The European Union has reiterated its “firm and continued commitment to the respect, protection and fulfilment of indigenous peoples’ rights.”
The message was timed to coincide with the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (9 August).
Such rights, says the EU, are set out in international human rights law and in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
As this year the International Day is dedicated to “Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change for Self-determination”.
The EU said, in a statement on Tuesday, it wants to pay in particular tribute to the voices and agency of indigenous youth.
The statement by Josep Borrell the EU High Rep, read, “Indigenous youth stand at the frontline of some of the most pressing crises humanity faces today, such as the loss of biodiversity and climate change. At the same time, they lack avenues for full participation in political and public life, to address challenges such as loss of territories, livelihoods and resources, or to advocate for self-determination and defend their rights.”
The former MEP went on, “The EU continues to promote the participation of indigenous leaders and indigenous human rights defenders, including indigenous youth, in development processes and key global decision-making fora.”
This year the EU has, it says, invested €2.3 million in a new Arctic Youth Dialogues initiative to involve Arctic and European youth, including indigenous youth, in policy and decision-making, for a “peaceful, sustainable and prosperous future for the region.”
This, says Brussels, is in line with the EU’s Arctic Policy and the Youth Action Plan in EU external relations.
“Today, the EU stands with the more than 476 million indigenous peoples – in the Arctic and worldwide – and celebrates their resilience and the vibrant diversity of their cultures,” added Borrell, a Spanish national.