International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

9 Aug, 2022 | Press Releases


Today, we celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People as an opportunity to honor indigenous peoples as holders and practitioners of unique cultures, traditions, languages and knowledge systems as well as to highlight the serious threats they face due to climate change, deforestation, pollution, development and loss of diversity. It causes the loss of traditional knowledge, disintegrating traditional governance structures and their cultures.

In line with this year’s theme, NPWJ highlights the importance of recognizing the crucial role that Indigenous women play in their communities as carers of natural resources, keepers of scientific knowledge and human rights defenders. Indigenous women have for centuries shown strength and resilience. Taking care of themselves and their communities also means taking care of the natural environment, with which they have an unbreakable connection. They have shown the capacity not only to provide for and nurture their communities, but also fight for them, facing different forms of discrimination and violence throughout their lifetime. Many indigenous women are also taking the lead in the defense of indigenous peoples’ lands and territories and advocating for indigenous peoples’ collective rights worldwide.

However, despite being the backbone of their communities, indigenous women often suffer from intersecting levels of discrimination on the basis of gender, class, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. They suffer high levels of poverty; low levels of education and illiteracy; limitations in access to health, basic sanitation, credit and employment; limited participation in political life; and domestic and sexual violence.

For these reasons, NPWJ calls for the inclusion of indigenous women in the creation of real and sustainable solutions to climate change and to combat the structural discrimination, violence and abuses they have faced for too long. This means ensuring their participation and involvement in decision-making processes where their perspectives and voices are listened to and amplified, where their needs are prioritised and their preferences respected.