The Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED), Thursday, called on the federal government and stakeholders to ensure that the voice of FCT original inhabitants resonates in the global context of the struggle for the rights of indigenous people.
The Executive Director of CHRICED, Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, while briefing newsmen in Abuja preparatory to the 2022 United Nations International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples, expressed concern that figures from the UN paint dire pictures of the realities of the largely marginalised and excluded people around the world.
He said the data showed, for instance, that indigenous people account for only five percent of the global population, but constitute 15 percent of the poorest across the globe.
According to him, looking at the plight of women, the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and gender – based violence had accentuated the plight of the marginalised.
He said as global citizens count down to the celebration of the UN day, it is important to state that engaging the issues of indigenous peoples is not only about the gloomy aspect of the injustices they have had to endure over time.
In his words, “This international day is marked on the 9th of August every year to draw attention to the diverse human rights and governance challenges affecting an estimated 476 million indigenous peoples living in as many as 90 countries around the world.
“By Resolution 49/214 of 23rd December 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples shall be observed on 9 August every year.
“The date marks the day of the first meeting, in 1982, of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights.
“This Special Day is also an avenue to celebrate, introspect and reflect in the context of what the world is missing by not empowering indigenous peoples.
“Indigenous people may have been marginalized and overawed by other dominant groups over the years, but they bring a lot to the table in terms of knowledge, cultural repositories and key strategies for protecting the environment and mother earth.
“Marking the Day is a veritable opportunity to listen and learn from indigenous people, who have a lot to teach our world, which continually gallops from one global crisis to another.
“The point to note is that while indigenous populations around the globe may be in the minority where they are domiciled, they nonetheless have many contributions to make to the advancement of humankind, be it in the form of age-long practices, and knowledge systems they have preserved over time.
“Little wonder, this year’s commemoration of the World Day of Indigenous Peoples is themed around the contributions of indigenous women. The theme is about the Role of Indigenous Women in the Preservation and Transmission of Traditional Knowledge.
“Since the start of the project of Promoting the Rights of the Original Inhabitants in the Federal Capital Territory, the preservation and promotion of the culture, and local knowledge of FCT Original Inhabitants has been a fundamental aspect of the objectives of this intervention,” he said.