Every year on August 9, International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed to encourage protection and promotion of the rights of the indigenous peoples across the world.
Indigenous peoples account for 6.2 per cent of the global population. There are over 476 million indigenous peoples spread across 90 countries in the world. They hold a significant relationship with lands, unique cultures, languages, traditions, and knowledge systems.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected populations across the world that were already fighting poverty, discrimination, instability, etc. The indigenous peoples have been exposed to severe challenges over their sustainability. Therefore, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2021 will focus on a new social construct.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2021: Theme
•The theme for International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2021 is ‘Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract’.
•A social contract here means a non-written agreement among the members of societies for cooperation to bring social and economic benefits to ensure no one is left behind, including indigenous people.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2021: Significance
•Especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the social contract needs revision, rebuilding, redesigning that fosters equal opportunities and acknowledges the rights of all, including indigenous peoples.
•The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will hold a virtual commemoration of the day to discuss reconstruction and redesigning a new social construct for indigenous peoples, wherein the governance and ways of life of indigenous peoples will be respected and their free and informed consent will be taken into consideration.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples: History
•The United Nations General Assembly on December 23, 1994, decided in its resolution that August 9 every year will be observed as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
•The first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations was held on August 9, 1982.
•On July 28, 2000, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) was established as a high-level advisory body to the Economic and Social Council to deal with indigenous issues relating to culture, education, human rights, health, and economic and social development of indigenous peoples.