STATEMENT OF THE UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON
THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
Geneva, July 20, 2015
First let me thank the EMRIP and the Secretariat of the OHCHR for inviting me to attend this year’s session and to speak on the various agenda items. After the historic World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) held last year, this year’s session is a good opportunity to visit the Outcome Document and see which among the commitments agreed to are moving or have great potentials of being implemented at the national and global levels. This document was adopted by consensus by UN member-states at the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly in September 22, 2014.
It is almost going to be a year since its adoption and this is an opportune time to see the trends as far as its implementation is moving. One other reason for revisiting this historic document is that this year, 2015, the UN is going to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals. The contributions and operationalization of the WCIP Outcome Document will be very important in ensuring that indigenous peoples will not be left behind in the implementation of these SDGs.
I have been engaged with the indigenous peoples’ processes leading up to the Alta Conference, the WCIP itself, and the various meetings held after the WCIP was over. These included the Expert Group Meeting of the UNPFII on the Optional Protocol held in January this year, the meeting organized by the University of Arizona, and the meeting of indigenous peoples held here in Geneva in February. I also had the opportunity to speak with various indigenous peoples organizations and networks in various parts of the world to get their views on how the WCIP Outcome Document can be effectively implemented. In the past months, I had some meetings with various State representatives where we discussed the WCIP Outcome Document. Among those who I had a chance to speak with on this issue are the Permanent Representatives of the US, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico, as well as the Deputy PR of Canada and the representative of the Government of Guatemala. When I was in Oslo early this year, I met with the Minister of State of Norway where we also talked of the same issue.
Follow up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) juli 2015