Indigenous peoples, who comprise less than five percent of the world’s population, have the world’s smallest carbon footprint, and are the least responsible for our climate crisis. Yet because their livelihoods and wellbeing are intimately bound with intact ecosystems, indigenous peoples disproportionately face the brunt of climate change
, which is fast becoming a leading driver of human displacement.
States around the world must take effective action to guarantee the human rights of indigenous peoples, says a group of UN experts. In a joint statement marking International day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the experts say it is crucial that the rights of indigenous peoples are realised when they migrate or are displaced from their lands:
370 million self-identified indigenous peoples are spread across the world, but continue to face discrimination and marginalization.
Dispossessed of their lands, territories and ancestral resources, these people have increasingly been forced to give up their way of life, and have been pushed into unfamiliar worlds to survive.
Under the blazing midday sun, a tractor moves slowly along a dirt trail in Nacharwari
Pallem, a village of the Yanadi indigenous people located some three hours from Chennai city in South India. Atop the tractor, women of the village – 36 in all – sit expectantly, ignoring the heat. Squeals of excitement fill the air as the tractor slowly halts near a stretch of rice fields.
between farmers and herders in Nigeria’s Middle Belt in June reminded me of a smelting hot afternoon a year ago. I was sitting in my living room watching a herder grazing his cows in my yard in the small town in southwestern Cameroon where I live.
Although indigenous peoples are being increasingly recognised by both rights activists and governmental organisations, they are still being neglected in legal documents and declarations. Indigenous peoples are only mentioned in two of the 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and only seen in two of the 230 SDG indicators, says indigenous rights expert Chris Chapman.
On Aug. 9 the observance of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples will take place in the Economic and Social Council Chamber at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, bringing together U.N. agencies and member states, civil society and indigenous peoples’ organisations.
“Showing them a picture-book crow, I intone ‘kaak
’ in Bengali, the State language. While others repeat in chorus, the tribal Santhali first-graders respond with a blank look. They know the crow only as ‘koyo’
. They’ll happily roll out glass marbles to count but ask them how many they counted, they remain silent because in their mother tongue, one is mit
, two is bariah
- very different sounding from the Bengali ek
Education, the most powerful instrument in the struggle against exclusion and discrimination, is still elusive for indigenous people in Latin America who remain the most disadvantaged segment of the population despite their wide presence in the region.
As the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples approaches on Sunday, Aug. 9, concerns are growing that they will not fully benefit from the newly drafted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).