The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, José Francisco Cali Tzay, issues the following statement to mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August:
“Today, as we mark the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, they are still facing severe challenges due to the COVID-19, more than a year after the outbreak of the pandemic. It is especially concerning that even recovery efforts are having negative impacts on indigenous peoples.
Economic recovery measures have prioritized and supported the expansion of business operations at the expense of indigenous peoples, their lands and the environment. Worldwide, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a catalyst for States to promote mega-projects without adequate consultation with indigenous peoples.
To avoid making the situation even worse, I urge States to involve representatives, leaders and traditional authorities of indigenous peoples, including those living in urban areas, in the design and implementation of recovery policies.
To mark the International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples, I also would like to recognize the resilience of indigenous peoples and the exercise of their right to self-determination in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the hardships they face.