Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, called on governments and civil society to reinvigorate their commitment to indigenous peoples during the celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.. “They must work together to promote and protect the human rights, the unique culture traditions, and their languages and history”, he said.
“Indigenous peoples’ issues have become more prominent on the international agenda than ever before,” Mr Ban added. He reminded participants that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the General Assembly in 2007, “lays out a framework for Governments to use in strengthening relationships with indigenous peoples and protecting their human rights.”
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is celebrated each year on 9 August. This year’s observance at UN Headquarters in New York focused on indigenous filmmaking and was organized by the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in cooperation with the NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The event featured four short films by indigenous film makers from Sweden, Alaska, Russia and the Caribbean.
Under Secretary General Mr. Sha Zukang reminded the gathering that by honouring indigenous filmmakers, we honour “their exceptional work in raising awareness about the culture, history and everyday life of indigenous people….Their work enriches our minds, our societies and the lives of future generations”.
In a statement read by Assistant-Secretary-General Mr. Jomo, the Chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Carlos Mamari recognized that there is “greater demand for indigenous stories from international audiences and more films written and produced by indigenous film makers throughout the world”. He explained that “the motivation behind their involvement in filmmaking, video production and television transmission can be seen as basic issues of self determination and cultural maintenance” and the right to practice and revitalise their traditions and customs.