Annual UN Indigenous Peoples’ Forum Begins

Todadaho of the Onondaga Nation, giving the Opening Thanksgiving Address at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in the General Assembly Hall on Monday, May 16, 2011. The UN General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, sits behind him on the podium. (Photo credit: Kenneth Deer)

United Nations (UCTP Taino News) - The 10th Annual United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues opened yesterday at UN Headquarters in New York. More than 1300 delegates are expected to attend the forum over the next two weeks. The Permanent Forum (UNPFII) was established to advance the rights of the estimated 370 million Indigenous Peoples around the world.

This year the UNPFII will focus on reviewing progress made on issues ranging from economic and social development to the environment and ‘free, prior and informed consent’.

In his opening statement to the UNPFII,
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – adopted by the General Assembly in September 2007 – finally had the consensus support that it deserved.

“Now we need to make the declaration’s principles a reality,” he said. Mr. Ban also urged participants to raise their “voices” during the forum so that the world can hear about the threats and risks that indigenous communities continue to face.

Vanessa Inarunikia Pastrana, a Borikén Taino attending the UNPFII agreed stating “This is a historic process and our people need to be here so our future generations will know that we did not remain silent on issues important to our survival.”

UCTPTN 05.17.2011

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