Land and Cultural Survival The Communal Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Asia

Introduction - Jayantha Perera

Over 900 million people in the world are the poorest of the poor. At least one-third of them are indigenous peoples, and more than half of them live in Asia. Social indicators such as life expectancy, maternal mortality, nutrition, education, and health show that they are the poorest. They do not have sufficient land to gather or grow food or to raise livestock. They have few opportunities to learn new skills, obtain medical care, or improve their livelihood. They also find it difficult to influence national policies, laws, and institutions that could improve their life chances and shape their collective future. As a result, most indigenous peoples have been socially, politically, and economically marginalized, endangering their survival in a rapidly changing environment.

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