Human rights are the basis of i2i’s work. We believe that all peoples contribute to the diversity and richness of civilizations and cultures, which constitute the common heritage of humankind. That indigenous peoples deserve the same rights and opportunities as non-indigenous peoples, and in the exercise of their rights, should be free from discrimination of any kind. We acknowledge that Indigenous peoples are the ancestors of the original population of their geographical country.
Their understanding of the land, water and wildlife is living in their cultural knowledge. Their culture and traditions hold great importance not only to their identity but to society as a whole.
I2i recognises the importance of international human rights treaties that promote the equality of all human beings, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). We use and promote the two primary treaties for Indigenous Peoples, ILO-169 and UN DRIP (see more information below). I2i also acknowledges that humans are diverse and therefore their rights are intersecting. That there are sectors of society who are more vulnerable to multiple forms of discrimination and therefore require a special focus. This includes Women and Girls (CEDAW), Children (CRC) and People with Disability (CRPD).
The International Labour Organisation created the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169). This is commonly known as ILO 169 and is the major binding international convention concerning indigenous peoples. It promotes the rights of indigenous people, particularly regarding maintaining their land, territory and recourses; preservation of cultural and religious sites; protection of cultural, social and political institutions; self-determination; and equal protection of the law. This Convention aligns with i2i’s values,
Recognising the aspirations of Indigenous and Tribal peoples to exercise control over their own institutions, ways of life and economic development and to maintain and develop their identities, languages and religions, within the framework of the States in which they live, and
Noting that in many parts of the world these peoples are unable to enjoy their fundamental human rights to the same degree as the rest of the population of the States within which they live and that their laws, values, customs and perspectives have often been eroded.
We make every effort to promote the use of ILO 169 in all States, whether or not they are party to the Convention. To i2i, economic participation is very important, as access to decent work enables indigenous women and men to harness their potential as change agents in poverty reduction, sustainable development and climate change action.
i2i embeds an understanding of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In all our work. This means that, among other things, i2i:
Considers indigenous peoples and individuals as free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their rights, in particular, that based on their indigenous origin or identity,
Is convinced that control by indigenous peoples over developments affecting them and their lands, territories and resources will enable them to maintain and strengthen their institutions, cultures and traditions, and to promote their development in accordance with their aspirations and needs
Recognises that respect for indigenous knowledge, cultures and traditional practices contributes to sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment,
The concept of intersectionality recognises people as not aligning solely with a single form of identification. Human beings are far more complex than this. We have intersecting identities, including gender, sex, culture, heritage, ability, age, race, marital status, religion, income, education, etc.
For example, this is not just a woman. She is a young, heterosexual, unmarried indigenous woman.
She lives in a rural area in the Wiradjuri country of Australia. She strongly follows her people’s culture and beliefs. She grew up in a low-income family, has completed secondary education, but continues to live on a low-income. She lost her foot in an accident when she was a child so wears a prosthetic foot for her disability.
I2i moves beyond single identities or group-specific concerns to generate more complete information about the people we work with. This intersectional perspective allows us to understand the origins, root causes and characteristics behind the social, political and economic issues facing indigenous peoples. We can recognise the diversity of human lives and engage the positive capabilities. Progress can only be achieved when all people are included. By engaging an intersectional lens, we leave no person behind. We consider the diverse requirements of the community and what is needed to increase the participation and empowerment of all members.