International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union
August 9, 2022
On the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, the EU stands in solidarity with the more than 476 million indigenous peoples worldwide – whether the San and the Khoekhoe peoples in South Africa, the Aymara in the Andean Mountain Range, the Māori of New Zealand, the Saami of northern Europe inhabiting Sápmi or the Greenlandic Inuit.
We reiterate our firm commitment towards respect, protection and fulfilment of the rights of indigenous peoples as set out in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and in international human rights law. Indigenous peoples inhabit nearly a quarter of the world’s land surface. They are critical custodians and defenders of more than 80 % of our biological diversity and have a profound understanding of sustainable land management. At the same time, they are among the most affected by the severe impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.
Indigenous peoples’ identities are often closely linked to their lands and to their languages. Indigenous languages are complex communication systems developed over millennia. The EU welcomes the International Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022-2032). More than 4000 indigenous languages are threatened because many of them are neither taught at school, nor used in the public sphere.