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European Commission


Brussels, 9 August 2013

Declaration by the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on behalf of the European Union on the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples

“Today, as we celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, we reaffirm the EU's support to them across the globe. We join them in celebrating their rich cultural heritage, and pay tribute to the enormous contribution their traditions and knowledge have made to the world's cultural heritage. The EU has always been a staunch supporter of the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration is a key tool for promoting human rights, but the challenge remains in putting it into practice. Regrettably, discrimination against and unequal treatment of indigenous peoples continues around the world. The EU pays tribute to defenders of indigenous peoples' rights, who in many countries are exposed to particular risks and acute repression, as shown by numerous international reports, including reports by the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders.

The EU seeks to integrate human rights into all aspects of its external policies. The EU raises the rights of indigenous peoples wherever relevant in its political dialogues with third countries and regional organisations, and at multilateral forums such as the United Nations. It also gives financial support to civil society projects, to indigenous peoples' delegates at UN bodies and relevant activities of the ILO. This year, the EU has launched a call for proposals under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) with the aim of promoting rights of indigenous peoples. It is also committed to review and further develop its policy in the run-up to the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples."

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