Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Final Statements

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Tenth Session
May 16-27, 2011
Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus Statement
Read Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Agenda Item 3 (c)
Follow-up to the recommendations of the Permanent Forum:
Free, Prior and Informed Consent

Honorable Madame Chairperson, Members of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, distinguished representatives of Indigenous Peoples, sisters and brothers here today,

Genocidal and ethnocidal practices continue to be of concern for Indigenous peoples, and especially for Indigenous women. As recognized by the Permanent Forum (2nd Session Report, paragraph 81), these practices include programmes for sterilization of indigenous women and girls, the use of indigenous communities as subjects for nuclear testing or storage of radioactive waste, the testing of unapproved drugs on indigenous children and peoples. However, they also include forced displacements, violent conflicts and militarization of Indigenous territories, the discouragement of Indigenous educational systems, and the imposition of development programs and policies on Indigenous territories, as well as extractive industries contributing to environmental degradation. Many of these practices result directly from the violation of the right to free, prior and informed consent.


  1. We emphatically reject any attempt to erode our right to free, prior and informed consent as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, recent examples of which are Nagoya Agreement under Convention on Biological Diversity and the so-called “Cancun Agreements” at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of the Parties 16.

  1. In light of the divergent and often contradictory interpretations of the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) by UN agencies, government agencies and transnational corporations in their practices, especially in regards to reproductive health and extractive industries, we urge the Permanent Forum to recommend due diligence in relation to indigenous rights and a standardized interpretation of FPIC. These should be done in accordance to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and based on the report of the International Workshop of Methodologies regarding Free Prior and Informed Consent and Indigenous Peoples (4th UNPFII Session Report, paragraph 137), the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people (A/HRC/15/37, paragraphs 46-47), the Legal Commentary on the concept of free, prior and informed consent (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/2005/WP.1), and An Overview of the Principle of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent and Indigenous Peoples in International and Domestic Law and Practices (PFII/2004/WS.2/8).

  1. We recommend that the Permanent Forum continues to urge states, specialized agencies, academics, Indigenous peoples and their organizations to undertake analysis of the implementation of the right to free, prior and informed consent principles and mechanisms regarding projects on indigenous lands and territories, pertaining to extractive industries and sacred sites; and that it encourages them to submit such analyses to the Permanent Forum for consolidation and to identify good practices and barriers (see 6th Session Report, paragraph 19).

  1. Given the importance of preserving and promoting traditional knowledge while respecting Indigenous protocols, including culturally appropriate communication, timing, and scheduling, we call upon the United Nations system and governmental agencies to implement mechanisms and principles to ensure the right to free, prior and informed consent, respecting Indigenous Peoples’ development models, concepts, practices, their social and political structures, particularly their juridical and procedural pluralism, and their right to veto based on their right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and on Indigenous Peoples’ right to land and permanent sovereignty over natural resources (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/2005/WP.1, paragraphs 33, 37).

We would like to thank you for your time and consideration of these recommendations.

Read Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Intervention on Item 3(b) Environment
Submitted by Participants of the Indigenous Peoples Preparatory Meeting

Thank you Madame Chair and Members of the Permanent Forum. Indigenous peoples’ lands, territories and resources have always been the target of governments and multinational companies who aim to profit by developing mining, dams, logging, large scale plantations and many other infrastructure developments. Indigenous peoples’ land and territories in many parts of the world, thus, have suffered intense environmental degradation and human rights violations of indigenous peoples as a result of rampant aggressive development projects and industrialization.

The following recommendations aim to strengthen the participation of indigenous peoples in relevant UN processes and mechanisms; identify key issues and positions relating to the environment; and ensure the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in matters of the environment:

1) We call upon the UNPFII to renew recommendations made in past sessions that UN processes provide mechanisms and procedures for Indigenous Peoples’ full and effective participation, and a meaningful role in decision-making and policy development. These processes include, inter alia, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COPs), the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and negotiations for a new Global Treaty to eliminate mercury contamination.

2) We recommend the UNPFII appoint a member of the Permanent Forum as Special Rapporteur to conduct a study, with input from indigenous experts around the world, on existing and potential violations of the human rights of Indigenous Peoples affected by carbon markets, the Clean Development Mechanism and REDD-type projects (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), and to report thereon to the Forum at its eleventh session, in 2012.

3) We support the Cochabamba Peoples’ Agreement and the Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth. Furthermore, we commit to discussing how to implement the rights of Mother Earth in a way that is in line with our traditional teachings.

4) We recognize the report of the first International Indigenous Women’s Environmental Toxics and Reproductive Health Symposium held June 30 – July 1, 2010 in Alamo, California. Furthermore, we reiterate the recommendation presented in our closing statement to UNPFII-9 calling on the UNPFII to organize an expert group meeting on Indigenous women, reproductive health and environmental toxins, and requests that this EGM be held in 2012 before UNPFII-11.

5) The Fukushima disaster should prompt us to stop, assess the real dangers and costs of nuclear energy, and make the necessary transition to the development of safe, clean, renewable energy sources. This is something indigenous peoples throughout the world have been demanding for a long time. Therefore, we call on all governments to undertake a concerted global response to the Secretary General's 5 Point Plan on negotiating a Nuclear Weapons Abolition Treaty. We further call on all governments to remove all subsidies to produce nuclear fuel and financially compensate affected communities.

6) We are concerned by the recent adoption of language in the CBD’s Nagoya Protocol and the UNFCCC’s “Cancun Agreements” which diminish our right of free, prior, and informed consent. Any attempt to diminish Indigenous Peoples’ right to an uncompromised standard of FPIC is unacceptable. Additionally, we are concerned the Nagoya Protocol recognizes only national law. We recommend the UNPFII incorporates the UNDRIP and ILO 169 in the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol.

7) Recalling UNPFII-9 recommendation: “The Permanent Forum called upon those States which have granted leases, concessions and licenses on Indigenous Peoples’ territories for projects related to logging, minerals, oil, gas and water without proper consultation and without respecting the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous Peoples concerned to review those arrangements and to address the complaints raised by Indigenous Peoples in those territories.”  We request the UNPFII provide a report to Indigenous peoples on the implementation of this recommendation and any proposed further action.

We respectfully request that our recommendations be incorporated into the final report and thank you for your time and consideration.