UN creates global partnership on rights of Indigenous peoples

The Peace Movement Aotearoa, from Aotearoa/New Zealand, http://www.converge.org.nz/pma, is announcing that the United Nations established the first global inter-agency initiative to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

The initiative, called the United Nations-Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership (UNIPP), is a commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and calls for its full realization through the mobilization of financial cooperation and technical assistance.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the initiative and urged all countries “to support this new initiative so that it can fulfill its potential to turn the Declaration’s principles into reality.” He noted that “indigenous people suffered centuries of oppression, and continue to lose their lands, their languages and their resources at an alarming rate.

The aim of the UNIPP is to secure the rights of indigenous peoples, strengthen their institutions and ability to fully participate in governance and policy processes at the local and national levels, including conflict prevention in regard to ancestral land and use of natural resources. Many indigenous communities are witness to exploitation of these lands and resources by extractive industries – in many cases without regard to their rights.

There are more than 370 million indigenous peoples in some 90 countries accounting for 15 per cent of the world’s poor and one-third of the 900 million people living in extreme poverty. Indigenous people also tend to experience low levels of education, increased health problems, higher crime rates and human rights abuses.

The UNIPP will help address these problems and other social, economic, and political issues by working with governments and indigenous peoples’ organization through various means including training, promotion of dialogue, the establishment of consultative processes, legislative review and reform, as well as conflict prevention.

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