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Press release

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is marked at an important time

NEW YORK, 7 August 2013 – UNICEF joins partners celebrating the 2013 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples at an important time when the international community is preparing for the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and the review and resetting of the post-2015 development agenda. 

The theme of the International Day this year is Indigenous peoples building alliances: Honouring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements Despite progress towards meeting some Millennium Development Goals, structural inequalities and social exclusion persist in some countries. Indigenous children are among the far too many who are being left behind.

Indigenous girls and women face a particularly complex and layered experience of discrimination and disadvantage.

Joint evidence building efforts among UN agencies including the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues highlights for example that the experience of violence is heightened among females of indigenous background because of a myriad of barriers confronting indigenous girls and women’s effort to access services such as health care, protection, birth registration and schooling. 

The post-2015 agenda presents an important opportunity to move from inequality to inclusive, sustainable growth and human development that benefits us all. For reasons both principled and practical, human rights standards – and by extension indigenous peoples’ human rights – must be more strongly articulated across the future goals of the post-2015 framework.

UNICEF, particularly in its current role as the chair of the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues, looks forward to contributing to the development of a concise and action-oriented outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

As part of a broader effort to help indigenous young people become more knowledgeable on the content of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), UNICEF will continue to support and welcome the translation of the recently launched adolescent-friendly UNDRIP into indigenous and other UN languages so that they are better equipped to secure their rights. 

UNICEF will also scale-up tested initiatives specifically targeted at enhancing the rights of indigenous children and adolescents. These include support to legal and policy reforms, bilingual education, and culturally sensitive maternal health services and birth registration.

UNICEF looks forward to continued collaboration with all of its partners in taking forward the process of realizing the rights of indigenous children everywhere.


UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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