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August 9: International Day For Indigenous People Of The World

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

According to estimates, there are 370 million indigenous people in the world who live across 90 countries. These people 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 lesser-known languages and represent 5,000 different cultures and traditions.


The 2018 celebration of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples marks the 11th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This Declaration is the most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous people and embodies global consensus on the rights of indigenous peoples. It also seeks to establish a global framework of minimum standards for their survival, dignity and well-being. Furthermore, the declaration also elaborates on the existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms that apply to the peculiar situation of the indigenous peoples.

The implementation of the Declaration at various fronts has achieved some noteworthy successes at the national, regional and international levels in the last decade. However, there still continues to be a gap between the formal recognition of indigenous peoples and the implementation as well as execution of policies on ground. Due to this very reason, indigenous peoples continue to face exclusion, prejudice, marginalization and major challenges which prevent them from enjoying their basic rights.

The theme of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2018 is ‘Indigenous peoples’ migration and movement’.

With the scope of better opportunities and future in cities, the Indigenous peoples are also becoming a part of urbanization. Leaving behind their culture, they are migrating to urban areas in order to seek better life prospects in terms of education and employment and living standards. Wars, conflict, natural disasters, climate change also are a major force behind the large-scale migration of these groups.

Also Read: National Handloom Day: A Celebration Of Indian Handloom And Weaves

This year’s theme will look for the causes and solutions of migration, trans-border movement and displacement of indigenous population. A special emphasis will be on the vulnerable people living across international borders.

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