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09.08.2004 General News

Kofi Annan lauds rich indigenous cultures

By GNA

Accra, Aug. 9, GNA - UN Secretary-General Busumuru Kofi Annan has said that the time had come to commemorate the richness of indigenous cultures and the contribution of indigenous people in the world. He said it was a chance for men and women everywhere to take stock of the situation of indigenous people in the world and of how much more needs to be done to improve their lives.

This was contained in a statement issued by the United Nations Information Centre in Accra on Monday on the 10th Anniversary of the International Day of the World's Indigenous People.

Busumuru Annan noted that for far too long, indigenous peoples' lands had been taken away, their cultures denigrated or directly attacked, their languages and customs suppressed.

He said their wisdom and tradition had been overlooked or exploited, their sustainable ways of developing natural resources dismissed and some were even faced with the threat of extinction. Busumuru Annan noted that indigenous peoples had been coming to the United Nations for many years to appeal for the support of the whole UN family.

"A dialogue and partnership with the UN has been launched in the context of the International Decade. That process needs to bear fruit through decisive action at the regional, national and local level included to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

"In those efforts, governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society must work to empower indigenous people and ensure their participation in decisions that affect their lives."

The UN Secretary-General said on the occasion of International Day of the World Indigenous People the world should remember the most fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter - peace, development and human rights.

He said the UN must reaffirm its determination to broaden the circle of solidarity for indigenous peoples so that these principles would be turned into practice for indigenous peoples everywhere.

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