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International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples: Governments must uphold the human rights of Indigenous Peoples without Discrimination

    August 09, 2013

    Today, the World Day of Indigenous Peoples, Amnesty International stands in solidarity with Indigenous peoples around the world as they confront the marginalization and discrimination that continues to threaten and undermine their fundamental human rights. 

    Denied a voice in decisions which affect their lands, lives and livelihoods, Indigenous peoples are disproportionately affected by poverty, even when their lands are rich in natural resources. Without adequate legal recognition and protection of their rights to their traditional lands and territories, many live under constant threat of further dispossession. When imposed without meaningful consultation or respecting Indigenous peoples' right to free prior and informed consent, resource extraction, large-scale logging and other development projects can have disastrous affects on the well-being of Indigenous families and communities. Indigenous women continue to face a double discrimination of racism and sexism that fuels violence against them, while denying them adequate protection of the law.

    While the world has made significant progress in the recognition of the rights of Indigenous peoples -- particularly with the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples --  in many cases these rights are ignored or applied in a way that does not properly respect their cultural traditions.

    Faced with an appalling legacy of human rights violations, the Indigenous peoples of the world are mobilizing to make their voices heard. Their demand for respect their human rights is increasingly present at the centre of the global movement for human rights and helps to deepen and revitalize this movement.

    On this day, governments must demonstrate the political will to respect, protect and fulfill all human rights of Indigenous peoples.

    For further information, please contact Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, 416-363-9933 ext 332