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Updated On: Thursday, May 25 2017

Indigenous Forum Opens

Content by: South-South News

25 April 2017, New York, USA | South-South News — On the tenth anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Minister of Labor and Social Welfare of Guatemala said that “more substantial advances” for indigenous peoples are to be expected. Aura Leticia Teleguario Sincal, who is of Mayan descent, said, “Indigenous peoples, once again, having adopted the Declaration, have reinstated the peoples’ struggle.” The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, she said “faces a great challenge to promote and especially intensify these advances so that ‘We the People’ can reach such development.”

Speaking to journalists in New York on April 24, Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, the Chair of the Forum, said, “In order to achieve the 2030 Agenda objectives, it would be a mistake not to include indigenous peoples. Otherwise we would have 370 million people left without a voice, and there cannot be development without 370 million people present.”

For his part, Willie Littlechild, a Chief of the Cree nation in Canada, spoke about the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in Standing Rock, North Dakota.

Littlechild said, “The Standing Rock tribe standing up for their mother nature, mother earth, in the way that they did, yes, attracted global attention, but also it spoke for a lot of other indigenous areas, indigenous territories and indigenous peoples who have been faced and are facing similar issues.”

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a comprehensive statement emphasizing the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations.

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