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Mexican bishops hope papal visit leads to new rights for indigenous

Mexico's bishops have said Pope John Paul II's upcoming canonisation and beatification of three indigenous Mexicans signalled an important recognition of indigenous peoples that the country must translate into legal recognition of rights.

In a 3 July pastoral letter, the country's bishops said Mexicans must adopt a new view of indigenous populations as subjects owed rights and no longer simply as "objects of our generosity and beneficence."

In a 10-point appeal, the bishops called on all Mexicans to work for legal recognition and support of indigenous culture and history, economic and educational assistance to indigenous peoples, and environmental protection of the habitats in which they live.

The pastoral letter was published in the 15-17 July edition of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's newspaper.

Text of pastoral letter (Spanish)
Conferencia del Episcopado Mexicano


17 Jul 2002