Celebrating the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2021

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In December 1994, the United Nations decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (IPs) shall be celebrated on August 09 every year. That date marks the day of the first meeting of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982. People from all over the world are encouraged to share the UN’s message on protecting and promoting  IPs’ rights.

There are at least 19 indigenous languages in Cambodia. They broadly fall into two linguistic families: Austronesian, which includes the Jarai people, and Mon-Khmer, which includes the Brao, Kreung, Tumpoun, Bunong and Kui. Read more on topic page: Ethnic minorities and indigenous people.

The theme in 2021 is “Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract.”

A social contract is an unwritten agreement that people create to collaborate for social and economic benefits. IPs were never included in the social contract, and even they were affected by the socio-economic development in many countries. The agreement was only developed among the leading populations. Over these years, societies have tried to solve these problems via apologies, truth, reconciliation, and reformat the international level. Even though these efforts have been made, not all are embarked on ensuring that no one is left behind. A social contract based on genuine participant and partnership including IPs, therefore, is required.

Cambodia has 24 indigenous groups.

On the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (IPs), Open Development Cambodia (ODC) would like to celebrate IPs and highlight the significance and diversity of the IP community in Cambodia. ODC provides an open data source relevant to IPs to raise IP awareness, empower communities, and make their voice.

ODC has provided the information on 27 registered indigenous communal land in Cambodia with the interactive map to support the IPs. 556 news related to IPs has been published on websites to highlight the problems and IP development. IP areas in Cambodia, registered indigenous communal land, and self-identification of indigenous community maps strengthen the understanding of society related to the topic.

ODC has developed several profile pages which aim to raise awareness of the people regarding IPs and the Indigenous community in the country. Ethnic minorities and indigenous people topic page on ODC’s website focuses on the overview of IPs, laws, and policies related to IPs in Cambodia. The communal land topic page identifies the indigenous community property, obtaining collective title, and challenges protecting indigenous community rights. In recent years, within the industrial development in Cambodia, large areas of IPs land have been affected, as stated on the Industrial mining topic page.

To support indigenous data governance, integrate IPs inherent rights and needs into the indigenous data ecosystem, Open Development Initiative (ODI) and ODC collaborated with  Cambodia Indigenous People Organization (CIPO) and indigenous communities translated CARE principles for indigenous data governance to Khmer language. ODC and CIPO work closely to improve data collection and data literacy skills to build a centralized data repository for the region. On 03 January 2021, ODC collaborated with CIPO conducted a half-day virtue seminar on “Indigenous Data Sovereignty (IDS).”

As ODC continues to compile and generate accessible, reliable, and up-to-date open data sources, we would like to inspire further collaboration and action to protect IP communities and their cultures,  rights, and livelihoods.

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