Historic Victory for Tribal Peoples
09 Oct 2007
Indigenous Peoples around the world are celebrating the UN GeneralAssembly’s approval of the Declaration on the Rights of IndigenousPeoples.
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UN Approves Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Indigenous Peoples around the world are celebrating the UN General Assembly’s approval of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration was approved by an overwhelming majority in a historic vote in New York. The vote is the climax of 22 years of intensive debate and negotiation. Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States voted against the Declaration, whilst 143 nations voted in favour and 11 abstained.
Botswana Bushman Jumanda Gakelebone, of First People of the Kalahari said: ‘We would like to say that we are really very happy and thrilled to hear about the adoption of the declaration. It recognises that governments can no longer treat us as second-class citizens and it gives protection to tribal peoples so that they will not be thrown off their lands like we were.’
There are more than 150 million tribal people worldwide, including over 100 uncontacted tribes. Survival, the only international organisation supporting tribal peoples worldwide, believes that although the Declaration is not legally binding, it will raise international standards in the same way as the Universal Declaration on human rights did nearly 60 years ago.
Survival Director, Stephen Corry, says: ‘The Declaration sets a benchmark by which the treatment of tribal and Indigenous Peoples can be judged and we hope it will usher in an era in which abuse of their rights is no longer tolerated. We believe the power of public opinion will make it harder and eventually impossi-ble, for governments and companies to oppress them.’
Kiplangat Cheruiyot, of Kenya’s Ogiek tribe said: ‘With the adoption of the Declaration, the lives of Indigenous Peoples will be improved on an equal footing with the rest of world citizens.’
We are living at a time when many teachings held by Tribal Peoples reveal a clear insight into the paths we must take.
To support Survival and see their new video, narrated by film star, Julie Christie, contact: Survival International, 6 Charterhouse Buildings, London, EC1M 7ET
Tel: +44 (0)20 7687 8700
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