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10th session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of indigenous peoples emrip

12.07.2017  15:19

Item 7 – Indigenous peoples’ participation in the United Nations system
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Thank you Chair,

This statement is made on behalf of the following countries: Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and my own country Denmark, together with Greenland.

Enabling the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in meetings of relevant issues affecting them is an important and tangible delivery of the commitment all Member States made at the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples held in September 2014. For the past two years, our countries have been engaged in the open consultations and the subsequent intergovernmental negotiations and have worked tirelessly with all other stakeholders towards a positive outcome of this process. We deeply regret that the negotiations within the 71st General Assembly have come to a halt last week in New York.

We would like to take this opportunity to - once again - reaffirm that Indigenous Peoples’ representative institutions should have the possibility and space to exercise their right to participate in meetings of all relevant UN bodies on issues affecting them. Issues affecting Indigenous Peoples are discussed in a variety of UN entities and bodies, such as the General Assembly and its committees, notably the 2nd and 3rd, the Human Rights Council and the ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies, and so their participatory rights need to reflect that.

It is evident that the existing categories for participation do not adequately reflect the unique features of Indigenous Peoples and their institutions. Indigenous peoples’ representative institutions should be able to participate as such, and not as NGOs. With the temporary conclusion of negotiation it is apparent that we are still to deliver on the commitments on participation set out in UNDRIP and the outcome document of the World Conference. For the continuation of our work towards this goal, it is tantamount that the enormous amount of work done by indigenous peoples and member states be preserved. The more procedural resolution currently under consideration in New York must ensure this while also providing guidance for the continuation of the process itself.  

We are committed to continue to engage positively in this important process - also in the coming deliberations during future GA sessions - to ensure a positive outcome that de facto leads to enhanced participation for indigenous peoples’ representative institutions.

Thank you.