The event was held to remind migrants of the existence of indigenous people in the jade-mining region.
The Kachin Indigenous People’s Protection Committee (Mungnawk Hkawng Uru Rudi Ruhpang Ga in the Kachin language Jinghpaw) celebrated International Day of the World’s Indigenous People at the Maw-one Independent Stone-pillar Park in Hpakant town on August 9.
An organizer said that the purpose of the event was to let migrants from other parts of Burma know about the existence of indigenous people in Hpakant, a jade-mining area that attracts people from all over the country.
“We especially want to let people who have migrated to Hpakant see that indigenous people still exist in Hpakant. We also want indigenous people to try to reclaim their lost rights. That’s why we held this event,” organizer Lamawng La Tawng told KNG.
In a statement, the Kachin Indigenous People’s Protection Committee said that “government should inform, discuss and get an agreement with indigenous people before starting development projects, business projects and seeking natural resources projects because these things are stated in the Ethnic Rights Protection Law, Chapter 4, Article 5.”
The Hpakant branch of the Kachin State People’s Party (KSPP), a party formed earlier this year through a merger of former rival Kachin parties, also released a statement to mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.
“Indigenous people should get full recognition of their indigenous rights with dignity. Indigenous people’s rights are one of the important factors in building a genuine federal democratic union. The KNPP’s Hpakant branch will work together with indigenous people to fulfill their rights,” the party said in its statement.
More than 600 people, including government officials, local administrators, civil society organizations, and Hpakant residents attended the celebration.
The Kachin Indigenous People Protection Committee was formed in Hpakant on February 18, 2019.