In this section:
Setting standards and guidelines
Strengthening representative institutions
Promoting inclusive parliaments
  FAQ on minority representation
Promoting and defending human rights
Partnership between men and women
Promoting knowledge of parliaments
International Day of Democracy
Global Parliamentary Report
Guide on parliament and democracy
Key documents
Related sections:
Cooperation with the UN
Peace and security
Sustainable development
What is the IPU?


  Promoting inclusive parliaments:
  The representation of minorities
  and indigenous peoples in parliament

Chiapas. Photo: M. Taft-Morales/USAID 2007

An International Parliamentary Conference entitled Parliaments, minorities and indigenous peoples: Effective participation in politics will take place in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas (Mexico), from 31 October to 3 November 2010.

Detailed information about the Conference is available on this website.

One of the criteria for a democratic parliament is that it should reflect the social diversity of the population in terms of gender, language, religion, ethnicity, or other politically significant characteristics. A parliament which is unrepresentative in this sense will leave some social groups and communities feeling disadvantaged in the political process or even excluded altogether, with consequences for the quality of public life or the stability of the political system and society in general. More inclusive parliaments strengthen democracy, promote integration within society and prevent conflict.

Download the questionnaire
in English, French or Spanish.
A new project aims to understand and promote the effective representation of minorities and indigenous peoples in parliament. It is a joint activity of IPU and the United Nations Development Programme. The project is guided by an Advisory Group of parliamentarians and experts, and is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency.

The project covers minorities and indigenous peoples, which often have a similar experience of exclusion from power. The project's approach to the definition of "minorities" and "indigenous peoples" is the first in the series of Frequently Asked Questions about the representation of minorities and indigenous peoples.

The project has three main objectives:
red cubeIncrease knowledge on the representation of minorities and indigenous peoples in parliament.. Knowledge on the number and impact of minority and indigenous parliamentarians and how parliaments interact with minority and indigenous groups is limited. To fill this gap, a questionnaire will survey parliaments, parties and individual parliamentarians. The questionnaire will be complemented by interviews and case studies. The findings will be published on a dedicated web site in the third quarter of 2009.
red cubeProvide tools for parliaments and other stakeholders on promoting inclusive parliaments. Based on the analysis of the data collected and a series of regional seminars, good practices will be identified and shared from a regional perspective. Tools will be developed to help parliaments assess and enhance their inclusiveness.
red cubeBuild capacity to advocate for more inclusive parliaments. Drawing on IPU's experience in promoting the participation of women in political life, a series of advocacy activities will target parliaments, policy makers, politicians, international organizations and non-governmental organizations. An international conference in 2010 will tie together the preceding project activities and set directions for future work on the political participation of minorities and indigenous peoples.
Project documents can be accessed in the Resources section.

Download the questionnaire for parliaments, parties and individual parliamentarians in English, French and Spanish.

To receive periodic updates on the development of the project, please enter your e-mail address:

Your name:Minorities
Language:English    French

For further information about this project, please use the feedback form to contact Mr. Andy Richardson (IPU) or Ms. Diane Sheinberg (UNDP).