Countries must contribute more to defending their indigenous peoples, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sven Mikser (SDE) said at a discussion on indigenous rights at the UN organized by Estonia and the European Commission.
"The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted 10 years ago by the UN General Assembly has not demonstrated the desired progress," Mikser was quoted by spokespeople as saying. "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 the defenders of indigenous rights has also deteriorated."
Mikser called on 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," he said. "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."
Introducing the cultural program 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 percent of the global population, but 15 percent of them live in extreme conditions and face exclusion and human rights violations every day.
Editor: Aili Vahtla