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    Minister's Statement for UN International Day of World's Indigenous Peoples

    Statement of Honourable Sydney Allicock, Fourth Vice President and Minister of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs on the Occasion of the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

    9th August 2017


    On the occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2017, I extend fraternal greetings to all Indigenous Guyanese on behalf of the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs and the Government of Guyana.

    According to the United Nations, there are an estimated 370 million Indigenous people in the world, living across 90 countries. They make up less than five percent of the world’s population but account for 15 percent of the poorest. They speak an overwhelming majority of the world’s estimated 7,000 languages and represent 5,000 different counters.

    The Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs and the Government of Guyana recognize and celebrate the tremendous contribution of the Indigenous Peoples of Guyana, to our country’s rich cultural heritage and to the preservation of our environment and ecosystems. The culture and way of life of Guyana’s nine indigenous peoples are inextricably interwoven into the beautiful mosaic of Guyana’s cultural legacy and make our country richer for it. The nine indigenous peoples’ nations of Guyana have from time immemorial lived in harmony with the natural environment and by so doing have ensured the integrity of the ecosystems which are vital to the sustenance of all forms of life.

    Guyana today has over 80 percent of forest covering our land area and much of this is attributable to the indigenous peoples’ way of life which is distinctly compatible with nature. For Indigenous peoples, the forest like a mother gives all that is needed to live and flourish today and yet provide for generations tomorrow and that is why indigenous peoples guided by their cultural and spiritual values ensure that the forest remains standing and alive.

    The Ministry and the Government pledge that the rights of Indigenous peoples and in particular children and youth to quality education and health is given priority and celebrate the fact that today, indigenous peoples serve in all spheres of professional and other endeavours  and at every level of nation building.

    The Ministry and Government recognise the many challenges which still confront Guyana’s indigenous peoples and in this regard, the Ministry and Government renew its commitment to ensure that all outstanding land and resource rights issues of the indigenous peoples of Guyana are resolved in an amicable and just manner in keeping with the highest standards of human rights and applicable law.

    Guyana as a responsible member of the international community through the Government of Guyana and the Ministry of Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs also commits to fully complying with all its obligations to protect the rights of indigenous peoples as guaranteed under United Nations Conventions  and in international law.

    Wishing all a peaceful International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples 2017.

    May the flow continue

     

    Department of Public Information, Guyana

    August 8, 2017

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