International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) observes August 9, 2018 as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This global observance was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994 through the adoption of Resolution 49/214. The International Day marks the date of the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, which took place in 1982, and functions to continue the spirit and working agenda of the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, which began on 10 December 1994.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted on September 13, 2007, is regarded by the United Nations as the “most comprehensive international instrument on the rights of indigenous peoples.” The Declaration enumerates, inter alia, the rights of indigenous peoples to all human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as the ability to maintain and strengthen their distinct  institutions while fully participating in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State. The text, which is available here, builds on established international human rights standards and other fundamental freedoms within the context of indigenous issues.

With more than 370 million indigenous peoples living in communities located in more than 90 countries around the world, the international community recognizes its unique responsibility to protect the rights of indigenous peoples. The theme for the 2018 observance of this occasion is “Indigenous Peoples’ Migration and Movement.” This edition of the annual date will work to raise awareness on several themes, including “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.”

On this International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the Auschwitz Institute joins with the international community to recognize the vital importance of defending the rights of indigenous populations, many of whom are subjected to extreme vulnerability. Furthermore, AIPR recognizes the impact of both development and conflict on indigenous communities and welcomed the focus of the 2018 observance on the root causes of migration, trans-border movement and displacement as they relate to indigenous populations.