International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples: 9 August 2017

Wed 09/08/17

There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They make up less than 5 per cent of the world's population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world's estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, which takes place every year on 9 August, was proclaimed by the General Assembly in December 1994. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

The 2016 celebrations were based around the theme of "Indigenous Peoples' Right to Education." 

This year's celebration of International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples marks the 10th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The Declaration is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples. It embodies global consensus on the rights of indigenous peoples and establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for their survival, dignity and well-being. It elaborates on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms, as they apply to the specific situation of indigenous peoples.

Over the last decade, the implementation of the Declaration has achieved some major successes in at the national, regional and international levels. Despite the achievements, there continues to be a gap between the formal recognition of indigenous peoples and the implementation of policies on the ground. As a result, indigenous peoples continue to face exclusion, marginalization and major challenges in enjoying their basic rights.

To follow the event online, check out #WeAreIndigenous and @UN4Indigenous

Photo courtesy of Flickr/US Mission Geneva