Report from the 18TH UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
May 23rd, 2019
Hundreds of Indigenous Peoples from across the globe gathered at the UN Headquarters, New York, for the Eighteenth Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) held from 25 April to 2 May. The theme for the 2019 UNPFII is “traditional knowledge: generation, transmission, protection.” The UN describes the indigenous peoples as the inheritors and practitioners of unique cultures and ways of relating to people social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of dominant societies in which they live. The UNPFII was established in the year 2000, by a UN resolution with the mandate to deal with indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health, and human rights.
According to a report by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the estimated 370 million indigenous peoples who reside in approximately 90 countries are among the most marginalized peoples in the world. The report noted that indigenous peoples are often isolated politically and socially within the countries where they reside by the geographical location of their communities, their separate histories, cultures, languages, and traditions.
To safeguard the human rights of the indigenous peoples, therefore, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution in 2007 on the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration provides a comprehensive framework of minimum standards of economic, social, and cultural well-being and rights of the world’s indigenous peoples. Again, in 2016, the UNGA adopted a resolution declaring 2019 a Year of Indigenous Languages.