Press Release: Cuba will continue to support the just claims of indigenous peoples for the free exercise of their rights.

New York, 17 October 2016. “Although positive progress has been made in the establishment of human rights standards for indigenous peoples, who represent more than 5 percent of the world population, they continue to face serious violations of their rights every day. Violence, marginalization, dispossession of land, expulsion or forced relocation, denial of land rights among others constitute the unfortunate reality of indigenous communities in many areas of the world.”, highlighted at the Third Committee the Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, Mrs. Vilma Thomas, under Agenda item “Rights of indigenous peoples”. She noted that, in the case of Cuba alone, in slightly more than 30 years after colonization started, the population of 120,000 inhabitants was totally exterminated and called upon the international community to effectively recognize equality and the right to self-determination of indigenous peoples worldwide, as well as their right to maintain their own institutions, cultures and spiritual traditions, without suffering because of racism and discrimination.

In such a way, she restated the right of Andean indigenous peoples to fully enjoy their traditional and ancient rights, including the coca leaf chewing and reaffirmed the Cuban nation’s support for the right of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to defend and protect this tradition of its people.

At the end of her statement, in the name of Cuba, she supported the celebration of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and welcomed the outcome documents of the Conference in defending the right of these peoples to self-determination, in freely choosing their political status and pursuing their economic, social and cultural development. (Permanent Mission of Cuba to the United Nations)

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