Things you need to know Vol 26, No. 04 - April 2022

4 indigenous causes to look out for this month

Every year, thousands of indigenous representatives gather for the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. This is one of the main venues to address the challenges facing the world’s more than 476 million indigenous peoples. From poverty and health issues to human rights and land rights violations, the hazards they face are many. Ahead of this year’s Forum, here are 4 things you need to know.   

1. Indigenous languages are at risk of extinction 

It is estimated that every two weeks, a language dies with its last speaker. Out of the world’s 7,000 languages, around 4,000 are indigenous and at risk of extinction. They are passed down from one generation to another, but they are often not used at school or in the public sphere. The loss of any language means the loss of culture, history and identity. The International Decade of Indigenous Languages 2022-2032 aims to put a stop to this trend and instead preserve, revitalize and promote indigenous languages. See how you can take part!

2. Indigenous resources are capitalized without consent 

Business or individuals often profit from the exploitation of natural resources. In many cases, these resources are within the lands and territories of indigenous peoples. The extraction of these resources comes at the expense of these communities exacerbating environmental destruction and climate change. When indigenous communities resist, they frequently face severe risks, such as attacks on indigenous leaders and rights defenders. Follow this year’s Forum to learn what must be done to change this.

3. Free, prior and informed consent are guiding principles 

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted on 13 September 2007. It is the most comprehensive international instrument to protect the rights of indigenous peoples. It requires the consultation and cooperation in good faith with indigenous peoples to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting legislative or administrative measures that may affect them. Governments, institutions and business should always make sure that decisions and actions they take do not violate indigenous peoples’ rights. To gain further knowledge about this issue, browse this site.

4. The 2022 session of the Permanent Forum brings actors together

This year’s Permanent Forum, taking place on 25 April-6 May 2022, will focus on business, autonomy and the human rights principles of due diligence including free, prior and informed consent. It will also continue to promote indigenous languages over the next decade and beyond. Follow the event live via UN Web TV and engage via social media following @UN4Indigenous and @UNDESASocial on Twitter and using the hashtags #UNPFII and #WeAreIndigenous!

For more information: 21st session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 

Photo credit: Mapu Huni Kuin in Times Square/Ivan Sawyer

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