Strasbourg, 9 August 2022 (TDI): The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell Fontelles, gave a statement on the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, 9 August 2022.

Highlighting the importance of the day, Josep Borrell showed his full support to 476 million indigenous people worldwide

In his remarks, he said that the EU stands with the indigenous people “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.”

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed on 9 August each year to raise awareness and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population.

On the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples

Borrell remarked, highlighting the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples, which the General Assembly adopted on 13 September 2007, “we reiterate our firm commitment towards respect, protection, and fulfillment 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.”

He also said, “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.”

“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,” he added.

Josep made it clear that the EU was committed to promoting the participation of local leaders and indigenous human rights defenders in development processes and key global decision-making fora.

He also said, “the EU is also taking action for more effective rules on responsible business conduct to foster sustainable and responsible corporate behavior, including on indigenous lands.”

Furthermore, “the EU has repeatedly raised the situation of human rights defenders. At least 358 human rights defenders were killed in 2021. Nearly 60% were brave land, environment, or indigenous rights defenders, and more than a quarter were themselves indigenous.”

He assured, “the EU will continue to leverage its policies, dialogues, financing instruments, and all other tools to support indigenous peoples, and to end impunity.”

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