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International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

August 9, 2022

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is observed annually on 9 August and demands for indigenous peoples’ inclusion, participation, and approval in the constitution of a system with social and economic benefits for all. Indigenous peoples make up less than 5 percent of the world's population and they are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment.

There are an estimated 476 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries, they speak 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures. Despite their cultural differences, indigenous peoples from around the world share common problems related to the protection of their rights as distinct people. Their territories are home to 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity and they can teach us much about how to rebalance our relationship with nature and reduce the risk of future pandemics.

The theme for this year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is ‘The Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge’. Indigenous women are the backbone of indigenous peoples’ communities and play a crucial role in the preservation and transmission of traditional ancestral knowledge around the environment, traditional medicines, food systems, preservation of language and cultural heritage. The Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) highlighted some of the major issues encountered by indigenous women, particularly noting the high levels of poverty, low levels of education and illiteracy, limitations in access to health, basic sanitation, credit and employment, limited participation in political life, and the prevalence of domestic and sexual violence.

We, at the World Assembly of Youth (WAY), believe that by giving equal access to opportunities and support as well as enabling environment where indigenous peoples are empowered, they will be able to develop their full potential to lead dignified lives in harmony with their world vision and traditional values. We shall continue to make indigenous youth a priority by having all necessary recommendations and action based agendas that would promote better integration and coordination of their issues, including youth issues, across the globe. We shall work even harder to empower them and support their aspirations.

We call upon young people and youth organisations to share their good practices with their peers through interactive virtual events that will focus on leaving no one behind and building back better and stronger. Together, let us identify and celebrate the priceless and distinctive identities of indigenous peoples around the world. #WeAreIndigenous #IndigenousDay #IndigenousPeoplesDay

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