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Statement by Mr. Liang Heng of the Chinese delegation at the Third Committee of the 68th Session of the General Assembly on Agenda Item 66: Rights of Indigenous peoples

2013-10-21 08:00

Mr. Chairman,

China has taken note of the report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and commends the fruitful work of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in advancing the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples.

As a special group in human society, indigenous peoples have made valuable and unique contributions to the diversified development of civilization. However, due to certain historical and factual reasons, many indigenous peoples are still living at the bottom and on the margins of society with a lack of full recognition of and respect for their legitimate rights. The international community is thus duty-bound to ensure that indigenous peoples get to share the fruits of socio-economic development, to protect their basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, and to preserve their natural environment and traditional cultures essential for their survival. In this regard, China would like to make the following observations:

First, carry forward the global undertaking of promoting the development of indigenous peoples. China appreciates the efforts made by the international community in recent years to promote the establishment of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The upcoming World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014 will provide an opportunity for us to further build the political will and advance the global indigenous peoples’ cause. China supports the convening of the Conference, and expects in-depth discussions on better safeguarding the rights of indigenous peoples during the Conference. We look forward to the participation by the organizations of indigenous peoples and NGOs in accordance with relevant resolutions and rules of procedure of the General Assembly.

Second, seize the year of 2015 to facilitate the full implementation of the Declaration. 2015 is both the target year for the achievement of the MDGs and the starting point of the Post-2015 Development Agenda. China supports the approach that the rights, perspectives and needs of indigenous peoples should be fully taken into account in drafting the Post-2015 Development Agenda. We call on countries concerned to seize this opportunity to translate the political will into actual actions in an effort to fully implement the Declaration by putting into practice all the legislations and policies pertaining to the protection of the rights and interests of indigenous peoples.

Third, pay greater attention to the development of indigenous women, children, elderly persons and persons with disabilities. The special situation of the above-mentioned groups often gives rise to double discrimination, making them more likely to be pushed to the margins of the society and plunged into a vicious circle in terms of access to medical care, education and employment, as well as participation in social life. The international community should make concerted efforts, focus on poverty reduction and economic empowerment of these groups, and take measures to eliminate social discrimination against them, thus promoting their social integration and common development.

Mr. Chairman,

Although there is no indigenous people in China, China steadfastly supports the promotion and protection of the basic human rights and freedoms of global indigenous peoples. Over the years, China has been actively supporting and participating in the 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 role 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.

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