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Foreign Ministry Supports UN Activities for Right of Indigenous People to Self-Determination

14.06.2011

No. 216-E

The Foreign Ministry is allocating 19 500 euros to support the activities of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, the UN Trust Fund for the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People, and the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The goal of the activities of the UN funds and forum is to support the economic and social development of indigenous peoples, as well as their right to self-determination and to freely pursue the preservation of their language, culture and identity.

Foreign Minister Paet said that on today’s Day of Mourning it is important to think about the fact that the languages and traditions of many indigenous peoples, including our kindred peoples, and in danger of dying out. “Unfortunately the violation of the rights of indigenous peoples in different places all over the world continues. Their lives are in danger and their way of life and chances of survival are limited by various laws and activities,” he noted. Paet added that for Estonians, helping with the preservation of indigenous peoples is important for historical reasons. “This is all the more reason for us to think today about ensuring the protection of the human dignity and human rights of indigenous peoples – because many attempts have been made to break the Estonian people and culture,” stated the foreign minister.

Estonia has supported the activities of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples and the UN Trust Fund for the Second Decade since 1996 and the activities of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues since 2006.

The goal of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples is to support the participation of indigenous organisations and communities in the work of various working groups. The UN Trust Fund for the Second Decade includes the funding of the work of the Forum on Indigenous Issues and projects carried out to protect the rights of indigenous peoples. The activities of the aforementioned funds for creating a network of organisations and supporting indigenous peoples have been universally acknowledged by other donor countries as well as organisations of indigenous peoples.

The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is an advisory body at the UN Economic and Social Council. The forum has a mandate to discuss the economic and social development of indigenous peoples, their rights to culture, education and health care, and human rights. A representative of Estonia has been selected as a member of the Forum on Indigenous Issues for the 2011-2013 period.

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