Latin America Celebrates 'International Day of Indigenous People'
Hispanically Speaking News
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August 9, 2013

To mark the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples on 9 August 2013, actress and activist Q'Orianka Kilcher has teamed up with the ILO to speak up for the right of the 370 million indigenous peoples across the world to live and work in dignity. (ILOTV)

Today is the day to celebrate the nearly 400 million indigenous people that populate our planet many in Latin American countries.  The “International Day of Indigenous People” was created in 1994 by the United Nations as a day to remember indigenous people, and to continue the fight to defend their rights and their lands.

UN Reports indicate that though indigenous people make up 5% of the world population they make up around one third of the world’s extremely poor rural population.  Indigenous people suffer disproportionately higher rates of poverty, health issues, crime and human rights abuses.  According to the World Health Organization indigenous people have higher rates of infant mortality, lower life expectancy and more chronic illness than the non-indigenous populations in other countries.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights urged Latin American countries to guarantee full respect for the human rights of indigenous peoples especially those in voluntary isolation, like the missing tribes of the Amazon.  They urged big corporations to stop the illegal extraction of natural resources on indigenous lands especially in Bolivia, Colombia, Paraguay and Peru.

Tomorrow hundreds of indigenous and non-indigenous rowers are schedule to arrive in Manhattan after having collectively traveled thousands of miles on horseback and canoe to honor the first treaty between Dutch immigrants and native indigenous tribes in the U.S. some 400 years ago.

Several Latin American countries, including Brazil and Ecuador, chose to honor this day in unique ways.  In Brazil they are honoring the Kaiowa Guarane indigenous community in the Dourados region.  Most of the Kaiowa people live in shacks along a national highway after much of their land was seized for commercial purposes.

In Ecuador they recently drafted laws protecting indigenous people’s water, lands and territories and criminalized illegal mining and oil on native lands.

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