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World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
Planning is already underway for the 2014 conference; now is the best time for Indian and Alaska Native Nations to get involved. (More) UN photo by Eskinder Debebe.
The United Nations will delay any substantive action on their work to enable the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions at the UN. After years of discussions among indigenous peoples and member states, and several weeks of states-only negotiations this summer, member states were not able to reach consensus.
In a season of reckless threats and racist and misogynistic rhetoric, of xenophobia and border walls, indigenous peoples’ rights are at risk, whether intended targets or not. Right now, the Senate is considering a budget that calls for $1.6 billion for "high-priority tactical infrastructure and border security technology." This border wall that is envisioned by President Trump and U.S. lawmakers would cut across at least half a dozen Native American lands including Yuma, Apache, Yaqui, Pima, Kickapoo and Tohono O’odham.
Indian nations have historically been international actors and a part of the world community of sovereign nations, and this is shown by their treaties with the United States and other nations. Today, tribes are seeking to rejoin the international community in order to protect their lands, sovereignty, and cultures, and to benefit their communities, according to experts who spoke at the “Indian Nations in the United Nations” workshop hosted by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the Indian Law Resource Center on April 22, 2016 in Shawnee, Okla.
During President Barack Obama’s administration, we have seen two major developments in the advancement of indigenous rights. The first came in December, 2010, when the President announced the U.S. endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The second came in September, 2014, when the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples resulted in an outcome document in which the UN and member states made major commitments to implement the Declaration.
Update: Five Year Anniversary of the US Endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Dec. 16, 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of the U.S. announcement of its support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Since 2010, tribal leaders have been working vigorously to implement the UN Declaration at all levels which includes law and policy reform, changes in administrative practices, and long-term efforts to correct conditions that impede tribal development or that undermine tribes’ right to self-determination, cultural rights, and resource rights.
The following proposals and memoranda were written in response to the need to identify concrete and action-oriented recommendations for the UN system and member states to adopt at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, in order to advance the objectives of the UN Declaration. Recognizing the historic but limited opportunity provided by the World Conference, the following proposals enjoyed broad support from tribal nations and indigenous communities, and remain critical pathways for follow-up to the World Conference, including:
General Assembly Resolutions
Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly, October 15, 2012
[GA Resolution on the Modalities of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (A/RES/66/296)]
Resolution on Indigenous Peoples, December 2013
[GA Resolution on Rights of indigenous peoples (A/RES/68/149)]
The World Conference Outcome Document
Executive Director, Robert T. Coulter, addressed the 30th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva today recommending the swift establishment of an implementing and monitoring body for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The statement makes a number of recommendations about this body, including specific proposals regarding its mandate, structure, and composition.
Will Micklin, 1st Vice President of the Central Council of Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, represented the views of more than 150 indigenous nations and organizations at a United Nations meeting June 3, 2014, in New York. Micklin’s statement includes four recommendations for the action-oriented document that will result from the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Please listen or read and share.