Ban’s opening remarks at 10th session of UNPFII

The Tenth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues opened today in New York, NY.

Along with the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous Peoples, the UNPFII is an organization mandated to deal with indigenous people’s issues. The UNPFII has been holding sessions since 2002, providing advice to the UN Economic and Social Council on indigenous issues, including culture.

At the opening of the forum today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke. Among his comments, he stressed the importance of elders, saying:

“There is an indigenous saying that, ‘When an elder dies, it is like a light burning out.’ This is a beautiful expression of respect for the wisdom of age.  But it could also be a warning. We could just as easily say that, ‘When an indigenous custom dies, it is like a light burning out.'”

Read the entire speech at “Permanent Forum Can Play Dynamic Role in Changing Deplorable Situation of Indigenous People, Secretary-General Says at Opening of Session” on the UN website.

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