10 AUGUST 2021
“Although some countries have begun to rectify their “heinous legacy” of discrimination against indigenous people, more action is still needed,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in his message on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August 2021.
Through the Global perspective Human stories, Secretary General recalled that more than 476 million indigenous living in some 90 countries worldwide, continue to face overwhelming marginalization, discrimination and exclusion.
On 13 September 2007, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly and established a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world.
The existing and future laws, policies and programmes on indigenous people will have to be redesigned to be consistent with the UN Declaration to protect, respect and fulfil human rights.
The Declaration recognises the urgent need to respect and promote the inherent rights that derive from their political, economic and social structures and their cultures, spiritual traditions, histories and philosophies.
Their rights to their lands, territories and resources are important.
The right to self-determination, right to a nationality and right to revitalize their histories, languages, literatures and other traditions are thoroughly enshrined in the various articles in the Declaration.
Article 19 specifically mentions that States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous people through their representative institutions before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.
“Throughout modern history, indigenous people have been robbed of their lands and territories, and much more. In some cases, they have been robbed of their own children. Some have also been stripped of political and economic autonomy, while their cultures and languages have been denigrated and extinguished”, UN Secretary-General briefed on the bitter history of the indigenous people throughout the world.
“On this International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, let us show true solidarity by working to end the grievous inequalities of indigenous people worldwide, to fully recognize the abuse they have endured, and to celebrate their knowledge and wisdom”, the Secretary-General reminded.
“Respect for the rights of indigenous peoples means ensuring equal and meaningful participation, full inclusion and empowerment”, Antonio Guterres tweeted.