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Mikser at the UN: states must contribute more to defending indigenous people

21.09.2017

On 21 September Foreign Minister Sven Mikser said at the discussion on indigenous rights at the UN, organised by Estonia and the European Commission, that countries must contribute more to defending indigenous people.

“The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted ten years ago by the UN General Assembly has not demonstrated the desired progress. There continue to be gaps in the protection of indigenous rights. In many countries, the economic, social and cultural rights of indigenous people are not respected. In many parts of the world, the situation of indigenous rights defenders has also deteriorated,” the minister said. Mikser called countries to fully implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“I am convinced that indigenous people increase diversity in the world and enrich our culture. Estonians, who belong to the Finno-Ugric community, also have a unique language and distinctive traditions that must be preserved and protected. They demonstrate our roots and origin,” Mikser added.

Introducing the cultural programme that followed, Estonian Ambassador to the UN Sven Jürgenson said that although the world has broadened in many ways, it should not become narrower or smaller in the cultural sense. “We must remember that the true wealth of the world is its cultural diversity and it is our common responsibility to preserve it,” the Ambassador said.

There are more than 370 million people from 90 countries among indigenous people. They make up less than 5% of the global population, but 15% of them live in extreme conditions and face exclusion and human rights violations every day.

Photographs: https://flic.kr/p/YJEFFZ; https://flic.kr/p/YG5aPW; https://flic.kr/p/XDWv2m

Additional information:

Armo Vask
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Communication Department
armo.vask@mfa.ee
+372 637 7618
+372 5666 8581

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