AFRICAN GROUP STATEMENT ON THE INFORMAL CONSULTATION ON THE ORGANIZATION OF THE HIGH LEVEL PLENARY MEETING OF THE SIXTY-NINTH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY, TO BE KNOWN AS THE WORLD CONFERENCE ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLE:
DELIVERED BY: H.E. MARJON V.KAMARA, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
On behalf of the African Group which I represent for the month, I wish to thank you immensely for the efforts you have personally made in convening this informal dialogue on the "organization of high-level plenary meeting of the sixty ninth session of the General Assembly, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous People". This is a recognition of the importance your presidency attaches to ameliorating the grave plight of the estimated 370 million indigenous people the world over.
We recall Mr. President, that the General Assembly in 2004, proclaimed the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (2005-2014) . That decade is almost past but the conditions of indigenous people remain grim, severe and staid. Indigenous people continue to face threats as their social, cultural, economic and political distinctiveness are eroded. This therefore behooves us to begin critical reflection and dialogue on how to surmount the challenges to achieving the decade.
The African Group supports the idea of consulting all stakeholders including civil society, nongovernmental organizations, academia, national human rights institutions and parliamentarians, as a crucial exercise in sharing views on the contents of the Conference's Outcome document and their participation in the conference proceedings. However, Africa is constrained to withhold its participation in this current deliberation due to its lingering concerns about the framework.
As you may recall Mr. President, prior to this meeting, the African Group had raised with you specific concerns about the need to safeguard the sanctity of the inter-governmental character of the process. The Group noted that regrettably, the framework you proposed did not take cognizance of this very critical principle.
It is our concern that the framework under which this consultation is taking place could set an unhealthy precedent that could unwittingly affect the very essence of the inter-governmental negotiation process as it has evolved thus far.
I THANK YOU