"I am with you" Ban tells Indigenous Peoples

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A view of participants in the General Assembly Hall during the opening ceremony of the Fifteenth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

The world's indigenous peoples have been urged to remain engaged in an on-going consultation process that may give them a bigger voice at the United Nations.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon was speaking on Friday at the close of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

In his final address to delegates attending the annual event, he said they had "made important strides together."

Matthew Wells has more.

The Secretary General, who leaves the UN's top job at the end of the year, pointed to two "milestones" during his 10 year tenure.

Namely the adoption in 2007 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

He said they were the result of "close partnerships" between the indigenous, and Member States.

He said indigenous peoples had a lot to thank the forum for as well, which had put their issues firmly on the UN agenda during the past ten years.

But Mr Ban said that much remained to be done on indigenous rights, especially when it came to conflict over land and territory, and including them in peace processes around the world.

"I call on Member States, on indigenous peoples and the entire UN system to work together to address these and other serious concerns. As you know, the President of the General Assembly has launched consultations on enabling the participation of indigenous peoples' representatives and institutions in meetings of relevant UN bodies. I urge you to remain engaged and actively participate in this important consultation process."

He ended with a person note of "heartfelt thanks" to the forum, praising members' generosity and openness.

"You can always count on me" he added, "and the United Nations."

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1’22″

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