On the occasion of the
22nd International Day of World's Indigenous Peoples
"Protect our land, protect our rights"
The Union of Myanmar is the ancestral home of over 100 different indigenous groups who have historically inhabited the land for generations. The various indigenous inhabitants of Myanmar, with their varying and distinct cultures and different religions, together constitute roughly 30 to 40 percent of the total population and inhabit 57 percent of the entire landmass. For a country that is endowed with such a mixture of cultures and religions, the International Day of World's Indigenous Peoplesis a significantly important day for Myanmar.
The Myanmar Indigenous Peoples/Ethnic Nationalities Network welcomes and wholeheartedly supports the upcoming 21st Century Panglong Peace Conference being initiated under the personal leadership of State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
We also welcome with profound elation the creation of the Union Ministry of Ethnic Affairs following the adoption of the Ethnic Rights Protection Law.
We issue the following statement of positions and recommendations following the 2nd meeting of the Myanmar Indigenous Peoples/Ethnic Nationalities Network held on August 8th, 2016.
- The Network urges the Government of Myanmar to immediately implement provisions contained in the Ethnic Rights Protection Law, especially Article 5 of Chapter 4, which obligates the government to obtain the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the concerned local indigenous peoples before extracting natural resources in their areas.
- We urgently need to address the continuing violations of our collective rights as indigenous peoples, particularly our rights to our lands, territories and resources which are the bases of our identity, wellbeing, dignity and collective survival and development. To this end, we urge the government to enact a pertinent law giving full legal recognition of the rights to traditional land use and land tenure system of indigenous peoples in accordance with section 8 of the National Land Use Policy. Land right is inseparably linked to the right to self-determination and is therefore of fundamentally important issue for the indigenous peoples of Myanmar.
- The vast majority of indigenous peoples of Myanmar live in remote areas of the country and they continue to be deprived of adequate medical supplies and health services and facilities. We therefore urge the government to invest in public health education and health facilities for the indigenous peoples of the country.
- Education systems that have been in place under successive governments have failed to reflect the history, unique cultures and traditions and livelihoods of the indigenous peoples and have subsequently failed to adequately meet their specific needs for educational growth. We therefore urge the government to include in the educational curriculum the specific needs of the indigenous peoples that facilitate their ways of living and livelihood methods, as well as directly reflect their history, cultures and traditions, as part of any future programs to reform the country's education system.
Myanmar Indigenous Peoples/Ethnic Nationalities Network
Dated: 9 August 2016
Mai Thin Yu Mon: 09420045830
Zaw Zaw Htun: 09421741255
Naw Ei Ei Min: 09254000363