Human rights defenders protecting their communities' rights to land – many of them indigenous leaders themselves – face threats from governmental, non-governmental, and corporate bodies, including defamation, physical attacks, judicial harassment, and killings.
Numerous international laws and convention affirm the rights of indigenous peoples to their land, including: the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the 1989 Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention ("ILO 169"), the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the American Convention on Human Rights.
Land rights, often tied to indigenous rights, are the rights of individuals and collectives of people to land. Land rights are central to other rights, including self-determination, freedom of religion, economic, social and cultural rights. In addition to the importance of land to the identity of a community, many indigenous peoples depend on the natural resources of their lands for survival.