Saturday was International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

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By Irma Geldiashvili
Communications Intern
August 5, 2015

The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is annually celebrated on August 9. This event is to promote and protect the world’s indigenous people’s rights as well as it recognizes the valuable contribution of indigenous people to world’s environment protection. This year, the event’s highlights will be indigenous people’s healthcare issue, lack of access to healthcare services and their well-being. United Nations Headquarters in New York will be celebrating this day with the rest of the World.

“The interests of the indigenous peoples must be part of the new development agenda in order for it to succeed. […] Together, let us recognize and celebrate the valuable and distinctive identities of indigenous peoples around the world. Let us work even harder to empower them and support their aspirations.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon

In 1994, the UN General Assembly took a decision of celebrating the International day of the World’s Indigenous People annually during a decade. Later in 2004, the assembly announced a second International decade of the World’s Indigenous People ending in2014. The mission of these decades was to strengthen international efforts towards resolving some of the issues of indigenous people. Problems these people face include education, health, culture, human rights, economic and social development, and environmental issues. Ultimately, the Commission of Human Rights decided to form the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that was approved by the Economic andSocial Council. This forum promises to address and discuss the above-mentioned issues regarding the indigenous people around the world.

People from around the world are encouraged to take part in celebration of this special day to help UN spread the message on indigenous people. Some of the activities happening on this day include classroom discussions, educational forums, and other activities to learn about the issues and appreciate and better understand the indigenous people. This is UN’s day of observance, however, it is not a public holiday.