or private sector, or both. Initiatives will extend beyond human rights policies and include targeted action aimed at removing barriers or more positive action measures such as quotas or preferential hiring.
    Partial: Country does not have a statutory base for affirmative action; however, initiatives exist in policy, extending beyond human rights, which include targeted action at removing barriers or more positive action measures such as quotas or preferential hiring in either the public or private sector.
    No: Country has no affirmative action policy for indigenous peoples.