Koh Kong, August 09, 2015: Today, Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) in cooperation with NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) and other NGOs partners, joined together to celebrate the 21st International Day of the World’s Indigenous People 2015 and 11th in Cambodia, “Post 2015 Agenda: Ensuring the Indigenous Peoples’ Health and Well-Being” at national and provincial levels in seven provinces including Koh Kong (National Level), Mondulkiri, Pursat, Preah Vihear, Kratie, Kampong Thom and Steung Treng (Provincial Level). Approximately 1,000 participants from relevant ministries, local authorities, development partners, NGOs, Indigenous Communities and local communities attended an event in Koh Kong province.
This year’s theme put a spotlight on the issue of indigenous peoples’ (IP) access to health care services, as improving indigenous peoples’ health remains a critical challenge for indigenous peoples, Member States and the United Nations, where the specific objectives of the events were:
- To enhance recognition and respect for the rights of IP in Cambodia, especially, on the accepted that IP, as indigenous distance to the management of land and natural resources in accordance with national and international laws related to rights of IP.
- To seek both national and international supports for awareness of the general conditions of IP, in particular, awareness on management of land, forest and land registration.
“This is the beginning of the 3rd decade of the International Day of World’s IPs, since the beginning in 1995. Over the previous two decades, in which the world aimed to highlight the importance of implementing the rights of IP through policies and programs at both the national and international levels, we are now moving toward their health and well-being issues,” Dr. Tek Vannara, NGOF’s Excutive Director said during the day. “Other goal is that the rights of IP are being recognized, respected and accepted by all the citizens and government.” With positive expectations, Dr. Tek Vannara encouraged that IP’s rights is not only being recognized and respected on August 9 but every single day. He also motivates for further collaboration between communities, NGOs, local authorities and government to continue working together to improve IP living situations.
Ms. Phin Sophy, Chong Indigneous community, from Koh Kong province and as a representation of the IP group proposed some recommendations to the government during his speech on the celebration day including:
- Continue to improve and implement on the national policy about the Indigenous People Development and other conventions based on the Basic Human Rights such as the right to receive welfare, health service, Economic, Social and cultural rights of the IPs.
- Accelerate the identity of all the 24 indigenous nationalities in 15 provinces and
- Include World Indigenous Day in the Cambodian national calendar in order to raise awareness about the indigenous peoples’ rights to the public.
International Day of the World’s Indigenous People was first proclaimed by the General Assembly in December 1994, to be celebrated every year during the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People (1995 – 2004). According to the new decision No 59/174, UN conference on 20th December 2004, the assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade, from 2005 – 2014, with the theme of “A Decade for Action and Dignity.”