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August 9 is commemorated as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in recognition of the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations in Geneva in 1982.

Why is this Day Celebrated?

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.Indigenous peoples today, are arguably among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of people in the world.

Who are Indigenous People?

Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. They have retained social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.

2018 Theme: Indigenous peoples’ migration and movement

The 2018 theme will focus on the current situation of indigenous territories, the root causes of migration, trans-border movement and displacement, with a specific focus on indigenous peoples living in urban areas and across international borders. The observance will explore the challenges and ways forward to revitalize indigenous peoples’ identities and encourage the protection of their rights in or outside their traditional territories.

  • The UN General Assembly proclaimed 1993 the International Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
  • The General Assembly established two International Decades of the World’s Indigenous Peoples: the first 1995 – 2004 , and the second 2005 – 2014.
  • The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a Resolution  on ‘Rights of Indigenous Peoples’, proclaiming 2019 as the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

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