International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2018

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.

Each year this day is celebrated around the world. A commemorative event is also organized at the United Nations Headquarters in New York by the Indigenous Peoples and Development Branch – Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which brings together indigenous peoples’ organizations, UN agencies, Member States, civil society, academia and the general public.

The observance of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples took place on Thursday 9 August 2018 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm in the ECOSOC Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. This year’s theme was “Indigenous peoples’ migration and movement”.

The event included a panel discussion 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 panel also examined the challenges and ways forward to revitalize indigenous peoples’ identities and encourage the protection of their rights in or outside their traditional territories.

After the panel there was a Q&A segment where participants made comments and/or asked questions from the floor.

The programme, concept note and key messages of the event can be found below.


Commemorative event

Press conference



UN Photo

Shortened link of our event website

Guest speaker

Source: Revista Ellas

Rosa Iveth Montezuma Montero is from the community of Alto Caballero, Comarca Ngäbe-Buglé, Panama. She studied Food Science and Technology at the Autonomous University of Chiriquí and is currently pursuing a career in education. From an early age she has been involved in activites of cultural expression in her community. She has participated in several cultural groups, including “Bakaibo Sobrebo” and as part of the organizing team of the “Munä Region” children camp, which fosters leadership, values and educational motivation to the children and youth of her community. In October of the 2017, she won the beauty pageant of the Interuniversity Festival of the Ngäbe-Buglé Culture “Meri bä nuäre” and in June 2018 she was crowned Miss Panama 2018.


  • Video – Message from Ms. Rosa Montezuma, Miss Panama 2018, on indigenous peoples’ migration and movement |ES| (this video is also available on UN Web TV)
  • Video – Statement from Ms. Rosa Montezuma, Miss Panama 2018, delivered at the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples commemorative event |EN|


Source: Amy Juan

Amy R. Juan is from the Tohono O’odham (Desert People) Nation of Southwest Arizona. She graduated from Tohono O’odham Community College and helped establish its Borderland Studies Program, which promotes local and indigenous based citizens on science and research of the impacts of Border Policy on O’odham lands and people. She is a founding member of the Tohono O’odham Hemajkam Rights Network, a grassroots collective advocating for O’odham rights and freedom of movement across borders, end to militarization of border communities and protection of O’odham lands and members in Mexico. She is a member of the Indigenous Food Knowledge Network Steering Committee, and Advisor for the I’iolgam Youth Alliance. She is also the CEO of Sovereign Remedies, which specializes in trainings for restorative justice practices, traditional O’odham food and medicine education and youth led organization and leadership. Amy currently works for the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC)


  • *Statement from Ms. Amy Juan delivered at the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples commemorative event |EN|
  • Interview with ONU Noticias – Una frontera inventada que corta a un pueblo ancestral |ES|

Source: ISAP 2015

Prasert Trakansuphakon, of Karen origin, is a specialist on Indigenous Studies in Thailand and South East Asia. He holds a PhD in Sociology and has extensive expertise, both in the academic world and in civil society, as researcher and senior indigenous NGO activist. He is the author of many articles on local knowledge and traditional modes of subsistence and has held numerous honor positions in various organizations at the national and international levels since 1990’s. He served as the Director of the Regional Indigenous Knowledge and Peoples in Mainland SEA (IKAP) for many years, and is the current Chairperson of Pgakenyaw (Karen) for Sustainable Development (PASD), Chairperson of Inter Mountain Peoples Education and Culture in Thailand (IMPECT) and part of the Advisory Board Committee of the Asia Indigenous People Pact Foundation (AIPP).

  • *Statement from Mr. Prasert Trakansuphakon delivered at the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples commemorative event |EN|
  • Interview with UN News – Karen women of Thailand call the shots as traditional farming comes under strain |EN|

Source: UN

Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine is a Tuareg medical doctor from Tombouctou, Mali and current Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She holds a medical degree from the University of Tizi-Ouzou (Algeria) and a Masters in Humanitarian Action from the University of Geneva, focusing on interventions in crisis: armed conflict, marginalization/exclusion and natural disasters. Mariam is a member of Tin Hinan, a women association working for the defense, promotion and development of indigenous peoples in Africa, in particular the Tuareg. Mariam has been a very active member of this organization and has worked on many issues related to health such as nutrition, malaria prevention, and education on sexual and reproductive health among the Tuareg. She has participated, several times, in trainings on ILO Convention 169 and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP). She has also volunteered with African NGOs for advocacy on human rights at the regular sessions of the UN Human Rights Council and in the Universal Periodic Review in Africa. In addition, she is an independent consultant on gender issues, health, and conflict resolution/peace agreements in indigenous communities.

  • *Statement from Ms. Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine delivered at the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples commemorative event |FR|

Source: Facebook

Toa Elisa Maldonado Ruiz, Kichwa indigenous woman from Otavalo, Ecuador. Sociologist with mention in Development (PUCE- Ecuador); Master in Social Anthropology (CIESAS – México); and Master candidate in Culture Studies at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, Ecuador. Her research work has focused on youth, transnational migration, trade networks, identity and intra-ethnic tensions of the Kichwa people of Otavalo. Her occupational experience include designing public policies and projects focused on indigenous peoples, collective rights, rights of youth, the rights of Nature and Environment, educational processes, conflict resolution, director and manager of intercultural projects and, protection and guardianship of the rights of Ecuadorian citizens in the context of migration in Central America.


  • *Statement from Ms. Toa Maldonado delivered at the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples commemorative event |ES|

Source: Oldways

Carlos Yescas is a researcher, entrepreneur, and food advocate. Mr. Yescas has worked with food producers in Latin America, Europe, and the United States for over fifteen years and is recognized as the Latin American leading expert working with rural and artisan cheese producers. As a researcher, he explores questions of collective rights and communal knowledge. He focuses on Latin American food politics, heritage, and denominations of origin/geographical indications regimes. He has published on such varied topics as migration, indigenous peoples, race/ethnicity & transnational affiliation, and most recently food policy and heritage. He is the author of Indigenous Routes: A Framework for Understanding Indigenous Migration (Geneva: International Organization for Migration 2008) and co-author of Mexican Consular Diplomacy and Indigenous Migration: A Pending Agenda (101 Revista Mexicana de Política Exterior 2014).


  • *Statement from Mr. Carlos Yescas delivered at the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples commemorative event |ES|

* The views and opinions expressed in these statements are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent official policy or positions of the Indigenous Peoples and Development Branch – Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues/DSPD/DESA.

Short summary of proceedings

The commemoration of the 2018 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples opened with a ceremonial call to order by Chief Tadodaho Sidney Hill (Onondaga Nation, USA). DESA USG, Mr. Zhenmin Liu, delivered opening remarks at the high level segment, followed by the Chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Ms. Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, who presented the joint statement of the UN mechanisms concerning indigenous peoples, and the Permanent Representative from the Mission of El Salvador to the UN, H.E. Mr Rubén Armando Escalante Hasbún.

Ms. Rosa Montezuma, the first young indigenous woman to hold the title of “Miss Panama 2018” also spoke at the event, emphasizing that indigenous women are capable, talented, professional and determined to fight for their culture, identity and rights.

Expert panelists from the USA (Amy Juan), Thailand (Prasert Trakansuphakon), Mali (PFII Chair Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine), Ecuador (Toa Elisa Maldonado Ruiz) and Mexico (Carlos Yescas) elaborated on the root causes of migration (displacement, loss of ancestral lands, environmental degradation and climate change, development projects etc.), and the challenges as well as opportunities this presents.

This was followed by an interactive discussion with comments from Mexico, the International Organization for Migration, Ecuador and others who highlighted the importance of recognizing the causes of migration, continuing dialogue at the international level and creating appropriate and non-discriminatory policies. There was a call for continued protection of the rights and identities of indigenous peoples in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.  The event was well attended by indigenous peoples, Member States, UN agencies, civil society and academics.

Press Conference

As part of the commemoration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the Indigenous Peoples and Development Branch – Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, together with the Department of Public Information, organized a  press conference on 9 August 2018 at 1 pm, on the theme of the day – “Indigenous Peoples’ Migration and Movement”. Speakers (Ms. Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, Mr. Prasert Trakansuphakon and Ms. Amy Juan) highlighted the situation, causes, challenges and opportunities of indigenous peoples’ migration and trans-border movement, and discussed ways forward to promote and protect their rights in those contexts.



Messages and statements from across the United Nation system and others on the occasion of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 

  • Message from the Secretary-General of the United Nations |ARENESFRRUZH|
  • Joint statement from the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples |EN|
  • Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Peoples’ Issues |EN| ES|
  • Message from Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO |EN|
  • Message of the Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Dr. Cristiana Pașca Palmer |EN|
  • Mensaje del Fondo para el Desarrollo de los Pueblos Indígenas de América Latina y El Caribe |ES|
  • Message from UN Women |EN|
  • Message from Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization |AR| EN| ES| FR| RU| ZH|
  • Message from José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO |EN| Video|

UN Press release on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 

In Observing International Day, United Nations Draws Attention to Migration, Trans-Border Movement of Indigenous Peoples |ENES| FR|

Expert Voices Newsletter: The Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the challenges and opportunities for indigenous peoples on the move

“While most indigenous peoples prefer to remain in their traditional territories, there are those who migrate to the urban areas or outside of their countries. Some key factors which lead them to migrate are economic (the quest for jobs) and political, including forced displacements, militarization of their communities, criminalization of their livelihoods, disasters and calamities which destroy their lands, among others. The main threats they face…”


Video on the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Social media accounts



International day hashtags

English: #WeAreIndigenous #IndigenousDay #IndigenousPeoplesDay #UNDRIP #ForMigration

French: #autochtones

Spanish: #SomosIndígenas #PueblosIndígenas #DíaPueblosIndígenas #SoyIndígena #DIPI2018

Twitter emoji

Twitter activated an emoji for the 2018 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. It features the UN branding for indigenous issues and will be live from 7 August (7 pm NY time) through 17 September, covering the 11th anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on 13 September. It was launched on @UN4Indigenous at 7pm on 7 August.

The following ten hashtags will trigger the emoji – please use them!

#WeAreIndigenous | #IndigenousDay | #IndigenousPeoplesDay | #UNDRIP | #SomosIndígenas | #PueblosIndígenas | #DíaPueblosIndígenas | #SoyIndígena | #DIPI2018 | #autochtones |

Twitter moment


International day logo (in languages)

| English | French | Spanish | Russian | Chinese | Arabic | PortugueseKiswahili |

The Social Media Advisory for the International Day can be found here

For all UN outreach and social media materials related to indigenous peoples, visit our trello board here:


  • Final draft “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” (July 2018) |EN|
  • A/RES/71/1 “New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants” (October 2016)
  • Study “E/C.19/2015/9 Cross-border issues, including recognition of the right of indigenous peoples to trade in goods and services across borders and militarized areas by Megan Davis” (2015)
  • Report “Urban Indigenous Peoples and Migration; A Review of Policies, Programmes and Practices” (2010) |EN|
  • Book “Indigenous Routes: A Framework for Understanding Indigenous Migration” (Geneva: IOM, 2008) |EN|
  • Report “Expert Workshop on Indigenous Peoples and Migration: Challenges and Opportunities” (May 2006) |EN|
  • Working Paper “Indigenous Latin America in the twenty-first century : the first decade” (World Bank Group, 2015) |EN|ES|PT|
  • Toolkit “Documenting Traditional Knowledge – A Toolkit” (WIPO, 2017) |EN|ES|AR|ZH|RU|
  • Book “Guide to Intellectual Property Issues in Access and Benefit-sharing Agreements” (WIPO, 2018) |EN|
  • Book “Protect and Promote Your Culture : A Practical Guide to Intellectual Property for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities” (WIPO, 2017) |EN|FR|ES|AR|ZH|RU|
  • IOM Migration Data Portal |EN|
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous of Indigenous Peoples | in 60 languages |
  • Fact Sheet “Urban Indigenous Peoples and Migration” (2008) |EN|
  • Newsletter “Challenges and opportunities for indigenous peoples on the move” (August 2018) |EN|
  • Article “States must act now to protect indigenous peoples during migration” (August 2018) |EN|
  • Article “Migration nightmare for an indigenous woman in Mexico” (August 2018) |EN|
  • Article “Una frontera inventada que corta a un pueblo ancestral” (August 2018) |ES|
  • Article “Land loss threatens indigenous communities worldwide” (August 2018) |EN|
  • Article “World Day for Indigenous Peoples”  (August 2018) |EN|
  • Article “Factbox: Indigenous people fighting for land rights” (August 2018) |EN|
  • Article “Indigenous Peoples Day: What can be done to save dying languages?” (August 2018) |EN|
  • Article “A violet chair to give indigenous women a seat at the table” (August 2018) |EN|
  • Article “Forced displacement of indigenous people must stop” |EN| (August 2018)
  • Article “World’s Indigenous People More Exposed to Violations” |EN| (August 2018)
  • Article “UN underscores the need to celebrate indigenous peoples, not confine them” (August 2018) |EN|
  • Article “UN urges protection of indigenous peoples’ rights during migration” (August 2018)|EN|
  • Article “Urban Indigenous Peoples: the new frontier” (June 2017) |EN|
  • Article “Indigenous Migrants Celebrate their Culture, Make Visible the Challenges” (November 2008) |ENESFR|
  • Article “Costa Rica, Panama Open Information Hubs for Migrants at Paso Canoas Border” (May 2015) |ENESFR|


  • Videos from the UN on indigenous peoples |EN|

Global Compact for Migration

The global compact for migration will be the first, inter-governmentally negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

In the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, adopted in September 2016, the General Assembly decided to develop a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. The process to develop this global compact for migration started in April 2017. The General Assembly will then hold an intergovernmental conference on international migration in 2018 with a view to adopting the global compact.

For mor information visit the compact’s website

Global Migration Group 

The Global Migration Group (GMG) is an inter-agency group bringing together heads of agencies to promote the wider application of all relevant international and regional instruments and norms relating to migration, and to encourage the adoption of more coherent, comprehensive and better coordinated approaches to the issue of international migration. The GMG is particularly concerned with improving the overall effectiveness of its members and other stakeholders in capitalizing upon the opportunities and responding to the challenges presented by international migration.

For more information please visit the group’s website at

Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean

The third session of the Regional Conference on Population and Development in Latin America and the Caribbean will be held in Lima, Peru, from 7 to 9 August 2018.  The meeting will explore the situation of migrants, indigenous peoples, the aging population, reproductive health, among other topics.

For more information visit

More information

For additional resources on the observance of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations please visit:

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