Friday, April 5, 2013

UN World Conference: ON the Indigenous Peoples - by the States

A Parentheses for the UN General Assembly.


in Violation of the Right of Self-Determination.

Huilcaman Aucan Paillama,
Council of All the Lands, Mapuche Nation

With much frivolity and apparent absence of critical consciousness there has circulated the resolution 66/296 of the UN General Assembly on the implementation of the "high-level plenary meeting" to be called World Conference on Indigenous Peoples 2014, and whose superficialities and rashness extends and is reflected in all the activities of the indigenous organizations and individuals whose orbit is United Nations.

There is no doubt whatsoever that all UN activity relative to Indigenous Peoples is a significant step.  However, this Conference on Indigenous Peoples presents a complete and absolute difference with all other events that have World Conference status within the UN intergovernmental system. This event, which is to be called a Conference is characterized not only by having been brought to effect in complete contradiction of the principle and right of self-determination of Indigenous Peoples, but also is completely and utterly removed from all procedural norms of all proper other UN Conferences, as well as the void of processes of development of the thematic issues, and the articulation of the purposes of a true and authentic United Nations Conference.

The realization of this high-level plenary of the General Assembly by its very nature and the eventual consequences could set a precedent in the future and consequently affect other activities in the international system in divergence away from the true purpose of the UN Charter, international law and the general principles of internationally accepted human rights, given that the event does not conform to the true terms of a World Conference, factors which inherently affect our right of self-determination and similarly degrades the principle of free and informed consent. Yet, consent is being granted by the some “Indigenous” despite all these specific violations.

As an example I will cite some facts constituting a true UN World Conference.

1.   A UN World Conference requires as a pre-condition the formation of a preparatory committee establishing the thematic issues of general interest to the entire international community.  However the high-level plenary in question almost exclusive grants the mandate for the event to the president of the General Assembly.  By way of a simple example, the World Conference against Racism, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (2001) - met each and every one of the UN Conference procedures concluding with a Declaration and Plan of Action, both instruments which enjoyed the full knowledge and recognized legitimacy of stakeholders.   The same applies to with the World Conference on Human Rights (June 1993), where all participants were informed previously with the text and elements that were configured into a final product, both in the Declaration and the Plan of Action.

2.   In the process of every World Conference, intergovernmental panels are of vital importance, because these provide the institutional space where becomes known the various positions of the government-states and of the organic regional interests that emerge in the process of taking action and common positions (Grulac, for example).

3.   World Conferences, according to the protocols and procedures of the United Nations intergovernmental system, are intended to generate processes of consultation and full and active participation of all stakeholders, in particular for civil society.  In this case, a World Conference on Indigenous Peoples would require the full and active participation of organizations of Indigenous Peoples from all regions of the world.  These particular protocols of participation and consultation process are now commonly based on the new standards of international law and mechanisms for the protection of human rights that have only recently been achieved, among others.

4.   A true World Conference is universal in nature and the due to the complexities of the issues, it is common to produced working groups of experts to elaborate reports and develop arguments that can be derived from various sources and specific situations.  In this event, the to be named World Conference of Indigenous Peoples, in the light of the facts and the very nature of the General Assembly resolution which established the Conference these processes are completely and utterly absent by the very resolution of the General Assembly which prescribes these limitations.

5.  Regional meetings are a vital characteristic in the overall processes of realizing a World Conference.  At these regional encounters, it is common for States to engage with certain specific issues and thus allow for Indigenous Peoples to establish some alliances in the global processes in order to focus their collective efforts towards achievement of results reflecting common interests.

6.   This high-level plenary will be held in open contravention of the principle and right to self-determination of Indigenous Peoples.  In this case, the mere fact of having violated the norms of procedure and nature, including the regulated and established protocols to all other World Conferences makes evident that the event itself is in open violation of the Right to Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples.

The issue relative to the infringement of the right of self-determination has two related parts.

a.  Many Indigenous Peoples still cling to the consideration that the right of self-determination is still a matter of intergovernmental forums while neglecting our status as Right Holders and exercisers of this right.  While on one side with this behavior demonstrates the absence of capable international indigenous legations in various forms, there is also a lack of a clear conviction to practice and implement the Right to Self-determination in these arenas.  Therefore, until the conduct of Indigenous Peoples differentiates these criteria the government states will continue to operate under their own logic systems, thereby establishing anew, international relationships of colonial domestication.

b.   The principle of Free, Prior and Informed consent in this high-level plenary is completely nullified.  This time not by the Government States but by those Indigenous the people themselves, who accept knowingly the naming of UN Conference to an event that is not encompassed nor holds any of the characteristics of what a true World Conference of the UN intergovernmental system must reflect.  This event could be more appropriately termed as "A Parenthesis in the General Assembly of the United Nations."  Consent in the Right and all Acts of Contract are only valid when the other party (Indigenous) accepts the given conditions.  Ultimately, if this consent is manufactured, those responsible for not enforcing the principle of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent would be are the Indigenous themselves.

The contraventions of the right of Free, Prior and Informed Consent and violation of the Right of Self-Determination have precedents.

Although the full force of the right to self-determination of Indigenous Peoples is stipulated in Article 3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international instruments, the adoption of the Nagoya Conference of the Parties (2010) established the first precedent of agencies and Indigenous Peoples to forfeit the Right to Self-Determination and likewise cancel the right of Free, Prior and Informed Consent. 

With this behavior is affected not only these rights in particular, but, also the general principles of law itself that states that any new norms should be aligned with the highest standard, however, with the Nagoya exactly the opposite occurred, in consequence to the manufactured consent granted by the Indigenous themselves.

Despite the complex and serious violations of the Right to Indigenous Self Determination, for many it seems that nothing has happened, when in practice the effects are unpredictable in the immediate future of indigenous peoples, especially for those who truly deployed in efforts oriented towards the realization of the right to self-determination and the best way to implementation of the right of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent vis-à-vis the internal and multilateral relations with states.

The meeting April 9 to 11, 2013 in Guatemala and other regions of the world.

The announced meeting in Guatemala is a clear reflection of the absence of input, lack of documentation, lack of an indigenous agenda, the emphasis is placed with preference on administrative matters, however, although these concerns have been duly transmitted to the organizers and conveners and have been no corresponding changes made whatsoever. The agenda for the meeting of Guatemala entails the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Lands and Territories; Agenda Post 15 the MDGs; and a Strategic Plan for the General Assembly High Level Plenary/World Conference 2014.

In this regard, the Declaration contains 46 articles, which is results in a completely and utterly ambiguous and imprecise instrument for treatment.  It also leaves open the possibility that Government States may take what they consider of their own particular interest regarding this instrument.  In this context, it is urgent to define the on the part of indigenous peoples which articles will be addressed.  The same applies to the second point about land and territory and the pertinent question arises: What other subjects will be dictated that have not been reported in other international forums and events?
The Indigenous organizations from other regions of the world that have already met and in adopted documents, highlight a set of desires and good intentions, sustaining that "we welcome", "welcome", "encourage" (.... ) without bringing emphasis on elaborating an eventual agenda or thematic issues, not even mentioning the inclusion of indigenous input into the proposed work plan leading to the 2014 High Level Plenary/World Conference that would conclude with a resounding Declaration and Plan of Action.

Rectify the situation and ensure acceptable results.

It is urgent to establish an indigenous agenda, including the production of critical analysis, integrating documentation that support indigenous positions, with legal and historical arguments constructed on the foundations of Indigenous law, including the development of new guidelines aimed at an acceptable statement upon conclusion and an Plan of Action to eradicate the root cause of injustice internationally, with an orientation aimed at establishing institutions and relationships that ensure a firm and lasting peace. These elements can come from various sources, including: 

1.  The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has produced substantial recommendations should be identified, a listing that is interesting and potentially useful.

2. Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in their work has enough information, some of which could contribute towards developing a basic agenda.

3.   Article 28 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, by its large and compelling content requires clarification, specification and legal standardizations for implementation.

4.   The Doctrine of Discovery, its consequences and the appropriate and acceptable collective corrective measures, including fair and equitable compensation to Indigenous Peoples.

5.   The dispossession, denial and violation of rights, occupation, taking and confiscation of cultural heritage materials, by their illegal nature have affected the lives of Indigenous Peoples, and are acts constituting a crime against humanity, which requires proper classification.  Among other matters.

DISMANTLING the Doctrine of Discovery Conference in Arizona.

The conference in Arizona to be held from 19-20 April 2013, is another opportunity to contribute substantive elements to identify and develop further content for argumentation and development of an Plan of Action and an acceptable Final Declaration for the UN High Level Plenary/Conference 2014.

The Doctrine of Discovery
International Conference
April 19-20, 2013
Arizona State Univeristy West
Glendale, Arizona