Economic Exclusion and Discrimination: The Experiences of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples

Issues papers |

A4, 32pp, ISBN 1 904584 09 8 

This issues paper aims to evaluate the link between economic exclusion and discrimination against ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples.

Non-discrimination is one of the most fundamental human rights, recognized in international law and most national constitutions, yet discrimination against minorities persists. This implies huge costs both for individuals and communities that are discriminated against, and for society in general.

Although, as the authors of this paper point out, there are difficulties over definitions and data limitations, there is evidence to show that – across diverse regions – minorities and indigenous peoples experience higher levels of poverty, less access to education, health care and basic services, and have fewer employment opportunities than the general population. Hence minorities and indigenous peoples are more likely to suffer economic – and social and political – exclusion than other groups.

The relationship between discrimination and poverty is not well understood by development actors. This paper argues that discrimination is an important element in economic exclusion and that it must be addressed in order to establish sustainable development.

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