75th Commemoration Of The Naga People's Independence Day Speeches - Eastern Mirror
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75th Commemoration of the Naga People’s Independence Day Speeches

By EMN Updated: Aug 19, 2022 10:22 pm

Dario José Mejía Montalvo,

Chairperson, United Nations Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues (UNPFII)

Dear brothers and sisters of the Naga people.

I am very honoured by your invitation to be a part of the 75th Commemoration of the Naga People’s Independence Day.

Brothers and sisters, the agenda of the Indigenous Peoples is summed up in claiming that those who are heirs of the colonial processes are allowed to maintain their worldviews and cultures, conserve their territories and exercise their own forms of government.

Today is a day to commemorate your struggle and resistance as the Naga People in the face of colonising processes that have been imposed and stand out by imposing forces that seek to absorb or extinguish the identity of Indigenous Peoples through acts of assimilation, discrimination and racism.

We are aware that the declaration of independence by itself does not ensure that your rights as distinct people are fully respected.

We also are aware that there are multiple challenges you face to conserve their ancestral territories, practices, knowledge and self-government.

Despite the existence of a solid international framework of rights for Indigenous Peoples, there is a great gap that exists in many countries in relation to the respect and protection of our rights.

At this year’s Permanent Forum Session, where I had the opportunity meet some members of your people, unfortunately, we observed that multiple States still do not recognise the existence of Indigenous Peoples within the territorial limits that they themselves have imposed, which prevents that Indigenous brothers and sisters can activate the specific normative frameworks of existing rights in their favour, such as their rights to territory, lands and natural resources.

This is one of the main causes that has triggered the serious increase in murders, attacks and criminalisation of Indigenous Peoples in the world.

Leaders who, for defending their territory, people and biodiversity, are being subjected to political and criminal persecution that seek to call out their voices, voices that are collective.

Likewise, we note with great concern that there are entities both at the international and national levels that promote the assimilation of Indigenous Peoples with local communities.

This issue is very serious because it constitutes a setback for our national, regional and global fights for the recognition of specific rights for Indigenous Peoples.

Assimilating Indigenous Peoples with local communities undermines the status of Indigenous Peoples with distinct inherent rights, as explained in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Your fight for independence was promoted by the clear incompatibility of your governance system with other monocultural system that interfered with your ways of life and governance. These reasons must continue to motivate your fight for self-determination as Indigenous Peoples.

I wish you the best success. Always, always put your spirituality at the centre.

May the spirituality to be the one that guides your way of life, with a lot of energy and faith.

This is the main act of resistance for the respect and protection of your rights as Indigenous Peoples, honouring the memory of your ancestors.

Ancestors who defended your people and dreamed and acted for a Naga people that fully exercises its self-determination and rights.

I hope you will also send your good energies to us.
Thank you very much.

By EMN Updated: Aug 19, 2022 10:22:42 pm
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