http://www.mapuche.nl/
 

aug.
10
2007

2007-08-10
UNPO Joins Indigenous Celebrations.
http://www.unpo.org/article.php?id=7050
by UNPO

The International Day for the Indigenous Peoples celebrated on 9 Augustas served to raise awareness on how Indigenous Peoples worldwide suffer marginalization, exploitation, expulsion from their land and destruction of their culture, identities and habitats. In The Hague different indigenous groups such as the Mapuche, South Moluccas and West Papua staged a traditional ceremony to commemorate the day.

On 9 August, Indigenous Peoples worldwide held ceremonies in recognition of their rights. The International Day for the Indigenous Peoples has served to raise awareness on how Indigenous Peoples worldwide suffer marginalization, exploitation, expulsion from their land and destruction of their culture, identities and habitats. Every year a growing number of indigenous communities are resisting and speaking up for their own rights.

The Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples (NCIV) has supported indigenous peoples in their cause for 35 years and organised this event in The Hague together with the organisation Bangsa Adat Alifuru (Moluccas) to raise awareness on the most urgent indigenous peoples concerns as well as to celebrate the contributions that these peoples make to humanity through their rich civilizations. UNPO was present in support of the event, which included the participation of several UNPO Member peoples, such as the Mapuche, South Moluccas and West Papua.

NCIV director Leo van der Vlist emphasized in his Opening Statement that Indigenous peoples have similar concerns and land rights for instance is a cross cutting issue for them because they live off the land and is very important in all kinds of ways, economically, spiritually and socially. Rafael Railaf, leader Mapuche, added: "This day is a very important opportunity to raise global awareness on indigenous issues. We as Mapuches want to tell the world that we are not only losing our land but our right to preserve our identity and cultural heritage." West Papua representative Oridek Ap said human rights issues are crucial: "We are very concerned
about the safety of our human rights defenders working in West Papua, it is extremely hard for them to write reports on the current situation and if they can't who will do it?"

Six indigenous groups, the Alifuru (Maluku), Papua's (West Papua), Mapuche (Chile), Turkana (Kenia), Caribs and Arowaks (Surinam) and Kalmuks (Russian Federation) held a joint ceremony with traditional dances and music near the peace tree in The Hague, the city of peace and justice, to express and emphasize their strong mutual commitment to promote a universal framework for indigenous peoples' rights, social justice and reconciliation.

Participants to the event also expressed support for the urgent adoption of the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by United Nations member states at the General Assembly. The NCIV said in a statement that it would be a tremendous victory for indigenous peoples should the Declaration be accepted by UN General Assembly in the next weeks. After more than 20 years of negotiations, the Declaration adopted in June 2006 by the Human Rights Council, establishes international human rights standards for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples.

In a statement, Louise Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Special Rapporteur, have also said that the adoption of the Declaration by the Human Rights Council should be seen as "providing impetus for renewed efforts by the international community to address the pressing concerns of the world's 370 million indigenous people, including perhaps the most urgent issue of all: poverty and marginalization."