The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is observed on August 9 each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.

It was first pronounced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994, marking the day of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, in 1982.

Theme

The 2016 theme is "Indigenous Peoples' Right to Education". The theme puts a spotlight on the issue of indigenous peoples right to education, as education remains a critical challenge for indigenous peoples, Member States and the United Nations.

The right of indigenous peoples to education is protected by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which in Article 14 states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.”

In spite of these instruments, the right to education has not been fully realized for most indigenous peoples, and a critical education gap exists between indigenous peoples and the general population. Where data exist, they show consistent and persistent disparities between the indigenous and the non-indigenous population in terms of educational access, retention and achievement, in all regions of the world.

The education sector not only mirrors the historical abuses, discrimination and marginalization suffered by indigenous peoples, but also reflects their continued struggle for equality and respect for their rights as peoples and as individuals.

This document provides some background information on the topic.

History

The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples was first pronounced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994, to be celebrated every year during the first International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (1995–2004). In 2004, the Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade, from 2005–2015, with the theme of "A Decade for Action and Dignity".

People from different nations are encouraged to participate in observing the day to spread the UN’s message on indigenous peoples. Activities may include educational forums and classroom activities to gain an appreciation and a better understanding of indigenous peoples.

By resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World's Indigenous People shall be observed on 9 August every year during the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

More Info

Read the Human Rights Commission's  Intervention on the study on the right to health and Indigenous Peoples  at EMRIP 2016.