International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

August 9th 2021
Photo Credit: UN Composition with photographs by PAHO (left), Martine Perret (center) and UNICEF Ecuador-Arcos (right)

There are over 476 million Indigenous peoples worldwide, accounting for 6.2% of the global population. Indigenous peoples preserve and celebrate a vast cultural diversity as well as traditions and languages. They have a special relationship with their lands and hold diverse concepts of development based on their worldviews and priorities.

Yet, even though numerous Indigenous peoples are self-governing, many continue to be confronted with marginalization, extreme poverty, and other human rights violations. For example, due to the structural discrimination and marginalization of Indigenous peoples, they have poorer health than non-Indigenous people in many countries. Indigenous people also suffer disproportionately from harms related to substance abuse.

Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated many existing inequalities,  disproportionately affecting populations worldwide,  including Indigenous peoples. Recognizing the key universal value of ‘Leave No One Behind’ in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the theme for this year’s International Day of Indigenous Peoples is “Leaving No One Behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.”

We were fortunate to speak to Marshall Morrisseau, a UNODC Youth Forum 2020 participant with an Indigenous background, who provided his view on ‘Listen First and the hardships his people face. Read the interview here.

Made possible with the generous support of France.