People's Stories Indigenous People


International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
by UN News, Inter Press Service, agencies
 
Aug. 2017 (IPS)
 
Over the centuries, Indigenous peoples who have in-depth and locally rooted knowledge of the natural world, have been increasingly dispossessed of their lands, territories and resources and have lost control over their own way of life.
 
Traditional indigenous lands and territories contain some 80 per cent of the planet’s biodiversity and indigenous peoples have a crucial role in managing natural resources.
 
One of the root causes of poverty and marginalization of indigenous peoples is loss of control over their traditional lands, territories and natural resources.
 
Worldwide, indigenous peoples account for 5 per cent of the population, but represent 15 per cent of those living in poverty. Too often, they pay a price for being different and face discrimination.
 
Enabling indigenous peoples to overcome poverty requires supporting their efforts to shape and direct their own destinies and managing development initiatives crafted with that goal in mind. Their concept of poverty and development must reflect their own values, needs and priorities; they do not see poverty solely as the lack of income.
 
Indigenous peoples have rich and ancient cultures and view their social, economic, environmental and spiritual systems as interdependent. Their traditional knowledge and understanding of ecosystem management are valuable contributions to the world’s heritage.
 
Indigenous languages are key to ensuring the continuation and transmission of the culture, customs and history that constitute the core parts of the heritage and identity of indigenous peoples.
 
It is estimated that there are between 6,000 and 7,000 oral languages in the world today. A great majority of these languages are spoken by indigenous peoples, and many (if not most) of them are in danger of becoming extinct. One indigenous language dies every two weeks.
 
There are more than 370 million self-identified indigenous peoples in over 70 countries around the world. There are more than 400 groups in Latin America alone, each with a distinct language and culture. The biggest concentration of indigenous peoples, an estimated 70 per cent, live in Asia and the Pacific region.
 
On the Tenth Anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the IPS Inter Press Service and its partners call for the voices of the Indigenous Peoples to be heard and their rights respected. http://bit.ly/2hsQS93
 
Aug. 2017
 
World still lagging on Indigenous Rights 10 Years after Historic Declaration, by Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, Albert K. Barume and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.
 
The world’s indigenous peoples still face huge challenges a decade after the adoption of an historic declaration on their rights, a group of United Nations experts and specialist bodies has warned. Speaking ahead of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August, the group says States must put words into action to end discrimination, exclusion and lack of protection illustrated by the worsening murder rate of human rights defenders.
 
The joint statement from the Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples reads as follows:
 
“It is now 10 years since the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly, as the most comprehensive international human rights instrument for indigenous peoples. The Declaration, which took more than 20 years to negotiate, stands today as a beacon of progress, a framework for reconciliation and a benchmark of rights.
 
But a decade on, we need to acknowledge the vast challenges that remain. In too many cases, indigenous peoples are now facing even greater struggles and rights violations than they did 10 years ago.
 
Indigenous peoples still suffer from racism, discrimination, and unequal access to basic services including healthcare and education. Where statistical data is available, it shows clearly that they are left behind on all fronts, facing disproportionately higher levels of poverty, lower life expectancy and worse educational outcomes.
 
Indigenous peoples face particularly acute challenges due to loss of their lands and rights over resources, which are pillars of their livelihoods and cultural identities.
 
Indigenous women face double discrimination, both as women and as indigenous peoples. They are frequently excluded from decision-making processes and land rights, and many suffer violence.
 
We call on all States to ensure that indigenous women fully enjoy their rights as enshrined in the Declaration and emphasize that their rights are a concern for all of us.
 
The worsening human rights situation of indigenous peoples across the globe is illustrated by the extreme, harsh and risky working conditions of indigenous human rights defenders.
 
Individuals and communities who dare to defend indigenous rights find themselves labelled as obstacles to progress, anti-development forces, and in some cases, enemies of the State or terrorists.
 
They even risk death. Last year alone, some sources suggest that 281 human rights defenders were murdered in 25 countries – more than double the number who died in 2014. Half of them were working to defend land, indigenous and environmental rights.
 
We urge States to protect indigenous human rights defenders. Crimes committed against them must be duly investigated and prosecuted, and those responsible brought to justice.
 
Indigenous peoples are increasingly being drawn into conflicts over their lands, resources and rights. Lasting peace requires that States, with the support of the international community, establish conflict resolution mechanisms with the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples’, in particular indigenous women.
 
Many States still do not recognize indigenous peoples, and in particular indigenous women and youth still face a lack of official recognition and direct political participation. Even in States where laws are in place, the Declaration has not been fully implemented.
 
It is high time to recognize and strengthen indigenous peoples’ own forms of governance and representation, in order to establish constructive dialogue and engagement with international and national authorities, public officials and the private sector.
 
The minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the indigenous peoples of the world, as set out in the Declaration, must now be met.
 
These include the rights to identity, language, health, education and self-determination, alongside the duty of States to consult and cooperate with indigenous peoples to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing measures that may affect them.
 
The Declaration represents important shifts in both structure and the practice of global politics, and the last 10 years have seen some positive changes in the situation of indigenous peoples and greater respect for indigenous worldviews.
 
But we still have a long way to go before indigenous peoples have full enjoyment of their human rights as expressed in the Declaration. We call on all States to close the gap between words and action, and to act now to deliver equality and full rights for all people from indigenous backgrounds.”
 
* Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine is Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Albert K. Barume is chairman of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz is the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.
 
http://bit.ly/2wIkF0j http://www.un.org/en/events/indigenousday/ http://bit.ly/2oQMRyt http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2017/8/compilation-international-day-of-the-worlds-indigenous-peoples http://www.iwgia.org/ http://www.indigenouspeoples-sdg.org/ http://www.ipsnews.net/news/human-rights/indigenous-rights/ http://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/about-us/inter-agency-support-group.html http://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples.html http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/IPeoples/Pages/Declaration.aspx


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Aboriginal leaders call for treaty, first nations voice enshrined in the Constitution
by ABC News, Guardian Australia, agencies
Australia
 
27 May 2017
 
Indigenous leaders from across Australia have called for an indigenous representative body to be enshrined in the nation''s constitution and a process established working towards treaties between Indigenous peoples and local, State and Commonwealth Government.
 
The Constitutional Recognition forum held at Uluru attended by 250 Aboriginal leaders from across Australia called for a treaty commission to be established and for a truth and justice style commission to be set up.
 
Co-chair of the Government-appointed Referendum Council, Pat Anderson said, "In the discussions that we''ve had over the last six months across Australia, Aboriginal people have said clearly they want a treaty and a truth and justice commission, and a representative voice to Government".
 
"When the referendum council finishes its work on June 30, we''ve got a whole range of people who will bring this whole matter forward."
 
Cape York leader Noel Pearson said the delegates agreed that a parliamentary voice was needed "to have a practical impact on Aboriginal people''s place in the democracy".
 
Les Malezer an Australian delegate to the UN permanent forum on Indigenous issues, said Indigenous people needed a genuine voice in parliament to be able to direct and inform policy designed specifically to apply to Indigenous peoples.
 
The council hasn’t ruled out additional forms of symbolic acknowledgement of the 60 thousand-year history of First Australians and their rights.
 
Australia is the only Commonwealth country that does not have a treaty with its Indigenous peoples.
 
The ''Uluru Statement from the Heart'' was developed over three days of consultation among 250 Indigenous leaders.
 
Uluru Statement from the Heart:
 
"We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the southern sky, make this statement from the heart:
 
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs.
 
This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.
 
This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.
 
How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?
 
With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
 
Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future.
 
These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.
 
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
 
We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
 
Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.
 
We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.
 
In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future."
 
(Makarrata, a Yolgnu word for treaty)
 
http://www.referendumcouncil.org.au/dialogues http://www.abc.net.au/rightwrongs/ http://healingfoundation.org.au/ http://bit.ly/2rMLQEP http://bit.ly/2tixgWY http://bit.ly/2r0P1YG http://nationalcongress.com.au/news/ http://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/may/18/50-years-since-indigenous-australians-first-counted-why-has-so-little-changed-1967-referendum http://www.theguardian.com/inequality/gallery/2017/may/25/hear-us-australia-indigenous-voices-speak-out-in-pictures http://bit.ly/2rqIb3w http://theconversation.com/right-wrongs-write-yes-what-was-the-1967-referendum-all-about-76512 http://theconversation.com/explainer-why-300-indigenous-leaders-are-meeting-at-uluru-this-week-77955 http://theconversation.com/au/topics/indigenous-55 http://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/ http://bit.ly/2rLWtf8 http://aiatsis.gov.au/ http://www.referendumcouncil.org.au/final-report


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