What should we do to protect the rights of indigenous people?

There are many indigenous people around the world, with different religions, languages and cultures. Despite their cultural and lifestyle differences, indigenous people across the globe share common problems related to the protection of their rights as distinct people. To mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on August 9 and to promote and protect the rights of indigenous populations, Vientiane Times sought public opinion on the issue.


Ms Khamsao Siamphone, a businesswoman in Xaysettha district, Vientiane: There are many indigenous peoples in the world who have different languages, cultures, and religions. Although we have differences, especially in terms of language and culture, the important thing to remember is that we are all humans. Everyone should respect human rights and promote equal rights for all ethnic groups, so they have the same opportunities in education and get the support and acceptance of society, as well as the chance to air their opinions. If everyone respected human rights, I’m sure Laos and other countries would enjoy unity and peace forever.

Mr Nalin, an employee in Chanthabouly district, Vientiane: I have heard about clashes between some ethnic groups, which has caused loss of life in many parts of the world. Wars and fighting result in harm and losses, which no one wants. I think we should be aware of the need for more unity, which can start with our families. I believe that if families live in harmony, then society as a whole will be at peace too. Another important point is that to ensure everyone lives in peace we should improve relations with all ethnic groups.
Ms Ngod, a resident of Xamneua district, Huaphan province: Development and civilisation are important for everyone. The development of urban and rural areas must take place in equal measure as this impacts all aspects of our lives, especially education, access to food and sanitation, job opportunities, and our relations with other people. We should try to improve and develop all areas equally to reduce the differences between urban and rural regions, and to reduce the feelings of distance that could lead to conflict. I believe everyone wants peace and harmony, and an end to war and conflict. If we want this, we should try to avoid violence and convert conflict to cooperation. We should all work together to help develop our country and the world.
Ms Manisakhone, an official in Xaythany district, Vientiane: I think it’s quite difficult to promote unity if some ethnic groups have limited rights. Conflict arises when groups are divided by ethnicity, tribe, language and economic condition. Things would be better if we didn’t restrict people’s rights and put an end to class and ethnic divisions. Everyone wants equal rights when it comes to voting and sharing opinions in order to resolve problems. To promote and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous peoples, we should teach our children more about the effects of conflict, and encourage them to respect the rights of others. Adults should set an example in building harmony and generosity, to make sure the world moves forward without violence. To achieve this, we have to improve our relationship with indigenous populations.

By Lamphone Pasanthong
(Latest Update August 10, 2018)

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