The Fourth Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
The 4th Session of the Permanent UN Forum on the problems of indigenous peoples was opened by a picturesque traditional march of a group of children and young people from
The 4th Session started with the election of Chairperson and Deputies to the Chairperson of the Permanent Forum, approval of the agenda and the working program. Ms. Victoria Talia Corpuz of the Phillipines was elected Chairperson, and Pavel Sulyandziga, expert on indigenous peoples of
In her presentation, the High Commissioner for Human Rights called upon all nations’ governments to take all the measures needed to recognize indigenous rights and to carry out legislative reforms so that some particular results could be achieved. Specialized institutions and agencies were recommended to develop and implement particular projects and programs for indigenous people, envisaging their large-scale and direct representation.
The first week of the Forum was concerned with the discussion of the first two Millennium Development Goals:. (1) eradicate extreme poverty and hunger and (2) achieve universal primary education. A statement on the UN Millennium Development Goals was made by representatives of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North,
It was proposed that the Forum should accept the recommendations addressed to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) regarding revision of the declaration text.
The second week of the Forum started with the discussion of the 4th item of the agenda: Human rights with special focus on the observance of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples. A presentation on the prospects of the activities of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights on the development of new international standards and plans of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations (WGIP), to be held in the July 2005, was made by the Chairman of the WGIP, Mr. Alfonso Martinez. The 23rd session of the WGIP will be held in the head Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in
Vice-President Mikhail Todyshev, on behalf of RAIPON, twice addressed the UN High Commission’s Special Rapporteur Rodolofo Stavenhagen and the Permanent Forum on the issues pertaining to the Forum’s future activities. The texts of the presentations by M.A. Todyshev are supplied below.
Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Item 4 a) of the agenda: “Human rights: special focus on an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples.”
23 May 2005
of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North,
Dear Ms. Chairperson,
The activity of Mr. Rodolfo Stavenhagen, the Special Rapporteur on the problem of the human rights and basic freedom of indigenous peoples, is of great importance to promote indigenous rights and setting new international standards.
Annual thematic reports and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur regarding the infringement of human rights and violation of the indigenous peoples presented to the Human Rights Commission can be regarded as an important source of international law.
The setting of international standards in human rights and basic freedoms of indigenous peoples has the ultimate objective of promotion and recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples at the national level and their fixation in the national legislation. The respective concepts should be included in the constitution of states, and special laws on indigenous rights should be adopted.
RAIPON believes that it is important to investigate to what extent the states recognize and observe indigenous rights and in what way those rights are – supported by generally accepted standards and principles of international law – find reflection in the national legislation.
For instance, the causes why the numerous states that took part in the development of the ILO Convention No 169 “Convention concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries” and who signed it, have not so far ratified this Convention. These countries include the
At its latest session, the Commission on Human Rights has determined the subject of further investigation by the Special Rapporteur: constitutional reforms, legislation on indigenous rights and implementation of these laws. RAIPON welcomes this decision.
Due to the preceding investigation by the Special Rapporteur on the statement of the human rights and basic freedoms of indigenous peoples in the constitutions and national legislations, we wish to approach Mr. Rodolfo Stavenhagen with an earnest request to visit the
The above request has been dictated by some substantial changes in the legislation of the
Today the State Duma of the
Taking into account those legislation changes, a more complete insight can be obtained in the course of your arrival in
We call upon the constant Forum to work in close contact with the Special Rapporteur, the experts of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations during the inter-session period and accept the recommendation addressed to Mr Rodolfo Stavehagen, the Special Rapporteur to the following effect:
- “In preparing the investigation on the Constitution reform, the national legislation on the indigenous rights, and its implementation in particular cases, organizations of indigenous peoples representing the interests of indigenous peoples of those countries at the national and international levels and possessing complete information should be involved”;
- “Recommendation to the states regarding analysis of the national legislation for its conformity with the standards of international law and international agreements with respect to the indigenous rights and taking active measures for incorporation in the national laws of indigenous rights standards or enactment of respective special laws”.
In conclusion, RAIPON supports the presentation of the Grand Council of the Crees on the draft declaration of the UN on indigenous rights which will be presented at a later date.
Thank you for your attention!
Item 5 of the Agenda: “Future Work of the Forum.”
25 May 2005
of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North,
Dear Ms. Chairperson,
On 12 April 2005 in Moscow under the 5th Congress of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation, in collaboration with the Bureau of the Constant Coordinator of the UN system in Russia and with the support of the Ministry of Regional Development of the Russian Federation, RAIPON organized and conducted a roundtable on “Indigenous Peoples and the UN System”. The objective of the roundtable was the discussion of the results of the International Decade of the Indigenous Peoples of the World that ended in December 2004, and preparation of proposals and plan of events for the 2nd International Decade of Indigenous Peoples declared by the UN General Assembly in its resolution A/
Taking part in the roundtable were representatives of OHCHR, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations, UN Information Center in Moscow, UNESCO, WHO, UNDP, WIPO,
RAIPON is grateful to the UN Human Rights Supreme Commissar Ms. Luise Arbur and the Special Rapporteur Mr. Stavenhagen for the warm greetings the wish of fruitful work. We are grateful to Mr. Vladimir Petrovsky, the ex-deputy UN General Secretary, Mr. Parshuram Tamang, the expert of the UN permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Ms. Elizabeta Stamatopulu, Director of the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum and all other participants of the round table who were able to come to Moscow despite being very busy on the eve of the 4th session of the Permanent Forum and made informative presentations.
The members of the round table approved recommendations that we addressed to the UN Secretary General and the Secretariat of the Permanent Forum.
In the context of the issue under discussion regarding the future work of the Permanent Forum, RAIPON proposes the following recommendations:
1. Firstly to exert every effort in order to complete the work on the UN Draft Declaration on Indigenous Rights and its approval by the UN General Assembly. This is an obligation, which passed to the Second Decade of Indigenous Peoples from the First Decade.
2. Under the second International Decade of Indigenous Peoples the efforts of the the agencies of the UN system and primarily the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, UN specialized institutions and agencies, governments. Indigenous Academic institutions and organizations, governments will be focused on the achievement of some particular and practical results. For that, it is necessary to distinguish some key (basic and major) objectives and focus on their attainment. Importantly, some particular objectives and practical results should be achieved.
3. One of the key targets of the Second International Millenium of Indigenous Peoples will the implementation of indigenous rights to land and natural resources. According to RAIPON, the implementation by the indigenous peoples of that right would promote the solution of the problems in other life activities of indigenous peoples. The legal recognition by the states of the right of indigenous peoples to have and utilize their historical lands and territories that they traditionally occupied or used in any other manner, control of the utilization of natural resources on the basis of the principle of voluntary, preliminary and conscious agreement of indigenous peoples help to resolve the age-accumulated problems of the indigenous peoples. We believe that the problems of the conservation of the culture and uniqueness of the language, the moral spiritual and physical health and religious outlook of indigenous peoples is intimately interconnected with the preservation of the traditional lifestyle and traditional subsistence economies, which can be preserved at their historical lands and territories with an access to natural resources needed for their survival.
4. In order to achieve implementation of the right of indigenous peoples for the land and natural resources, it is necessary to utilize, the most effectively, the processes of the achievement of the objectives of the Millennium Development. We are aware that not a single of the declared objectives of the Millennium Development today is in direct conformity with the rights to land and natural resources, and all the more so does not contain any mention of the indigenous peoples. Nevertheless, the seventh objective of the Millennium Development suggesting the preservation of the environment and sustainable development, although indirectly, can be used by us to solve the problems of legal recognition by the state of the rights of indigenous peoples to the ownership and utilization of their traditional territories and natural resources.
5. Over the period of the International Decade of Indigenous Peoples of the World from 1995 to 2004 we have clearly defined the strategic objectives and targets. However, many have only little understanding in what way and by what methods that can be achieved. Under those conditions, the Permanent Forum should offer clear methods and step-by-step achievement of the proposed goals. For instance, in January 2005, the Permanent Forum organized an excellent seminar on the methodology of the accomplishment of the principle of the voluntary, preliminary and conscious agreement of indigenous peoples. This is a magnificent work with excellent conclusions and recommendations! The summary of the report of this seminar states that the methodology of the above principle should be proposed for discussion at the 4th session of the Permanent Form. However, the agenda for the present session envisages no discussion of this issue. In this connection I believe that the Permanent Forum should pay attention to the recommendations of the seminar on the voluntary, preliminary and conscious agreement of indigenous peoples and respective recommendations should be adopted, including those addressed to the inter-departmental group for support of the indigenous peoples regarding the elaboration of a manual on the application of the principle of voluntary, preliminary and conscious agreement of indigenous peoples.
6. For the stimulation of activity and attraction of attention of the governments to the solution to the problems of indigenous peoples, recommendations should be adopted to call upon all the states to establish national organizing committees for the conducting of the Second International Decade of Indigenous Peoples where they have not yet been established and recommend development and adoption of the state level of integrated plan of measures for the International Decade of Indigenous Peoples. One of the important aspects of those plans should envisage the conducting of the Constitutional reform (where it has not yet been conducted) and legal recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples by the development and enactment of special laws and incorporation of additional sections and articles on the indigenous rights and the existing related laws. The recommendations of the Permanent Forum should envisage the compulsory participation of indigenous peoples in the activity of national organizing committees and development of integrated plans and programs of measurements on the implementation of the 2nd International Decade of Indigenous Peoples at the international level.
7. In order to enhance the effectiveness of the activities of national organizing committees, joint sessions of the Permanent Forum with national committees at the regional level – with the invitation of the coordinator of the International Decade – should be practiced during the inter-session period. The national organizing committees should write annual reports on the course of the implementation of the Second International Decade of Indigenous Peoples in their respective countries, and on the level of the involvement of indigenous peoples’ organizations in the activity of the Organizing Committee .
Thank you for your attention!