Native People

On the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the UN warns about the vulnerability of native populations around the globe.

Native Americans, Indiana
Native Americans, Indiana

Forty UN agencies and other international organizations made a joint statement today, raising awareness on the critical situation of native populations on the 10th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Despite acknowledging the progress that has been made in terms of their formal recognition in several countries, the UN alerts that they continue to face discrimination, marginalization and lack of basic rights.

Indigenous Raramuris from Mexico
Indigenous Raramuris from Mexico

“While indigenous peoples have made significant advancements in advocating for their rights in international and regional fora, implementation of the Declaration is impeded by persisting vulnerability and exclusion, particularly among indigenous women, children, youth and persons with disabilities,” said the joint statement.

There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in some 90 countries around the world. Practising unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics, bringing diversity and richness to the societies in which they live.

Indigenous people from Brazil
Indigenous people from Brazil

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, from 13 September 2007, defends minimum standards for the well-being, survival and dignity of indigenous peoples. The document established their rights to self-determination, traditional lands, territories and resources, education, culture, health and development. The declaration took more than 20 years to negotiate and is a benchmark of rights and reconciliation. However, many challenges remain – violence and rights violations are, in some countries, more common now than decades ago.

Indigenous experts from Canada, Congo, Ecuador and Namibia will discuss the issue at a special event at UN Headquarters in New York, on Wednesday, 9 August, International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. UN offices around the world are also celebrating the day with special events and activities, including in Australia, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. In order to raise awareness and promote the anniversary on social media, the UN created a branded emoji for the hashtags #WeAreIndigenous and #IndigenousDay, that will be live from 8 August to 15 September on Twitter.

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