UN / INDIGENOUS FORUM

15-May-2006
More than 1,200 representatives of the world's indigenous people kick off a 12-day meeting at the United Nations today, naming education, health, human rights and the environment as among the major challenges they face in trying to improve their situation by the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / INDIGENOUS

TRT: 1:54


SOURCE: UNIFEED

RESTRICTIONS: NONE


LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS


DATELINE: 15 MAY 2006, NEW YORK CITY


SHOTLIST:

FILE - UNIFEED

1. Med shot, UN Flag

15 MAY 2006, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, General Assembly Hall with delegates

3. Various shots, Indigenous delegates

4. Tilt down, General Assembly Hall

5. SOUNDBITE (English) Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General:

"It offers specific recommendations in the areas of development, the environment, education, health and human rights. It seeks to help indigenous people build better lives through full participation and partnerships. It aims to enable them to win respect for their identities, their languages and their cultures."

6. Med shot, man blowing conch shell

7. Various shots, Indigenous delegates

8. Various shots, drumming

9. Various shots, Indigenous delegates


STORYLINE:

More than 1,200 representatives of the world's indigenous people kick off a 12-day meeting at the United Nations today, naming education, health, human rights and the environment as among the major challenges they face in trying to improve their situation by the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).


UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a recorded message during the opening of the session, said that the Programme offers specific recommendations in the areas of development, the environment, education, health and human rights.


The fifth session of the 16-member Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, an independent expert group, will give hundreds of indigenous advocates a platform to voice concerns, recommend solutions and deliberate with Governments and the intergovernmental system on behalf of an estimated 370 million people in 70 countries, according to the Forum's secretariat.


While the world's Indigenous population come from diverse geographical and cultural backgrounds, they share common difficulties: lack of basic health care, limited access to education, loss of control over land, abject poverty, displacement, human rights violations, and economic and social marginalization.


Efforts to raise indigenous issues at an international, intergovernmental level started in 1923 when


Chief Deskaheh of the Haudenosaunee, also known as the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, comprising the Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora Nations, went to try to speak to the League of Nations in Geneva in defence of his people's right to live on their land, under their own laws and faith.

The following year New Zealand Maori Leader Ratana made a similar journey to Geneva to plead the cause of his people. Although neither one was allowed to speak to the League of Nations, their vision inspired the generations that followed.
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UNIFEED
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U060515c