And because their languages and cultures are still under constant threat, indigenous peoples have taken a heavy hit from Covid-19 pandemic.
Moreover, their lack of participation in decision-making often means that their special needs are being ignored or ignored.
“As we work to recover from the epidemic, we must prioritize inclusion and sustainable development that protects and benefits all people,” said a senior UN official.
She took advantage and attacked
The UN Secretary-General has said indigenous peoples’ lands are among the world’s most biodiverse and resource-rich, which has led to increased exploitation, conflicts over resources and land abuse.
“Violence and attacks against indigenous leaders, women and men who work to defend indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories and resources have grown significantly,” he added.
Mr. Guterres urged everyone to “do better” in promoting inclusive and participatory laws and policies with strong and accountable institutions that deliver justice for all; To “promote and support” the right to health for people and the environment.
“We must implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesHe stressed that it is “indispensable for investigation.” Sustainable Development Goals (Sustainable Development Goals), And their voices must be heard. “
The Secretary-General recalled the need to ensure “equal and meaningful participation, full inclusion and empowerment” for the realization of human rights and opportunities for all indigenous peoples.
End stigma and discrimination
President of the General Assembly Volkan BozkirIn preparation for the next pandemic, he stressed, “We must involve indigenous communities who are more at risk of contracting infectious diseases arising as a result of the destruction of ecosystems from extractive industries and climate change,” he said.
Mr. Bozkir said, since indigenous peoples are the stewards of more than 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity, they must be involved in addressing the climate crisis.
“The decision-makers must reflect the population that is governed by the decisions taken,” he said. “It is the only approach that will end stigma, discrimination and cultural threats, and improve access to vital services such as education, health care and justice.”
The strength in versatility
Highlighting the “intrinsic link between language and identity,” the association president encouraged everyone to use International Decade of Indigenous Languages, Which will be launched next year, to promote it widely.
Our strength lies in our diversity – President of the General Assembly
“Our strength lies in our diversity. If we fail to achieve this, we will not only fail indigenous communities, but everyone everywhere,” said the UN official.
Violations of human rights law must stop
Forum chairperson Anne Norgham said violence against indigenous peoples, as well as indigenous human rights defenders, was a “major concern”.
It stated that at least 331 human rights defenders were killed in 2020; Two-thirds of them were working in the field of environmental and indigenous rights.
And in the case of murdered indigenous women, “the vast majority of these crimes” go unpunished.
Ms. Norgam emphasized that these atrocities “do not happen in a vacuum.”
She testified, “As governments increasingly criminalize the activities of indigenous peoples’ organizations and use anti-terrorism legislation to harm and eliminate their human rights activities, we see a sharp rise in violence against indigenous human rights defenders.”
“This must stop,” she said, describing them as clear violations of internationally recognized human rights law that “make our societies less stable, less secure and less equal.”