Indigenous people of many nations suffer discrimination
Many countries callously disregard the needs of their native people
The massacre and exploitation of Native Americans remains a dark and troubling period in U.S. history. However - the disregard for indigenous people apparently has not been restricted just to the United States. Overlooked and marginalized in the vast majority of the 70-plus countries which have indigenous peoples living within their borders, native people remain strongly disadvantaged compared to their non-indigenous counterparts.
For example, the aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia have a diabetes rate six times that of the general populace.
Nor do many governments take the needs of their indigenous people into consideration, she added.
The IASG held its annual meetings at the headquarters of the United Nations Population Fund last month.
While an official definition of indigenous peoples has yet to be adopted, they are generally considered to be the non-dominant communities and groups with historical continuity with pre-colonial or pre-invasion societies. Indigenous peoples are also known for having defined and highly-valued traditions, customs and practices.
"Indigenous peoples have suffered from historic injustices as a result of their colonization and dispossession of their lands, territories and resources," The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples says.
Colonization and dispossession have in turn prevented them "from exercising their right to development in accordance with their own needs and interests."
In the majority of cases across the world, indigenous peoples are poorer, less healthy, less educated and more likely to face discrimination and be denied full access to human rights.
Indigenous peoples comprise only five percent of the global population, they make up 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Indigenous families frequently live in areas that often lack social services, noting that as a result, "indigenous youth and children have limited or no access to health care, quality education, justice and participation."
For example, the aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia have a diabetes rate six times that of the general populace. The suicide rates for Inuit youth in Canada are a whopping 11 times the national average and indigenous infant mortality rates in Panama are more than three times that of the non-indigenous population, according to the World Health Organization.
Lower life expectancy and higher incidence of substance abuse, depression, suicide and teen pregnancies are also common among indigenous peoples.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Indigenous people, rights, social services, global community
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