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Statement by Mr. Chu Guang of the Chinese Delegation at the Third Committee of the 71st GA under the Item "Rights of Indigenous Peoples"

2016/10/17

Madam Chair,

In recent years, the international community has done a lot of work in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples and achieved positive progress. However, because of historical reasons, many indigenous people living in some developed countries still suffer from discrimination and injustice. They find themselves at the bottom and margin of the society, with low income, lack of respect for their languages and cultures, few opportunities of education and no guarantee for their fundamental rights. As such, they face various challenges in life and development.

Goals 2 and 5 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted last year have incorporated elements relating to indigenous peoples, including raising the income of indigenous residents and ensuring their equal access to land and all levels of education. The countries concerned should take the implementation of the 2030 Agenda as an opportunity to show political will, pay attention to poverty eradication and economic development of their indigenous peoples by really improving their situation in such aspects as employment, education, health and housing. The legislations and policies on protecting the rights and interests of indigenous peoples must be put into practice in order to ensure that they share the benefits of economic and social development and to realize the commitment of the 2030Agenda of leaving no one behind.

Various UN agencies need to effectively implement the system-wide action plan aimed at translating the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into reality, reinforce oversight and push the governments of the developed countries concerned to implement in good faith the UN Declaration and the Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

China welcomes the participation of the representatives and organizations of indigenous peoples in the UN meetings affecting their interests, so that the relevant UN mechanisms could better reflect the interests and aspirations of indigenous peoples. The current mechanism for and practice of the participation of indigenous peoples in UN meetings remain effective but can be further improved. The concept of indigenous people is anoutcome of the colonial history. Not all countries have indigenous people, still less should the concept of native people be mixed up with that of indigenous people. The specific arrangements for promoting the participation of indigenous peoples in UN meetings should ensure that the purposes and principles of the UN Charter be followed, the sovereignty, territorial integrity or political unity of member states be respected and the inter-governmental nature of the United Nations be effectively safeguarded. The relevant consultative process should be led by the UN member states and maintain its inter-governmental nature.

China welcomes the compilation of views submitted by the group of four advisors appointed by the PGA and noticed the remaining divergence of views among member states. We hope that all sides will continue to engage in full consultations and reach a universally acceptable conclusion based on consensus, which can both promote the participation of real representatives and organizations of indigenous peoples in UN meetings and prevent the access to the UN of some NGOs in the name of “indigenous people”. It is necessary to avoid acting in too much haste or prejudge the result of the consultations without the absence of consensus. China will continue to actively cooperate with the advisors, maintain communication with all sides and play an active and constructive role in advancing the consultative process on the promotion of the participation of indigenous peoples in UN meetings.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

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