International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is observed on August 9 each year to promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population.
There are almost 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They make up less than 5 per cent of the world’s population. They speak majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different cultures.
On 23 December 1994, the UN’s General Assembly decided, in its resolution 49/214, that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People will be observed on August 9 every year.
On this day, people from around the world are encouraged to spread the UN’s message on the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples.
What Do People Do on this Day?
People from different nations are encouraged to participate in observing the day to spread the UN’s message on indigenous peoples. Activities may include educational forums and classroom activities to gain an appreciation and a better understanding of indigenous peoples.
Events at the UN headquarters in New York include messages from high-level UN officials, governments, indigenous peoples and other key leaders; performances by indigenous artists; and panel discussions on emerging issues. Other events are also held worldwide to celebrate the day.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous People Theme 2019
The theme for International Day of the World’s Indigenous People 2019 is Indigenous Languages and will focus on the current situation of indigenous languages around the world within the framework of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages.
The aim is to highlight the critical need to revitalize, preserve, and promote indigenous languages and share good practices through interactive panels and presentation of innovative initiatives on indigenous languages.
Artwork by Rebang Dewan, a Chackma boy from Bangladesh, was chosen as the visual identifier of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
It features two ears of green leaves facing each other and cradling a globe resembling planet earth. Within the globe is a picture of a handshake (two different hands) in the middle and above the handshake is a landscape background. The handshake and the landscape background are encapsulated by blue at the top and bottom within the globe.
For this occasion, Rebang Dewan’s artwork is often seen together with a pale blue version of the UN logo with the words “We the peoples” written in the middle. The logo is set on a darker blue background. The UN logo is often associated with marketing and promotional material UN events.