June 21, 2023
Ambassador, Manitoba Métis Federation, National Government of the Red River Métis
As representatives of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, we once again remind all delegations to the OAS General Assembly that the Indigenous peoples of the Americas (Abya Yala) are completely distinct from Civil Society organizations. We would also like to remind everyone here today that the situation of Indigenous peoples continues to worsen. Our leaders are being criminalized, our peoples suffer high rates of poverty, megaprojects pollute our sources of life, and consultation protocols continue to be ignored.
Today, we will not repeat what we have been stating for decades. Today, we want to extend our thanks to the government of Guatemala, the OAS and PAHO for implementing part of the 2017 Plan of Action by convening a meeting to explore a monitoring mechanism for the implementation of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted in 2016.
The Indigenous representatives in attendance, while concerned about the potential outcome, reached a consensus with the State delegations, which is a monitoring and evaluation mechanism. We hope that this proposed mechanism will be approved by this General Assembly in the course of the following days.
By moving forward with this proposed mechanism, and with the proposed full engagement of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, we can at least state that we are acting collectively to realize the fundamental human rights of Indigenous peoples, based on the recognition of the specific rights of Indigenous peoples, as enshrined in the Declaration and the propsed mechanism for its realization.
For us, the Declaration, the Plan of Action, and the proposed mechanism for monitoring the full and proactive implementation of the Declaration by governments are key to our collective success and well-being.
Nevertheless, to be as successful as possible, we call on Member States, including Canada and the United States, to actively participate, both in support of the Declaration and its Plan of Action, and in the initiatives to be undertaken by the proposed Working Group. This includes providing financial resources so that the Working Group can carry out its mandate. This must be a priority.
We trust that the Member States of the General Assembly will take a strong position, supporting the establishment of the Working Group and participating fully in its work.