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Toronto, Aug 9 (Canadian-Media): On International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples being observed today marking the 10th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we should take the opportunity to honour the rights of indigenous peoples and their contributions.
International day of World's indigenous people. image credit: un.org
he International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, which takes place every year on 9 August, was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1994.
“The Declaration, which took more than twenty years to negotiate, stands today as a beacon of progress, a framework for reconciliation and a benchmark of rights," Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Ms. Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, the Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples said in a joint statement on the day. “But a decade on, we need to acknowledge the vast challenges that remain. In too many cases, indigenous peoples are now facing even greater struggles and rights violations than they did ten years ago,” they added.
David Zimmer, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, issued the following statement today to mark International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples:
"There are an estimated 370 million Indigenous people living around the world, across 90 countries. Today, on International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, we celebrate the traditions, contributions and cultural diversity of those communities, including the hundreds of thousands of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living in Ontario.
As in many parts of the world, Indigenous people in this province have faced historic hardships and culturally-destructive colonial policies. The effects of those policies can still be felt today.
Despite this, Indigenous people have shown strength, courage and resilience, inspiring change as they fight for a more inclusive and just society.
As Ontario celebrates its 10th anniversary of having a ministry dedicated to working with Indigenous people, we are reminded that we must continue to do better to understand Indigenous experiences and perspectives, and take action to create lasting change both here in Ontario and around the world."
Despite the achievements over the last decade since the implementation of the Declaration indigenous peoples continue to face discrimination and major challenges in their basic rights. “While indigenous peoples have made significant advancements in advocating for their rights in international and regional fora,” more than 40 United Nations system entities and other international organizations said in a joint statement, “implementation of the Declaration is impeded by persisting vulnerability and exclusion, particularly among indigenous women, children, youth and persons with disabilities.”
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s latest Global Education Monitoring Report provides guidance and policy advice for the advancement of indigenous peoples’ rights.
UNESCO had also launched the Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems (LINKS) programme in 2002 to support governments to collaborate between scientific and indigenous peoples’ knowledge.
This has been promoted through a policy brief on “Indigenous and Local Knowledge(s) and Science(s) for Sustainable Development” issued by The Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of the UN Secretary-General.
UN information centres around the world are marking the day with various events and activities.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)