"Far more needs to be done" to promote rights and access for indigenous

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Durga Prasad Bhattarai. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

"Far more needs to be done" to make the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples a reality, and involve them in decision-making, said the President of the UN General Assembly on Monday.

That call marked the beginning of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, at UN Headquarters, which runs through until 5 May.

More details from Matthew Wells.

The Declaration was adopted by the General Assembly nearly ten years ago, and that "milestone" anniversary will be celebrated through a High Level event on Tuesday.

At the official opening ceremony on Monday, Durga Prasad Bhattarai, the Nepalese Ambassador to the United Nations, spoke in his capacity as a Vice-President of the UN General Assembly.

He delivered a statement on behalf of the President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson, saying that a comprehensive draft text had been prepared following extensive consultations, suggesting concrete ways that indigenous peoples can be more involved in decision-making, in issues that affect their rights.

"With indigenous peoples continuing to suffer disproportionately from extreme poverty, social marginalization, systematic discrimination and structural barriers to accessing health care and education, far more needs to be done to fully realize the human rights of all indigenous peoples. And in this regard, there is no more important mechanism, than through the effective implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."

Ambassador Bhattarai said that the 2030 Agenda recognized the "particular vulnerabilities" faced by indigenous peoples, and "targeted strategies" were being pursued to ensure their full participation.

The voices of women needed to be heard in particular, he added, so that the development gains which 193 countries have committed to, reached all indigenous, everywhere.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'24"

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