World’s Indigenous People Day

09 August 2017

9 August marks the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, which was established on December 23, 1994 by a resolution of the UN General Assembly.

For a long time, indigenous peoples were seen as backward, inferior and needing protection communities. The turning point was the 1970s, when UN experts became concerned about the protection of their rights and conducted a large-scale study on discrimination against indigenous peoples.

On September 13, 2007, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which enshrined their right to determine themselves or their ethnicity in accordance with customs and traditions.

It should be noted that significant progress has been made in the implementation of the Declaration provisions since its adoption, but representatives of indigenous people continue to face problems in realizing their rights in practice.

According to the UN, there are around 370 million members of the indigenous community worldwide, which is 5 percent of the world’s population.

In Russia, indigenous peoples include 47 ethnic groups with a total population of less than 50,000 people who live in the territories of the resettlement of their ancestors, and also maintain a traditional way of life.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation pays special attention to realizing the rights of indigenous peoples and their access to natural resources. In particular, special posts of regional Commissioners for the rights of indigenous peoples have been established in three constituent entities of the country.

If necessary, the High Commissioner undertakes in situ visits to verify the corresponding complaints. In 2015, the High Commissioner personally traveled to the Kemerovo Region to settle issues of compensation for housing to residents of the Shor settlement.

Within the framework of the UN internship program for Russian-speaking indigenous representatives, the High Commissioner’s Office has been training them for three years.

The aim of the program is to expand the knowledge of indigenous peoples about existing mechanisms in the field of human rights observance to use them to better protect the rights and freedoms of communities.

Photo: open sources

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