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Time to focus on health and well-being of Indigenous Peoples- UN Chief

United Nations Secretary General, ban Ki Moon (UN file photo)

United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon is calling on the international community to help improve the health and well-being of  Indigenous Peoples across the world.

He listed them as inadequate sanitation and housing, lack of prenatal care, widespread violence against women, and high rates of diabetes, drug and alcohol abuse, youth suicide and infant mortality.

Ban issued the call for those to “preventable” problems to be addressed in a message to mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples being observed on Sunday, August 9, 2015.

“These issues must be urgently addressed as part of the post-2015 development agenda in culturally appropriate ways that meet indigenous peoples’ conceptions of and aspirations for well-being,” he said.

He noted that the period of the Millennium Development Goals is drawing to a close to be succeeded by a post-2015 development agenda designed to advance inclusion and shared prosperity.  He explained that that people’s agenda is a concrete plan of action for ending poverty in all its dimensions, irreversibly, everywhere, and leaving no one behind.

“On this International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, I call on the international community to ensure that they are not left behind. To create a better, more equitable future, let us commit to do more to improve the health and well-being of indigenous peoples,” he said.

In keeping with the 2007 General Assembly Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the UN Chief said on the 2015 International Day the World’s Indigenous Peoples “we are focusing attention on the health and well-being” of that segment of the population.

“The Declaration affirms the right to maintain indigenous health practices as well as to have access to all social and health services for the enjoyment of the highest standards of physical and mental health.  We must make every effort to support indigenous peoples’ rights and aspirations as affirmed in the Declaration,” he said.

Guyana has nine Indigenous tribes. While their villages are governed by councils headed by Toshaos, at the central government level there is a special ministry responsible for their affairs.