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Implementing Declaration on Indigenous Rights Will Be Difficult or Impossible without Greater Awareness of Human Rights Values

Tuesday, 22 October 2013
Implementing Declaration on Indigenous Rights Will Be Difficult or Impossible without Greater Awareness of Human Rights Values

Without greater awareness of the human rights values and concerns encompassed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, its implementation would be “difficult, if not impossible”, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) heard today, as it began its general discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples.

The Declaration’s adoption by the General Assembly in 2007 had marked a “historic moment of recognition of the existence of indigenous peoples”, James Anaya, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said in his introductory remarks.  Despite the expression of commitment by States, however, the Declaration’s validity had been debilitated by repeated assertions that it was not legally binding and as such it was “merely aspirational”.  Even if that was the case, however, “States should aspire to implement it”, he urged.

Indigenous women, in particular, often faced “triple-discrimination on the basis of their indigenous identity, gender and economic status”, said Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Coordinator of the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.  In a statement delivered on his behalf by Daniela Bas, Director of the Division for Policy and Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said they could face discrimination both within the indigenous community and the broader one at large.

Echoing that sentiment, the representative of Belize, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community, noted that indigenous populations constituted about one third of the world’s poorest and most marginalized peoples.  Within that grouping, the situation of indigenous women and girls was ever more acute as they faced multiple forms of discrimination, based on their gender and ethnicity.  They were usually the segments of the population most subjected to extreme poverty, trafficking, illiteracy, lack of access to land, non-existent or poor health-care, and violence.

Read more at: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2013/gashc4074.doc.htm

Posted in : Indigenous

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