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Indigenous Leader Asks UN To Increase Funding For Indigenous Health Initiatives

Following the wide range of challenges that indigenous people or their communities face, the UN Chief Ban Ki-moon asked developed countries to fully support efforts to improve those marginalized communities. Among the challenges the UN chief asked donors to help alleviate among those indigenous people are inadequate sanitation, drug and alcohol abuse, lack of proper food, housing, and diabetes. Other challenges this group of people face are lack of parental care, youth suicide, violence against the female gender, and infant mortality among others.

The United Nations Secretary General’s message comes at the time the world marked International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on August 11, 2015. Showing his concern for these communities, Mr. Ki-moon observed that although these challenges may seem many, they can actually be prevented. He noted that the United Nations is keen to see effort made by various countries in a bid to improve the lives of indigenous peoples. He however raised a concern over the ever-emerging challenges that if there will not be improved funding, then the problems facing indigenous people will still be with mankind.

Ban stressed when he said, “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.”

What Ban was trying to say is that these problems facing our brothers and sisters can actually be handled. This is even made clear by the UN Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In that declaration, indigenous people have the same equal rights as others. They are entitled to access all social services like other people who live in urban centers and come from areas that are considered affluent because of their geographical location. Besides, indigenous people have a fundamental right to access quality health services, the right to enjoy high standards of mental and physical health just like others that are not considered indigenous.

Mr. Ki-moon, who is known to speak passionately about human rights, expressed his feelings in a statement saying, “We must make every effort to support indigenous peoples’ rights and aspirations as affirmed in the Declaration.”

While opening the forum, Ban said that 2015 is a critical year, especially to indigenous peoples. Nonetheless, he was optimistic that their problems can be eminently prevented if world leaders joined hands. Ban concluded his speech by urging world leaders when he said, “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.”

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