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Nepal: Indigenous organisations call out for support to earthquake victims

June 30 2015
Indigenous peoples' conference sums up ethnic differences and challenges in the wake of April 25 Earthquake

"Seventy percent of the victims of the recent earthquake in Nepal were indigenous peoples, many from villages that have still not received emergency support.

Where support has been provided and resettlement begun, it has not taken into consideration indigenous cultures, livelihood and language, nor has indigenous peoples’ rights to participation and free, prior and informed consent been respected."

These are some of the conclusions to be found in a recent declaration published by indigenous peoples’ organisations in Nepal on 23 June. 

The Declaration expresses concern that indigenous peoples are facing heavy discrimination in receiving emergency support, and warns that the government’s uniform resettlement policy now threatens the collective identity, culture and ways of life of indigenous survivors in the affected areas.

Recommendations to the donor community
Indigenous peoples’ organisations met in Kathmandu on June 23 at the Indigenous Peoples’ Conference on the challenges for rehabilitation and reconstruction in the Earthquake-affected areas. 

The conference also came up with a list of recommendations for reaching out to indigenous victims in a more culturally sensitive way, which respects and protects their human rights.

Information to earthquake victims should for example be provided in mother tongue languages, bureacratic barriers, such as the need to produce a citizenship certificate for receiving emergency aid, should be identified and eliminated, and a mechanism should be put in place to ensure free, prior and informed consent before permanent resettlement. 

Indigenous peoples in Nepal
Indigenous peoples (Adivasi Janajati) in Nepal constitute about 40 percent of the total population of 26,5 million.

Nepal is one of the worlds’ poorest countries with a poverty rate of 23.8 percent and with a predominantly rural population with poor access to basic services and infrastructure.

Indigenous groups experience significantly higher poverty rates than the national average.