Friday, September 14, 2007

Morales Calls National Celebration as UN Passes Declaration

Cochabamba, Sept 13 (DigitalWarriorMedia). – President Evo Morales Ayma celebrated the approval of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People by the General Assembly of the United Nations, describing it as a historical victory.

Morales was in Cochabamba on Thursday, distributing 115 tractors to 45 municipalities of the department and to the Federación de Regantes Cochabambinos. The President interrupted his speech to inform the crowd of the UN’s approval.

He noted how this passage was a historical landmark for the indigenous movement and recalled the many years of struggle in which the attempts of indigenous peoples to obtain respect for their rights were undone in the corridors of the international institution.

“I bring an important, historical announcement to you, not only of a national but international level. They finished informing us that the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People has been approved, after 20 years of debate, in the United Nations,” Morales expressed before the crowd that had gathered to receive the tractors.

He announced that 11 countries abstained from voting, 4 voted against, but 143 countries approved the Declaration presented to the plenary session of the General Assembly, by Peru’s Ambassador to the UN, Luis Enrique Chávez.

The four votes against the declaration were from the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Those abstaining were Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, the Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine.

Morales expressed that this was a great passage in the fight for indigenous people and that the rights that native peoples had always possessed, but which had been denied to them, will now be exerted totally.

The declaration which consists of 46 articles, prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples, promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them, and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and social development.

It also indicates respect for the rights of the world’s indigenous people to their lands and access to the natural resources of their territories, the preservation of traditional knowledge and the right to self-determination.

According to Morales, these rights were never accepted by countries before, but that now they were accepted internationally with a massive vote in favor of indigenous people.

The President recalled previous meetings held with international representatives in Geneva - in the Commission on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples - that some countries, especially the United States, indicated natives belonged to a sub-national class, a third category of citizenship.

He acknowledged that the fight of the ancestors and leaders such as Tupac Katari and Bartolina Sisa - who committed themselves to fighting against injustice, inequality and racism - is now translated into a fortified movement on a world-wide level.

“Those of us who still deal with the ignorant ones, idiots, animals now understand, that the entire world recognizes that it is necessary to eliminate racism,” asserted Morales while denouncing the groups that look “to knock down the Indian President” because they can not accept that poor men are making changes in Bolivia.

International Call

The Head of State announced that in order to commemorate this historical event that he will summon the international indigenous movement to Bolivia from October 10-12.

On October 12, a celebration will be prepared, in answer to the 1492 invasion of Christopher Columbus that imposed policies and programs that retarded the development of the country and sacked the nation’s natural resources.

Organizations of farmers, federations, and unions have been called upon to manage sending invitations to the 134 countries that voted in favor of the declaration so that the indigenous movements can participate in a grand celebration for the rights of the people.

Translated from ABI



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