As part of the celebrations for the indigenous peoples’ international day on Friday, President Juan Manuel Santos thanked the indigenous peoples of Colombia and the world for the work they have done in creating a better society.
Santos publicly recognized the work of both national and regional indigenous organizations like the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC), the Movement for the Indigenous Authorities of Colombia (AICO) and the Organization of the Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon (OPIAC), among others.
“This government has worked together [with these organizations] to establish spaces for dialogue and agreement, in accordance with the spirit of constructing alliances and honoring constructive agreements,” Santos said.
“As part of the National Development Plan for Prosperity for All we are committed … to organizing Health and Education Plans for indigenous peoples, as well as formulating policies focused on improving their lives.”
The president declared that in its final year his government would continue working towards a country that is “fairer, more modern, safer and more culturally integrated; the country that we want to leave to future generations.”
Santos noted that 2014 will also mark the first time that the Copa America of Indigenous Soccer travels to Brazil: “we offer support and enthusiasm to those indigenous Colombians who will represent us on the pitch. All Colombians should cheer them on and we won’t lose a single match!”
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People was established by The General Assembly of the United Nations in 1994. This year’s theme is “indigenous peoples building alliances: honoring treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements” and aims to highlight the importance of recognizing indigenous peoples’ rights to their lands as well as outlining a vision for economic and personal cooperation between different sovereign peoples.