Indigenous people account for 6.2 percent of the global population, and these people hold a very vast diversity of different cultures, traditions, and knowledge systems. These people have sought recognition of their identities, but most of the nations have failed to protect the rights of the indigenous people, and their rights have been violated from time to time.

9th August has been marked as International Day of the World’s Indigenous peoples vide Resolution 49/214 in the year 1994. This date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982 of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub- Commission on Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. 

Some Facts: 

  • More than 86% of indigenous peoples globally work in the informal economy, compared to 66% for their non-indigenous counterparts
  • Indigenous peoples are nearly three times as likely to be living in extreme poverty compared to their non-indigenous counterparts.
  • Globally, 47% of all indigenous peoples in employment have no education, compared to 17% of their non-indigenous counterparts. This gap is even wider for women.

2021 Theme: Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and call for a new social contract 

The theme for this year lays emphasis on the inclusion, participation, and approval of the indigenous people in the constitution of the system. The social contract that is being emphasized will focus upon equal opportunities and respect for the rights of indigenous people.

More information is available here.

2022-2032 has been declared as the Decade of Indigenous Languages by UNESCO. More information on the same is available here.

It is worth mentioning that Roya Institute, in line with its goals and to promote inclusive justice for all, has taken steps to welcome this decade and plans to implement more in this regard in the coming months and 2022.

Roya Institute has held two panels focusing on this issue at the “Turning Challenges into Opportunities: Justice Education in Times of Crises” Worldwide Online Conference (organized by Global Alliance for Justice Education, International Journal of Clinical Legal Education, Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education, and hosted by Northumbria University, Jun 16 – 18, 2021). 

One plan was titled “Local Languages, Educational justice, And Legal Clinics; Case Study of Selected Countries” (Wed Jun 16). The panelists were from (alphabetically) Bangladesh, Canada, India, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the US. 

The other plan was titled “Linguistic Diversity, Legal and Educational Justice, Legal Clinics” (Thu Jun 17). The panelists were from (alphabetically) Bangladesh, Canada, India, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the US. 

One of Roya Institute’s plans for the coming months is to present a panel in this regard at the upcoming “10th Asia Pro Bono Virtual Conference & Access to Justice Exchange” (23 – 26 Sept. 2021). The title of the proposed panel is: “What Pro bono Lawyers Could/Should Do to Promote Linguistic Justice & Diversity; India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Iran as Case Study.” 

More news about the activities and initiatives of the Roya Institute in honor of the UNESCO Decade of Indigenous Languages will be published soon.

Mahak Rathee 

Global Representative (India) 

Roya Institute of Global Justice