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Indigenous Representatives To Meet At Un

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  • Indigenous Representatives To Meet At Un

    New York, May 12 2006 7:00PM
    More than 1,200 representatives of the world's indigenous people kick off a
    12-day meeting at the United Nations on Monday, naming education, health,
    human rights and the environment as among the major challenges they face in
    trying to improve their situation by the 2015 deadline for achieving the
    Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

    The fifth session of the 16-member Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, an
    independent expert group, will give hundreds of indigenous advocates a
    platform to voice concerns, recommend solutions and deliberate with Governments and
    the intergovernmental system on behalf of an estimated 370 million people in
    70 countries, according to the Forum's secretariat.

    "While they are from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds, they
    share common difficulties: lack of basic health care, limited access to
    education, loss of control over land, abject poverty, displacement, human rights
    violations, and economic and social marginalization," it said in a news release.

    The opening ceremony will launch the Programme of Action for the Second
    International Decade of World's Indigenous People, whose end overlaps with the
    MDG deadline in 2015.

    An increasing concern is the absence of information on HIV/ AIDS in
    indigenous communities and this will be prioritized at the 15 to 26 May session, the
    Forum said.

    "The timing of this meeting is very important, especially as Governments
    strengthen efforts concerning the Millennium Development Goals. The upcoming
    session will demand the need for inclusion of indigenous peoples in all
    evaluation and stricter monitoring processes on the progress on the Millennium
    Development Goals," said Elissavet Stamatopoulou, Chief of the Secretariat of the
    UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

    The meeting will also highlight inclusion of traditional knowledge and full
    participation of indigenous peoples in decisions that impact their lives,
    based on the principle of free, prior and informed consent.

    Efforts to raise indigenous issues at an international, intergovernmental
    level started in 1923, according to the news release. Chief Deskaheh of the
    Haudenosaunee, also known as the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, comprising
    the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora Nations, went to try
    to speak to the League of Nations in Geneva in defence of his people's right
    to live on their land, under their own laws and faith, the secretariat said.
    The following year New Zealand Maori Leader Ratana made a similar journey to
    Geneva to plead the cause of his people.

    Although neither one was allowed to speak to the League of Nations, their
    vision inspired the generations that followed, the Forum secretariat said.
    2006-05-12 00:00:00.000


    For more details go to UN News Centre at _

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