The United Nations observed on Monday the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People with a focus on the threat of HIV/AIDS.
A commemorating event, organized by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in cooperation with the NGO Committee on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and the New York office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, was held atUN Headquarters.
“Indigenous peoples are more likely to suffer from extreme poverty, geographical isolation, political marginalization, lack of access to adequate health care,” UnderSecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang told UN officials and indigenous representatives attending the event.
“All of these factors influence the manner of which the HIV/AIDS manifests itself among indigenous peoples,” Sha said.
He urged member states, the UN system and the international community at large “not to let the pandemic of HIV/AIDS be yet another area of exclusion and marginalization suffered by the world’s indigenous peoples.”
In a message to mark the day, UN Secratary-Gneral Ban Ki-moon also emphasized the vulnerability of indigenous peoples to HIV/AIDS, noting that, “it is essential that indigenous peoples have access to the information and infrastructure necessary for detection, treatment and protection.”
On December 23, 1994, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to designate August 9 the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.