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Tangau and the organising committee members clad in full tradional costumes during the press conference,. SNT Pix/ Courtesy Information Department

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah is celebrating the World Indigenous People Day on Aug 8 – 9, which the State government hopes will create greater awareness among the public and especially policy makers on the indigenous people rights.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau said it would be the first time that the State government is organising the event to commemorate the adoption of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) 11 years ago albeit “in a humble way.”

Speaking to reporters at his office in Wisma Kewangan here today, Tangau who is also Minister of Trade and Industry said 20 Sabah ethnic associations are taking part in the two-day event at the Kiulu Community Centre.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal is expected to officiate at the opening of the celebration on Aug 9.

According to Tangau, creating awareness on UNDRIP was significant since it is not a legally binding instrument under international law but UN had described it as setting “an important standard for the treatment of indigenous peoples that will undoubtedly be a significant tool towards eliminating human rights violations against the planet’s 370 million indigenous people and assisting them in combating discrimination and marginalisation.”

In this respect, he said it was imperative for policy makers and government department heads to be made more aware of UNDRIP so that the rights of the indigenous community in Sabah would not be overlooked in formulating of policy or programmes.

Tangau said about 5,000 people are expected to attend the celebration during which various activities had been lined up such as exhibition of traditional food, traditional tools, Bosou (preserved food) competition as well as lucky visitor draws.

Visitors need to register first in order to be eligible for the lucky draw prizes that included a buffalo, goat and poultries with the winners to be announced on Aug 9.

Apart from that there would also be talks on indigenous intellectual properties and rights as well as cultural performance by the respective ethnic associations.

“We also make it a point for government heads to attend the talks so that they will be able to understand UNDRIP further,” said Tangau.

The event is a collaboration between several government agencies and Upko, which had been organising the celebration on its own in the past few years, is the organising secretariat.-SabahNewsToday


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