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Posted: Thursday August 12, 2021. 2:11 PM CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Belize Governor General Froyla Tzalam said indigenous peoples need specific support to enable meaningful commitment and resources to bridge the gap between practice and policy.

The Governor General addressed the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) which held a special meeting to commemorate the International Day of the Indigenous Peoples and the Fourth Inter-American Indigenous Peoples Week under the theme “Leave No One Behind: indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract in the Americas, ”said a press release from the Belize Government Press Office (GBPO).

The governor general said indigenous peoples face constant challenges in their attempts to protect indigenous knowledge, such as the long struggle to achieve legal recognition and protection of collective ownership of lands and resources, according to the GBPO press release.

Governor General Tzalam also said that the world’s indigenous peoples have a constant need for resources to bridge the gap between practice and policy, stressing that they need specific support to enable meaningful engagement.

She noted with concern that the OAS General Assembly adopted the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples only after nearly two decades of negotiations. The GBPO press release said Governor General Tzalam “urged the OAS to do more to promote these rights, especially in the crisis-filled environment in which it can be easy to further marginalize indigenous peoples.” .

The GBPO said that in support of the Governor General, Belize’s Permanent Representative to the OAS, Lynn Young, called for a new social contract in the Americas.

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