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International migration and indigenous peoples in Latin America: old issues, emerging problems and the need for a multinational approach in migration policies

Ana María Oyarce, CEPAL
Fabiana Del Popolo, CEPAL
Jorge Martínez, CELADE

Latin America is a pluri-ethnic region with over 670 indigenous peoples currently recognized by its States. They are highly diverse, but their common denominator is the structural discrimination they suffer in the form of exclusion and poverty. In this context, indigenous international migration is becoming more significant, mainly because of the particular traits of indigenous migrants and the policy implications as regards human rights. Migration is directly linked to land, natural resources, territories and territoriality, which have a dual dimension: as a cultural and ethnic “anchoring” factor; and as a factor in expulsion, owing to impoverishment and growing pressure on indigenous lands and resources. Since this is a multi-ethnic process, new concepts need to be developed to: distinguish international migration in the true sense from the indigenous people’s ancestral territorial mobility; and, incorporate these issues in regional and national agendas about international migration under a human rights perspective.

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Presented in Session 114: International Migration