【Special Topic】Green Anniversary - International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples
International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is celebrated on August 9th every year with the purpose of letting more people know about the world’s indigenous peoples to protect their rights, languages, traditions, and cultures. According to the UN’s statistics, indigenous people make up less than 5 percent of the world's population, however, they speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s languages and represent 5,000 different cultures and lifestyles. But they account for 15 percent of the poorest.
August 9th, 1982, the Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights of the UN held its first meeting on indigenous people. To mark this occasion, the UN declared August 9th to be International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples in 1994. Taiwan also has its own Indigenous Peoples’ Day to commemorate the official name rectification from “shanbao” (meaning mountain folks) to “indigenous peoples” on the constitutional amendment on August 1st, 1994, which symbolizes the rising awareness of indigenous peoples in Taiwan as well as the prevalence of social justice. Either on August 9th or August 1st, both events remind us of the shared struggles and challenges faced by indigenous peoples, such as the infringement of land rights, cultural extinction, and economic disadvantages. Thus, we should pay respect to their inherent rights.
This year, the title of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples is “Indigenous youth as agents of change for self-determination,” focusing on their rights of decision-making and how Indigenous youth have a pivotal role in decision-making. For example, they are leveraging cutting-edge technologies and acquiring new skills to mitigate climate change and to pass on heritage. Furthermore, they are the bridge between the international society and the Indigenous communities. Governments, the public, and all ethnicities should work together to achieve a more equal and inclusive society.