International Day to Focus on Implementing Rights of World’s Indigenous Peoples

6 August 2014
HR/5207-OBV/1361

International Day to Focus on Implementing Rights of World’s Indigenous Peoples

6 August 2014
Press Release
HR/5207 OBV/1361
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

International Day to Focus on Implementing Rights of World’s Indigenous Peoples

 

This year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (9 August) will highlight the importance of implementing the rights of indigenous peoples and marks the twentieth year of the global celebration.

“Together, let us recognize and celebrate the valuable and distinctive identities of indigenous peoples around the world,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  “Let us work even harder to empower them and support their aspirations.”

Under the theme of “Bridging the gap: implementing the rights of indigenous peoples”, a special event at United Nations Headquarters on 8 August in New York will feature remarks by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations; John Ashe, President of the General Assembly; Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of the Department for Economic and Social Affairs; Daniela Bas, Director of the Division for Social Policy and Development; and Edward John, Vice Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.  This will be followed by an interactive dialogue with Erik Laursen, Deputy Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations; Myrna Cunningham, Adviser for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples; and Alberto Brunori, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Guatemala.

Also on 8 August, a documentary film titled Guswenta: Renewing the Two Row Wampum will be screened.  The film tells the story of the Two Row Campaign which culminated in 2013 with over 200 indigenous and non-indigenous paddlers arriving in Manhattan after having collectively travelled hundreds of miles on rivers and horseback to honour the first treaty — the Two Row Wampum — concluded between Dutch immigrants and the Haudenosaunee (a confederacy of six nations, with its seat in the Onondaga Nation in New York State) in 1613.

There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in some 90 countries around the world who constitute 15 per cent of the world’s poor and about one third of the world’s 900 million extremely poor rural people.  Practicing unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, recognizes indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and their right to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and develop past, present and future manifestations of their culture in various forms.

About the International Day

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is commemorated annually on 9 August, in recognition of the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, held in Geneva in 1982.  The International Day was first proclaimed by the General Assembly in December 1994.

For journalists without UN press accreditation who wish to attend the United Nations event, please visit www.un.org/en/media/accreditation or call +1 212 963-6934 or +1 212 963-6937.

For media queries, including interviews with United Nations officials and indigenous representatives, please contact Aaron J. Buckley, United Nations Department of Public Information, at +1 212 963-4632 or buckleya@un.org.

To contact the Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, please contact Arturo Requesens, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, at requesens@un.org.

For more information on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, please visit www.un.org/en/events/indigenousdayor follow #IndigenousDay on Twitter.

Programme

Friday 8 August

3:00–6:00 p.m. Special event in commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples at United Nations Headquarters, Economic and Social Council Chamber, including the screening of the documentary film Guswenta: Renewing the Two Row Wampum by Gwendolen Cates.  The event will be webcast live at webtv.un.org.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.