February 19, 2016 / 1:07 PM / 4 years ago

Fewer poor in Latin America but indigenous people still lag others: World Bank

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Latin America’s indigenous peoples have benefited less than other people from the region’s economic boom in the first decade of this century, according to researchers at the World Bank.

A guatemalan Mayan indegenous woman walks past saints images in Santiago Atitlan's church prior to a ceremony to pagan saint Maximon, October 29, 2000.

Their study found that more than 70 million indigenous people escaped poverty during the period thanks to economic growth and social policies.

Despite such progress indigenous people still represent 14 percent of the region’s poor and 17 percent of the extremely poor - while forming less than 8 percent of the population.

Jorge Familiar, the bank’s vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean, said governments needed to do more to ensure indigenous people had the same opportunities as others.

“If we want to achieve our goals of reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity, we need to fight discrimination and exclusion for all Latin Americans and ensure that all have the same opportunities to live a better life,” he said during the report’s launch earlier this week.

Poverty levels declined in countries like Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador but indigenous peoples still lag in access to basic services and the adoption of new technologies, the study found, based on census data in 16 countries and household surveys in nine.

To improve the situation, the authors suggest looking at indigenous issues through a different lens which takes into account indigenous people’s views and culture.

Nearly half of Latin America’s indigenous populations now live in cities, 36 percent of them living in insecure, unsanitary and polluted environments, the study found.



Reporting by Astrid Zweynert, editing by Tim Pearce. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories

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