The International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is observed on August 9 each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. This event also recognizes the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection. It was first pronounced by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994, marking the day of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, in 1982.
In 2004 the assembly proclaimed the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (2005-2014). The assembly also decided to continue observing the International Day of Indigenous People annually during the second decade. The decade’s goal was to further strengthen international cooperation for solving problems faced by indigenous peoples in areas such as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment, and social and economic development.
In April 2000, the Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution to establish the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that was endorsed by the Economic and Social Council. The forum’s mandate is to discuss indigenous issues related to culture, economic and social development, education, the environment, health and human rights.
The focus of this year's International Day is "Bridging the gap: implementing the rights of indigenous peoples".
The theme aims to highlight the importance of implementing the rights of indigenous peoples through policies and programs at both the national and international level working together towards this common goal with Governments, the United Nations system, indigenous peoples and other stakeholders.
To mark this event, a special document was published by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) - in tandem with The Nando Peretti Foundation which sheds light on the continuing challenges faced by some of our members, including the Mapuche and Awa, as well as some of the wider issues in minority affairs.
You can download it from here: http://www.unpo.org/downloads/980.pdf