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Friday, 16 August 2013

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples 2013, August 9th.


On this International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, we highlight the importance of honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between States, their citizens and indigenous peoples. Such consensual arrangements enable better understanding of their views and values and are essential for protecting and promoting rights and establishing the political vision and necessary frameworks for different cultures to coexist in harmony.
Indigenous peoples represent remarkable diversity – more than 5,000 distinct groups in some 90 countries. They make up more than 5 per cent of the world’s population, some 370 million people. It is important that we strive to strengthen partnerships that will help preserve cultural vigour while facilitating poverty reduction, social inclusion and sustainable development.We must ensure the participation of indigenous peoples – women and men –in decision-making at all levels. This includes discussions on accelerating action towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and defining the post-2015 development agenda. Indigenous peoples have made clear that they want development that takes into account culture and identity and the right to define their own priorities.
The post-2015 development agenda needs therefore to incorporate the rights, perspectives and needs of indigenous peoples.Next year’s World Conference on Indigenous Peoples offers an opportunity to advance the cause of indigenous peoples everywhere. I urge Member States to take concrete steps to address the challenges facing indigenous peoples, especially their marginalization and exclusion, by honouring all commitments and examining what more can be done. Let us work together to strengthen indigenous peoples’ rights and support their aspirations. Let us create a world that values the wealth of human diversity and nurtures the potential it offers.

Ban Ki-moon.

 News and Media

>>>Press Release : Treaties with Indigenous Peoples in Focus on International Day

 This year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (9 August) aims to highlight the importance of honouring agreements between States, their citizens and indigenous peoples, emphasizing the principles of friendship, cooperation and peace.“Indigenous peoples represent remarkable diversity – over 5,000 distinct groups comprising more than 5 per cent of the world’s population,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki3moon. “We must work to strengthen partnerships and ensure that policies and actions res pect the views and reflect the values of indigenous peoples.”Under the theme of “Indigenous peoples building alliances: honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements", a special event at United Nations Headquarters in New York will feature remarks by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Assistant Secretary-General Shamshad Akhtar, and Mr. Paul Kanyinke Sena, Chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, followed by an interactive dialogue with Ambassador Mary Morgan Moss, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Panama to the United Nations, Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, and Chief Oren Lyons from the Onondaga Nation.

Also on 9 August, more than 200 indigenous and non-indigenous paddlers are scheduled to arrive at Pier 96 at West 57th Street in Manhattan at 10:00 a.m., after having collectively travelled hundreds of miles on rivers and horseback to honour the first treaty – the Two Row Wampum – concluded between Dutch immigrants and the Haudenosaunee (a confederacy of six nations, with its seat in the Onondaga nation in New York State) in 1613. “Our ancestors made this great agreement on our behalf 400 years ago,” noted Hickory Edwards, the lead paddler for the Onondaga Nation. “Now is the time for us to think about the people living in the next 400 years.” “The Two Row is the oldest and is the grandfather of all subsequent treaties,” said Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation’s Turtle Clan who has represented the Haudenosaunee at the United Nations and elsewhere. “It set a relationship of equity and peace. This campaign is to remind people of the importance of the agreements.”

There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in some 90 countries around the world .Practice in unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, recognizes indigenous peoples’ right to self determination and their right to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and develop past, present and future manifestations of their culture in various forms.

About the International Day:

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is commemorated annually on 9 August, in recognition of the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations, held in Geneva in 1982. The I nternational Day was first proclaimed by the General Assembly in December 1994.

>>>Webcast of the Secretary-General making remarks on the occasion of International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples
>>>Webcast of the observance at UN Headquarters

Mary Morgan Moss, Ambassador, Deputy Permanent Representative of Panama to the UN Ivan Šimonović, ASG (OHCHR) (TBC), Chief Oren Lyons (Onondaga, USA)

Messages of the Day
Message from the Secretary-General of the United Nations
AR - EN - ESFR  - RU - ZH
Remarks by the Secretary-General of the United Nations 
Remarks by the Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs
Remarks by the Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights
Message from the Chairperson of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Message from UNESCO
Message from the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights
Message from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Message from UN Women
Message from UNDP (United Nations Development Programme)
Message from WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization)
Message from Stop TB Partnership
Message from IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development)
Message from ILO (International Labour Organization)
Message from the International Land Coalition
Message from PAHO (Pan American Health Organization)


 The theme aims to highlight the importance of honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements, between States, its citizens and indigenous peoples. Both indigenous and non-indigenous peoples have a pivotal role in making treaties “living documents” in their own communities, by establishing new ways to live together, respecting one another and cooperating in the pursuit of common goals. This contributes to building societies that guarantee the security of their communities, while preserving the environment in recognition of the unique spiritual, cultural and historic relationship between indigenous peoples and their lands and natural resources.

The theme is inspired by the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, an educational advocacy campaign organized by the Haudenosaunee people (a confederacy of six nations living in New York State), to honour their first treaty concluded with Dutch immigrants in 1613. (For more information, visit

For media queries, including interviews with UN officials and indigenous representatives, please contact Martina Donlon, tel: +1 212 963 6816 or email: – UN Department of Public Information.To contact the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, please contact Nilla Bernardi, tel: +1 212-963-8379 or email: – UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs For more information on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples,  please see or follow #IndigenousDay on Twitter

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