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UNIC Port of Spain - Caribbean UN - Displaying items by tag: indigenous rights

2019 will be the Year of Indigenous Languages

Languages around the world continue to disappear at alarming rates. The large majority of the languages in danger are spoken by indigenous peoples, placing at risk the respective indigenous cultures and knowledge systems. To draw attention to the critical loss of indigenous languages and the urgent need to preserve, revitalize and promote them at both national and international levels, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 2019 as International Year of Indigenous Languages. The launch of the year will take place at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris on 28 January. A UNHQ launch event is planned for 1 February.

It is through language that we communicate with the world, define our identity, express our history and culture, learn, defend our human rights and participate in all aspects of society, to name but a few. Through language, people preserve their community’s history, customs and traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking, meaning and expression.  They also use it to construct their future.

Language is pivotal in the areas of human rights protection, good governance, peace building, reconciliation, and sustainable development.

 IYIL2019 will promote indigenous languages in these five key areas

  1. Increasing understanding, reconciliation and international cooperation.
  2. Creation of favourable conditions for knowledge-sharing and dissemination of good practices with regards to indigenous languages.
  3. Integration of indigenous languages into standard setting.
  4. Empowerment through capacity building.
  5. Growth and development through elaboration of new knowledge.

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Voices of indigenous peoples must be heard on issues affecting them, UN rights body told

17 September 2014 – The voices of indigenous peoples must be effectively heard and they must be consulted on issues that affect them, including rights to land and resources, the United Nations Human Rights Council heard today.

“Although there is, at both the international and domestic levels, a strong legal and policy foundation upon which to move forward with the implementation of indigenous peoples’ rights, there are still numerous obstacles preventing indigenous peoples from fully enjoying their human rights,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in some 90 countries who constitute 15 per cent of the world's poor and about one third of the 900 million extremely poor rural people. Practicing unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.

Indigenous peoples are also among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable populations, with many of them struggling to remain on their lands and retain the right to their natural resources, while others have long since been removed from their lands, denied their languages and traditional ways.

Ms. Tauli-Corpuz noted that among the barriers preventing indigenous peoples from fully enjoying their rights is the absence of steps towards reconciliation with indigenous peoples and redress for past violation of their human rights.

Linked with reconciliation yet to be completed, she said, is the ongoing negative perception of indigenous peoples among the broader societies in which they live, including within governments.

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