People's Stories Indigenous People

Funding cut to First Nations women’s agency condemned
by Australian Council of Social Service, agencies
10 Dec. 2019
The Councils of Social Service across the country have joined together to urge the Australian Government to reinstate funding to the National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum (NFVPLS) the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander victims and survivors of domestic violence.
The National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum is vital to eradicating our country’s shameful rates of domestic violence.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander survivors of domestic violence must be heard.
The Government’s decision to defund this crucial organisation appears to be an attempt to silence services who every day provide vital support to women all over the country. This is an inexplicable decision and must be reversed immediately.
The National Family Violence Prevention and Legal Services Forum plays an invaluable role, advocating for the safety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children, with the little government funding it has received, in the order of $250,000 a year – a mere fraction of the Government’s $35 billion in tax cuts.
Instead of cutting funding, the Morrison Government should be listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and strengthening its investment in their advocacy.
# The Australian Council of Social Service; The ACT Council of Social Service; The New South Wales Council of Social Service; The Northern Territory Council of Social Service; The Queensland Council of Social Service; The South Australian Council of Social Service; The Tasmanian Council of Social Service; The Victorian Council of Social Service; The Western Australian Council of Social Service

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State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
by UNDESA, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Sep. 2019
The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs is launching the fourth edition of the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The launch comes on the date the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007 which marked the culmination of decades of struggle among indigenous peoples for a universal framework establishing minimum standards to ensure their survival, dignity and well-being.
The Declaration stands as the most comprehensive international instrument on indigenous peoples’ collective rights, including the rights to self-determination, traditional lands, territories and resources, education, culture, health and development.
The production of the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (SOWIP) responds to the recommendation by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to periodically produce a United Nations publication that analyzes a broad spectrum of indigenous peoples’ issues and advocates for the rights of indigenous peoples as enshrined in the Declaration and other international instruments.
The fourth edition of SOWIP offers a perspective on the utilization of the Declaration at national, regional and international levels – as the basis for the development of new laws and policies and as a source of inspiration and a tool for advocacy and awareness-raising focusing on the implementation of the Declaration.
Chapters highlight progress, good practices and achievements and showcase indigenous peoples in official statistics; it also identifies challenges and offers recommendations for the way forward.
Findings show that while the Declaration has served as the impetus for positive change for over a decade, much more remains to be done, as indigenous peoples continue to face structural and legal barriers to their full, equal and effective participation in political, economic, social and cultural life.
Although some countries have taken constitutional and legislative measures to recognize the rights and identities of indigenous peoples, exclusion, marginalization, and violence against indigenous peoples persist.
The report examines the impact the Declaration has had on the lives of 370 million indigenous peoples living in an estimated 90 countries. Drawing on these trends and lessons, the publication presents recommendations on the way forward to implements the commitments of the Declaration in pursuit of the full realization of the rights of indigenous peoples around the world.
* State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 4th Edition:
* Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007:
Aug. 2019
No Sustainable Development without Indigenous Peoples, says Jeffrey Campbell - Manager of the FAO Forest and Farm Facility.
For years, the importance of indigenous peoples in the fight against deforestation, land degradation and climate change was overlooked and even denied, to the detriment of the environment and the food systems on which we all depend. Thanks to the global advocacy of indigenous peoples and their organizations, this tendency is changing – though not fast enough.
Some 370 million people identify themselves as members of indigenous cultures. While indigenous peoples make up less than 5% of the world’s total population, they wield enormous influence over the well-being of the natural resources on which we all depend. They manage 28% of the world’s land surface and, are the de facto guardians of 80% of global biodiversity – including most of the plant and animal species on Earth.
As family farmers, fishers, pastoralists and forest-dwellers, indigenous peoples apply traditional methods of land management and food production which have evolved over centuries and which have often proven their sustainability and resilience in the face of environmental changes.
Indigenous knowledge systems and languages contribute directly to biological and cultural diversity, poverty eradication, conflict resolution, food security and ecosystem health, and serve as the foundation of the resilience of indigenous communities to the impact of climate change.
Their awareness of traditional food sources and the fundamental connection between food systems and healthy landscapes can help to promote diets that are diverse and sustainable.
The vital role of indigenous peoples was recognized in the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). And yet, indigenous peoples continue to suffer disproportionately high levels of land insecurity, social dislocation and violence while defending their traditional lands. They also make up 15% of the world’s poorest people.
These and other factors, including youth migration, are causing traditional knowledge and indigenous food systems to disappear at an alarming rate. They are also contributing to the rapid loss of indigenous languages.
In fact, this year’s observance of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (9 August) focuses attention on the world’s 7,000 indigenous languages, in keeping with the year-long observance of the International Year of Indigenous Languages.
When, in 2015, the international community agreed on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of targets for improving lives while protecting natural resources by the year 2030, they included specific mention of indigenous peoples, and acknowledged that there can be no truly sustainable development without protecting the traditional knowledge and territories of indigenous peoples.
We can look to the world’s forests for an example of why this is so. Forests continue to be critical for the food security, livelihoods, culture and spiritual identity of indigenous peoples. Their resources include nutritious foods and medicines, household materials and the income gained from selling forest products.
Indigenous knowledge can be combined with new information and innovation in agriculture and land management to protect biodiversity and foster integrated sustainable management of diverse food systems and conservation of traditional medicines. But this approach requires urgent, consistent action.
It will take urgent policy changes and community-based action, particularly around the recognition of land rights, to bring about significant, lasting improvements in the lives of indigenous peoples and the natural resources which are vital to us all.

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