Saturday, November 10, 2018

Ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples: marginalization is the norm

 Indigenous peoples and members of ethnic or racial minorities are generally at higher risk of poverty than the rest of the population. They also face substantial disadvantages in access to health care, education and employment. Members of these groups often live in rural and remote areas that lack adequate infrastructure and services. In cities, living in areas of concentrated poverty contributes to their marginalization.

 Due to labour market disadvantages, members of ethnic minorities tend to be inadequately covered by contributory schemes. In response, many countries have increased tax-financed social protection in recent years, to the benefit of minorities. For example, a significant proportion of indigenous peoples receive conditional cash transfers, primarily in Latin America. These have had some positive effects on school enrolment and even on the educational attainment of indigenous and minority children. But the long-term impact is questionable, since the services rendered are often of poor quality. Data on health impacts are also mixed. Evidence presented in chapter VII suggests that these schemes have had a negligible effect on income inequality, at least so far. In many cases, the size of transfers is too small to make a significant difference.

Whether social protection programmes benefit indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities depends on how well they address the needs of these groups and the challenges they face. These include geographic isolation, inadequate infrastructure, lack of information in local languages and discrimination. Intercultural dialogue and the participation of indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities in the design and implementation of social protection measures can help overcome these barriers

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