Clarion call to empower Janajatis

UN Secretary-General seeks protection of endangered languages

Kathmandu, August 9:

Indigenous nationalities today celebrated the World Indigenous Day 2008 by organising several functions across the country.

On the last day of the week-long celebration, Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) organised a gala function at Dasharath Stadium.

Prior to that, a colourful rally started from Khullamanch and passed through different parts of the city including Ratnapark, Bagbazar, Putalisadak, Bhrikuti Mandap, Bhadrakali Sha-hidgate and converged at the Dasharath Stadium.

A large number of indigenous people, clad in traditional attire and performing folk dances, participated in the rally.

Addressing the function, Chairman of the Constituent Assembly Subas Chandra Nembang asked the indigenous nationalities to continue their struggle to secure their rights.

He said there was a need to build consensus among political parties to fulfil aspirations of the people’s movement.

Message sent by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on the occasion of World Indigenous Day 2008 was also read at the function.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Dr Ram Saran Mahat said the search for identity had begun with the increasing prosperity of people throughout the world. He also said

that challenges ahead were to safeguard the rights of all communities in the country.

NEFIN president Pasang Sherpa said Constituent Assembly members should address all demands of indigenous nationalities so that they need not complain during next year’s celebration.

He also demanded the inclusion of the political declaration of the indigenous people in the constitution.

Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged all concerned to protect and promote endangered languages. In a message issued on the occasion of World Indigenous Day, Moon said member states and indigenous people should come together in a spirit of mutual respect and make use of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the living document, so that it has a real and positive effect throughout the world.

Indigenous nationalities comprise 37 per cent of the total population of Nepal.