page 2 of 2
"Despite the major efforts of the Government to repair the historic marginalization of indigenous peoples in El Salvador, it is obvious that these people continue to suffer the loss of cultural knowledge and ability to express their full identity and exercise their rights. This loss is in addition to extreme poverty and marginalization that characterize the most disadvantaged sectors of the country."
"I see therefore the need for the State should promote more concrete actions of the existing rescue-oriented cultural events such as language and ancestral traditions and their incorporation into social protection systems, particularly those related to health, education, financial assistance programs for the productive growth and the land tenure programs, which must conform to cultural patterns and needs of indigenous peoples."
"It is also necessary to support indigenous peoples to recover and strengthen their own forms of organization, representative institutions and decision-making mechanisms that enable them to manage issues of concern to the community level. Also must establish mechanisms for participation indigenous peoples in decision-making areas of the state through their own representative institutions. In this regard it should establish mechanisms to consult with indigenous peoples on any development project, laws or administrative decisions that may affect them."
"In order to overcome the painful history of indigenous peoples in El Salvador and move towards a future in which they can maintain their cultures and develop according to their own aspirations, it is necessary to ensure that people can access opportunities to other actors of Salvadoran society, on an equal footing and without discrimination. This includes opportunities for access to education, employment and justice, especially justice for indigenous women who suffer violence."
"I note the recent adoption of the amendment to Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution referred to the protection of indigenous languages, the rich artistic, historical and archaeological, by the 2009-2012 Legislature recognizes indigenous peoples and adopts policies to maintain and develop their ethnic and cultural identity, worldview and values of spirituality. In this regard, I consider important to proceed with the ratification of the reform required by the current Legislature, according to established procedures by the Constitution. This constitutional amendment would help boost the above actions for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples."
"I think it''s also important to move forward with the ratification of Convention No. 169 of the International Labour Organization concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, which would be a complementary tool for the implementation of the constitutional amendment and the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in El Salvador."
"Finally, I emphasize the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted in 2007 by the General Assembly of the United Nations with the affirmative vote of El Salvador and the vast majority of countries. This Declaration, which enshrines a series rights of indigenous peoples based on self-determination and equality, reaffirms the need of the Salvadoran government to take action to repair the damage suffered by indigenous peoples throughout its history, and must be complied with in the development and implementation of all the actions to that end."
Editor's Note: The Statement by Special Rapporteur of the UN Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the conclusion of his visit to El Salvador is published here in its entirety for those interested in matters pertaining to indigenous peoples.
posted August 20, 2012 7:00 am edt