Kratie, August 9, 2014: One thousand one hundred participants joined together to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People in Cambodia in Kratie Province under the theme “Bridging the Gap: Implementing the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”. The representatives in this worldwide occasion were H.E Try Meng, Secretary of States of Rural Development Ministry, H.E Sor Chomrong, Kratie’s Provincial Governor, Ms. Wan-Hea Lee, Representative of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Cambodia, the representatives of Indigenous communities, Mr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director of the NGO Forum and other NGOS, development partners and villagers representatives.
The main objective of this event was to enhance indigenous people’s (IP) rights through public recognition and to raise people’s general awareness of IP’s culture and issues in Cambodia:
- To strengthen and enhance the value of indigenous peoples (IPs) self-identity, with a focus on the traditional practices and customs, art and history of the IPs
- To enhance recognition and respect for the rights of IPs in Cambodia, and to accept ethnic groups as managers of land and natural resources in accordance with national and international laws related to rights of IPs
- To seek for both, national and international support to raise awareness about the general livelihoods of IPs and focus on indigenous peoples management of natural resources as well as communal land registration.
- To foster indigenous peoples chances to enhance their living while maintaining their identity and culture in a sustainable manner in accordance with national and international laws related to IPs
“Regardless of who they are, IP deserve the rights to live as we do. They have their own cultures and traditions which have existed for a longtime. However, their rights and properties are being abused by development projects for the last two decades and so far there have been no proper solutions to their issues yet. I do hope that this international celebration will attract more attention from the government and development partners to look even closer into their problems and help resolve long standing disputes,” said Tek Vannara, Executive Director of The NGO Forum on Cambodia. “I am optimistic that this event will enable all the IP to learn more about their rights and be able to stand strong for them,” he added.
In addition to the national event in Kratie, International Day of the World’s IP was also celebrated in four different locations; Mondolkiri, Rattanakiri, Koh Kong and Preah Vihear.
The first celebration of International Day of the World’s IP in Cambodia was organized in 2005 which was initiated by Department of Ethnic Minorities Development of Ministry of Rural Development (MRD). Subsequently, MRD cooperated with civil society organizations and partners and has celebrated this occasion every year since 2005 in different provinces.