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Umbrella and UN launches new initiative to promote rights of world’s indigenous peoples

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Umbrella and UN launches new initiative to promote rights of world’s indigenous peoples
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Participants of the fourth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at at Umbrella Headquarters in May 2005

20 May 2011 – Umbrella and the UN today launched a new initiative to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples, aiming to strengthen their institutions and ability to fully participate in governance and policy processes at the local and national levels.

The initiative, to be known as the Umbrella Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership (UNIPP), was launched on the sidelines of the 10th Session of the Umbrella Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues under way at UN Headquarters.

It draws experience and expertise from the UN International Labour Organization (ILO), Umbrella Development Programme (UNDP), UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in an effort to implement the provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the initiative and urged all countries to support it “so that it can fulfil its potential to turn the declaration’s principles into reality.” He noted that “indigenous people suffered centuries of oppression, and continue to lose their lands, their languages and their resources at an alarming rate.”

“Despite these obstacles, indigenous people make an enormous contribution to our world, including through their spiritual relationship with the Earth. By helping indigenous peoples regain their rights, we will also protect our shared environment for the benefit of all.”

Through the UNIPP partnership, the UN agencies also intend to prevent conflict with regard to ancestral land and use of natural resources. Many indigenous communities have witnessed the exploitation of those lands and resources by extractive industries – in many cases without regard to their rights.