There are 370 million Indigenous people around the world and spread across more than 90 countries. They belong to more than 5,000 different Indigenous peoples and speak more than 4,000 languages. Indigenous people represent about 5% of the world’s population. The vast majority of them – 70% – live in Asia.
Although they have different customs and cultures, they face the same harsh realities: eviction from their ancestral lands, being denied the opportunity to express their culture, physical attacks and treatment as second-class citizens.

Indigenous Peoples can be identified according to certain characteristics:
• Most importantly, they self-identify as Indigenous peoples
• There is a historical link with those who inhabited a country or region at the time when people of different cultures or ethnic origins arrived
• They have a strong link to territories and surrounding natural resources
• They have distinct social, economic or political systems
• They have a distinct language, culture and beliefs
• They maintain and develop their ancestral environments and systems as distinct peoples

Each of these characteristics may be more or less important depending on the situation. Indigenous Peoples are also known as First Peoples, Aboriginal Peoples, or Native Peoples. In some countries there are specific terms such as Adivasis (India) or Janajatis (Nepal).In Malaysia , they are called Orang Asli or Orang Asal as a group with wide diversity of tribes across East And West Malaysia.

Indigenous Peoples have a special relationship with the land on which they have lived for generations, sometimes for tens of thousands of years. They possess crucial knowledge about how to manage natural resources sustainably and act as guardians or custodians of the land for the next generation. Losing their land means a loss of identity.

Adapted from Amnesty International