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Pope defends indigenous rights: Full participation in decisions that affect them


Pope Francis says there are no first and second class citizens. He was speaking to these representatives of indigenous peoples, who are often marginalized by governments.

They are in Rome to study how to reconcile promoting the development of their populations, without losing the unique characteristics of their cultures and territories.

The pope has called for the full participation of indigenous people in the decisions affecting them. 

"Inclusion, not only consideration. For governments this means recognizing that indigenous communities are a part of the population to be appreciated and consulted, and whose full participation should be promoted at the local and national level.”

Pope Francis has especially called for respect of the right to prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples regarding any economic projects affecting their lands and populations.

One of the main sources of tensions among indigenous peoples is when governments authorize the exploitation of their resources for use in factories or for farming. This can cause the forced removal of the burial places of their ancestors, areas considered very sacred to them. 

- BN