UN Secretary-General highlights threat of tuberculosis at opening of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

19 April 2010 - New York - In his remarks at the opening of the Ninth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Mr Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, drew special attention to the burden of tuberculosis (TB) among indigenous peoples.

"In some countries, an indigenous person is 600 times more likely to contract tuberculosis than the general population," he said.

Citing other findings of the first-ever United Nations report on the State of the World's Indigenous Peoples, released in January, he noted that indigenous peoples suffer high levels of poverty, crime and human rights abuses all over the world.

"You make up some five per cent of the world's population - but one-third of the world's poorest," he told the assembled delegates.

But he also noted that indigenous issues are more prominent on the international agenda and promised the support of the United Nations. "I call on all Governments, indigenous peoples, the UN system and all other partners to ensure that the vision behind the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples becomes a reality for all."