The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 27 Member States established in 1951. Its legislative and executive powers are divided between the EU main institutions: the European Parliament (co-legislative authority), the Council of the European Union (co-legislative and executive authority) and the European Commission (executive authority). In addition, the EU has its own diplomatic service, the European External Action Service (with EU Delegations throughout the world).
The EU is part of the international process of promoting and protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Four EU Member States have ratified ILO Convention No 169 and the EU supported the adoption of the UNDRIP in 2007 as well as the Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014.
Indigenous Peoples have always been “data warriors”. Our ancient traditions recorded and protected information and knowledge through art, carving, song, chants and other practices. Deliberate efforts to expunge these knowledge systems were part and parcel of colonisation, along with state-imposed practices of counting and classifying Indigenous populations. As a result, Indigenous Peoples often encounter severe data deficits when trying to access high-quality, culturally-relevant data to pursue their goals but an abundance of data that reflects and serves government interests regarding Indigenous Peoples and their lands.
The concept of Indigenous Data Sovereignty is a relatively recent one, with the first major publication on the topic only appearing in 2016. Indigenous Data Sovereignty is defined as the right of Indigenous Peoples to own, control, access and possess data that derive from them, and which pertain to their members, knowledge systems, customs or territories.,, Indigenous Data Sovereignty is supported by Indigenous Peoples’ inherent rights of self-determination and governance over their peoples, territories and resources as affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), as well as in domestic treaties. Indigenous Data Sovereignty recognises that data is a strategic resource and provides a framework for the ethical use of data to advance collective Indigenous wellbeing and self-determination.,
Indigenous youth are aware that the world and its regions are going through a time of change marked, on the one hand, by key actors committed to respecting human rights and, on the other, by current movements ranged against the implementation of those rights.
The global situation in which Indigenous Peoples find themselves as a result of COVID-19 has specific features that differ from those of the general population, mainly due to geographical, cultural and historical conditions and contexts which, in turn, are different in each of the seven socio-cultural regions in which the world's Indigenous Peoples live.
It is important to remember that despite historical efforts to achieve recognition of the individual and collective human rights of Indigenous Peoples, they continue to live in a situation of particular vulnerability. Indigenous Peoples have demonstrated their resilience, mainly due to their own community processes and their lands and territories. Indigenous youth from different regions of the world have made great efforts to incorporate their perspectives into dialogues and policy agendas as a priority. In the current context of social and health emergency, there is a visible lack of progress in eradicating poverty and hunger and in promoting peace and justice in the world, to name just two of the Sustainable Development Goals. We must therefore demand real commitment from states to meet the objectives to which they have signed up.