|Statement by Mr. Han Qing of the Chinese Delegation at the Third Committee of the 67th Session of the General Assembly on Agenda Item 66: Rights of Indigenous Peoples|
Indigenous peoples, as a special group, have made valuable and unique contributions to the development of a diversified human society. However, due to certain reasons, some of which can be traced to history and some are found in reality, indigenous peoples in many countries have become vulnerable groups in the society, facing difficulty in gaining full recognition and respect for their legitimate rights. Therefore, countries concerned and the international community are duty bound to promote and protect the basic human rights and freedom of indigenous peoples, to secure the natural environment and resources they rely on for survival, and to cherish and safeguard their traditional cultures.
Confronted with current multiple challenges of the ever deepening international financial crisis, climate change, food crisis and natural disasters, indigenous peoples who are less resistant to these risks find themselves in a more difficult situation. Relevant UN agencies and countries concerned should not allow the crisis to divert their attention to and lessen their investment in the social and economic development of indigenous peoples. On the contrary, practical and effective measures should be taken to enhance capacity building of indigenous peoples based on their special situations and needs, so as to minimize the negative impact of the crisis on their rights and interests.
In 2007, the GA adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which set down basic principles for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. It’s a milestone on the road to justice, equality and development for indigenous peoples. While the international community has done a lot in implementing the Declaration in the past five years, there is still a long way to go and concerted efforts are urgently needed.
The UN proclamation of the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People is a positive initiative. Now that the Second Decade is coming to an end, efforts to realize the various objectives have entered a critical stage. While implementing the various recommendations of the Decade, the international community should also work on the advocacy and implementation of the Declaration, so that efforts in these two aspects can complement and reinforce each other.
The GA will hold the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014, which reflects once again the importance the international community attaches to the development of indigenous peoples. China supports the holding of the World Conference, and hopes that in-depth and constructive discussions will be carried out on how to better safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples and implement the Declaration.
Although there are neither indigenous people nor indigenous issues in China, we steadfastly support the promotion and protection of basic human rights and freedom of the world’s indigenous peoples. For years, it has actively supported and participated in relevant activities of the UN, including those of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. In the future, the Chinese government will continue to work with others and play a proactive and constructive part in safeguarding the rights and interests of indigenous peoples, promoting their full participation in economic and social development, and pushing for the comprehensive implementation of the Declaration.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.