International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples observed with theme Right to Education

Aug 9, 2016 08:11 IST

9 August: International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples was observed on 9 August 2016 with theme Indigenous Peoples' Right to Education.

Day For Indigenous Peoples

The day was founded by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 23 December 1994 with adoption of resolution 49/214 proclaiming that the International Day of the World's Indigenous People shall be observed annually on 9 August. The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.

Later, the UNGA established two International Decades of the World's Indigenous Peoples the first 1995-2004 and the second 2005-2014, with the theme of A Decade for Action and Dignity.

These decades were established with the goal of strengthening international cooperation for solving problems faced by indigenous peoples in areas such as human rights, the environment, development, education and health, economic and social development.

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The right of indigenous peoples to education is protected by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Article 14 of the Declaration states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.”

The right of indigenous peoples to education is also protected by a number of other international human rights instruments, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Maasai Singing Group-UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for ensuring equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations.

Data on indigenous people

  • As per the available data, there are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries.
  • They make up less than 5 percent of the world's population, but account for 15 percent of the poorest.
  • They speak an overwhelming majority of the world's estimated 7000 languages and represent 5000 different cultures.

Educational Gap

In spite of several instruments, the right to education has not been fully realized for most indigenous peoples, and a critical education gap exists between indigenous peoples and the general population.

Available data shows consistent and persistent disparities between the indigenous and the non-indigenous population in terms of educational access, retention and achievement, in all regions of the world.

The education sector not only mirrors the historical abuses, discrimination and marginalization suffered by indigenous peoples, but also reflects their continued struggle for equality and respect for their rights as peoples and as individuals.

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