Protect the unique characteristics of indigenous peoples


There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. The Shavante Indian in Brazil is preparing his son for the "oio," a ceremonial club fight young boys participate in to show their passage from boyhood to manhood. UN Photo/Joseane Daher
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  • Indigenous peoples make up less than five per cent of the world’s population, but account for 15 per cent of the poorest. Above, a member of the Dogons tribe in southern Mali uses indigenous irrigation techniques to grow vegetables and millet. UN Photo/John Isaac
    An overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages are spoken by indigenous peoples, who also represent 5,000 different cultures. Pictured here are indigenous Inuit women in the Uummannaq community of Greenland. UN Photo/Mark Garten
    Indigenous peoples are inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people and the environment. Forced displacement, including from armed conflict as was the case with the Embera children from Colombia (above), can sometimes lead to the total collapse of traditional authority and cultural patterns. UN Photo/Mark Garten
    Indigenous peoples retain cultural, economic and political characteristics distinct from the dominant societies in which they live. A baby from the indigenous Kadazandusun ethnic group sleeps in a traditional cloth cradle in Malaysia, where UNICEF supports programmes for indigenous and other marginalized children. UNICEF/Giacomo Pirozzi
    Despite their cultural differences, indigenous peoples from around the world share common problems. Students in Peru, pictured here, walk home from school. UNICEF asserts that, in the Andean nation, classes taught in Spanish challenge those who speak only the native Quechua – often leading to students dropping out. UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1606/LeMoyne
    On 13 September 2007, the General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – a milestone for the cooperation and solidarity between indigenous peoples and Member States. Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca Céspedes (left) speaks to journalists after the adoption in New York. UN Photo/Jenny Rockett
    The Declaration embodies global consensus on the rights of indigenous peoples and establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for their survival, dignity and well-being. The Hmong hill tribe woman above is at work in Sin Chai, Viet Nam. UN Photo/Kibae Park
    Although major progress has been made in implementing the Declaration, gaps continue to leave indigenous peoples facing exclusion, marginalization and challenges in enjoying their basic rights. For example, deforestation poses risks for the livelihoods of forest-dwelling indigenous peoples, such as those seen here in the Republic of Congo. Photo: UNFPA
    The 2017 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, observed on 8 August, marks the tenth anniversary of the Declaration and offers a push for nations to demonstrate political will, and financial commitment, for its implementation. Bright colours and bold patterns adorn the house of the Ndebele tribeswoman above in South Africa. UN Photo/P Mugubane
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