Friday, December 2, 2011

Indigenous Peoples' Plight

Dec 2, 2011 (IPS) - In polished versions of U.S. history, the near-extermination of Native Americans in the United States is an unsightly blemish that continues to be glossed over to this day. Yet the struggles of indigenous peoples are not exclusive to the United States and have grown increasingly complex in modern times.Overlooked and marginalised in the vast majority of the 70-plus countries which have indigenous peoples living within their borders, the 370 million indigenous peoples across the globe are considered disproportionately disadvantaged compared to their non-indigenous counterparts.The United Nations has developed various platforms and mechanisms, namely the advisory body the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNFPII) and the Inter-Agency Support Group on Indigenous Issues (IASG), to address these noticeable gaps in rights, health, education and more between indigenous and general populations."Many countries do not acknowledge the existence of indigenous peoples," Sonia Heckadon, pro tempore chair of the Inter-agency Support Group (IASG) on Indigenous Issues, told IPS. Nor do many governments take their needs into consideration, she added.

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