The General Assembly of United Nations on 23rd December 1994 first proclaimed that every year 9th August will be celebrated as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People for decade (1995-2004). On 20th December 2004 it was decided in New York, Geneva and other UN offices of the United Nations the second decade of International Day of Indigenous People will be continued to be observed. The General Assembly asked the Secretary-General to support the Day and to encourage the governments to observe the Day at national level from within existing resources.
The Theme of the second decade is “Indigenous peoples building alliances: Honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements”. The 19th commemoration will be held in New York on Friday which will be organized by the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues DSPD/DESA, the United Nations Department of Public Information, and the NGO Committee on the Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
It is celebrated to highlight the importance of honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between countries, states, its citizens and indigenous peoples. By establishing new ways to live together, respecting one another and cooperating in the pursuit of common goals as both indigenous and non indigenous people have a pivotal role in making treaties in their own communities.
The Six areas which are mandated by the United Nations Forum for Indigenous Issues includes Economic and Social Development, Culture, Environment, Education, Health and Human Rights. In addition to this focus is also there on other cross cutting themes like gender and indigenous women, children and youth, millennium development goals and data and indicators.
On September 13, 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which came as result of more than twenty years of work by indigenous peoples and the UN system. The declaration was adopted by majority votes by 144 states, only 4 states (Australia, New Zealand, Canada and United States) voted against and 11 abstentions (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine).
The General Assembly decided, through its resolution A/RES/65/198 of 21 December 2010, to organize a high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly in 2014, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.
There are over 370 million indigenous peoples living in 90 countries across the globe.