Friday, April 20, 2018

UNPFII 2018: Statement by Global Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus

Global Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus

Seventeenth Session of the UNPFII
16–27 April 2018

We note the dominant themes of our Global Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus for 2018 as being self determination, indigenous justice, the doctrine of discovery, access to Indigenous lands territories and resources, and water sovereignty – which includes our rights to  define our own freshwater and ocean policies which are ecologically, socially, economically and culturally appropriate to our unique circumstances. We note the continued contamination of water for the purposes of resource extraction and nuclear weapons industries. Access to justice for Indigenous Peoples remains an issue, in particular for Indigenous women, Indigenous children, and Indigenous defenders of lands, resources, territories and human rights. With this in mind the caucus offers the following recommendations:

1.     We echo president Evo Morales’ call in 2008 for a UN Convention on Water, to be developed with full participation of Indigenous Peoples. The water is life issue reminds the world community of the need for action to protect, and enhance water quality by first aligning all initiatives related to water with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We assert our human right to water and the role of water in our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, communal and environmental wellbeing. We take a position against aquacide, the killing of the waters.

2.     That the Permanent Forum request a report on the implementation of the recommendations made, to be submitted to the forum at its 18th session, in 2019. The report should analyse the challenges as well as the associated factors that United Nations agencies and funds, member states and Indigenous Peoples’ organizations have faced.

3.     We call upon the UN to put in place monitoring systems to protect Indigenous Peoples and secure their rights to justice. Concerns continue around the violations of human rights of Indigenous women, children and water and land protectors. Disproportionate  incarceration, serious injury, and death are all linked to the criminalization of Indigenous rights to land and water protection.

4.     We further call upon the Permanent Forum to put in place a monitoring system to promote and protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples reporting to the Permanent Forum in their capacity as Indigenous communicators and human rights defenders.

5.     We call upon the Permanent Forum to continue to advance the work and recommendations of the UN Preliminary Study on the Impact of the Doctrine of Discovery (2010), the Study on Cross-border issues (2015), and update the Treaty Study by Dr. Miguel Alfonso Martinez (1999), without discrimination and in full recognition and respect for the Rights of Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples,  "Equal to all other peoples...". This report should be a full comprehensive and complete report that focuses on the systemic violations on the rights of the Original Nations of Indigenous Peoples,  and should extend to the co-development of treaty-centered national constitutions. We remain disappointed that there has been little in the way of education on the ongoing human rights violations normalized by the perpetuation of colonial doctrines, with increased potential for miseducation in the memorializing of the illegal invasions of Indigenous territories.

6.     We further recommend that the Permanent Forum reiterate their call for member states to repudiate all instances of the discovery doctrine, and that states discontinue the memorializing of colonial invaders through official holidays, monuments and events.

7.     We echo the 2017 calls of Chief Oren Lyons and member state South Africa for the advancement of a Convention for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and recommend that a working group be established, led by Indigenous Peoples, to consider advancing towards a United Nations Convention on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. It is our view that self determination on our own terms will remain elusive while inaction towards a Convention persists. This evidenced in the continued difficulties of access for Indigenous Peoples to the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues.

8.     As a recourse for peoples who face political persecution for presenting, or experience continued barriers to attending, we call for the return of prioritisation to the Global Indigenous Peoples and Womens’ Caucuses.

9.     Furthermore, we reaffirm that our participation, advice and recommendations to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as Original Nations of Indigenous Peoples in defense of the Territorial Integrity of Mother Earth, does not constitute the devolution or reduction of the Mandate of Indigenous Peoples now or in the Future Generations.