Invisible persistent chemical build up in the food chain is threatening the culture and future survival of indigenous peoples, participants attending the International pre-summit conference on sustainable development were told.

"... these organic pollutants contaminate the traditional food web, violate Indigenous rights, and passes from one generation to the next during pregnancy causing cancer, disabilities and other related serious health problems "Chief Oren Lyons of Onondaga Nation and Faithkeeper, Turtle Clan, North America said.

Chief Oren Lyons
Chief Oren Lyons -- Onondaga Nation

Chief Lyons said as an implementation target of the World Summit on Sustainable development, all governments must commit to urgently ratifying the Stockholm convention on Persistent organic pollutants.

" ... we must come up with a sustainable plan of action that will reverberate all over the globe from Kalahari desert in South Africa to the rain forests of Africa. The Americas and beyond the Pacific with a loud rallying call of save our planet and its first people now for tomorrow never comes", Lyons told the participants, as the conference entered the second day at Hoffe Park in Kimberley, a northern Cape town of South Africa.

"... we have a lot to say in the forthcoming world summit, we know our mother earth, we understand the word respect, somehow we must search for it" Lyons added.

Pauline Tangiora MaoniPauline Tangiora, Maori, from New Zealand, a leader of Southern Star Association and a member of the World forum for fisher peoples, said many people have suffered and continue to suffer from nuclear testing in the Pacific.

"What is happening to climate changes is leading to migration, people of Tonga islands, are moving away from their ancestral lands, the Asian migration is coming because their islands is being affected, and its not just the case of looking at where the effects of the wind change, the climate is, the whole thing is actually activating the movement of people" Tangiora lamented.

As part of an action plan the indigenous communities stressed the need of making governments to be coherent with their environmental policies, conservation and adequate management of indigenous peoples' forests and stopping licenses for oil exploitation blocks

"Now is the time, the children of many nations. Its now time children from many continents around the world, that we must ensure that the governments of the world addressed our problems. For many years, the resources of developing nations have been used to flourish the rich nations, we must say no to such exploitations" urged the premier of North Cape province of South Africa, Emsley Dipico said as he rallied the participants, for the world summit on sustainable development scheduled for this weekend, at Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Indigenous peoples' pre-summit is expected to conclude on Friday, the 23rd of August, 2002 from where the delegates proceed to Johannesburg for the Summit.

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