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Statement of Zo Indigenous Forum on The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples Day 2011

Zo Indigenous Forum, General Headquarters take this opportunity and privilege to extends our warmest greetings to all the ‘Zo People’ around the globe on this occasion of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples .

On 13 September 2007, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). With the adoption of the Declaration, the UN has taken a major step forward in the promotion and protection of indigenous and tribal peoples' rights throughout the world.

Indigenous peoples number about 300 million, representing over 5,000 languages. They live in more than 70 countries in all of the world's regions, from the Arctic to the Amazon, from the Sahara to the Pacific Islands. The majority - more than 150 million - live in Asia, in countries such as Bangladesh, Burma, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Around 30 million indigenous peoples live in Latin America. In Bolivia, Guatemala and Peru, indigenous peoples make up over half the population. The Zo Indigenous people are living in India, Burma and Bangladesh.

Indigenous Peoples refer to a group of people identified by self-ascription and ascription by others, who have continuously lived as an organized community on communally bounded and defined territory and who have, under claims of ownership since time immemorial, occupied, possessed and utilize such territories, sharing common bonds of language, customs and traditions and other distinctive cultural traits. They have historical continuity with pre-colonial societies and form at present non dominant sectors of society and are determined to preserve develop and transmit to future generations their ancestral territories, and their ethnic identity, as the basis of their continued existence as peoples, in accordance with their own cultural patterns, social institutions and legal systems.

Zo Indigenous Forum earnestly appeals to all sections of the Zo Indigenous people around the globe to stand united, and appeals the people themselves to preserve and protect our social, economic and cultural identities and institutions and our traditional knowledge and the concerned authority to promote and protect the interest of the zo people.

On this auspicious day, we kindly request the government of India as has supported the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous people, for adoption as national law and to immediate ratification of the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (PRO 169)

We have the right of stand united again
Issued by Zo Indigenous Forum, Aizawl, Mizoram, India
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