Discussion and Debate on the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People
Speakers from Artic Caucus; Asian Caucus; Continental Network of Indigenous Women; India’s Confederation of Indigenous Peoples; the Foundation for Aboriginal and Island Research; Indigenous Peoples Caucus of the Greater Caribbean including Puerto Rico; the Indigenous Youth Council; the Institute for Environmental Development; North American Indigenous People; Tibetan Native Women.
Representatives from: Argentina; Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Nepal, Republic of the Philippines, West Papua (Papua New Guinea/ Indonesia).
Summary of Sentiment
The common thread of all the represented Indigenous communities to speak was the call for the recognition of and inclusion of native peoples by the governments of their respective countries and the global community through the channel that is the Permanent Forum. Indigenous communities wish to be more involved in preliminary law making concerning policies that directly and indirectly affect their communities (i.e. Geo-political and Trans-boundary issues with consideration to the cultural/historical ties to the land, and land / resource exploitation and use.) Many Indigenous communities, such as the representatives from the Philippines, reported that while much progress has been made in improving the relationship between the Indigenous people and the local governments, much is to be gained from “enhancing cooperation’s, renewing communications, and continuing to develop partnerships between the Indigenous peoples and their governments.” There was a call for the Forum to take holistic, rights based action to: protect human rights; protect indigenous biodiversity and heritage; to facilitate a local, national, and international Indigenous youth conference to promote increase participation of young woman; to acknowledge and protect Indigenous elders who embody the native cultures; to recognize religious diversity; and to educated woman and children (the most at risk group for discrimination, stereotyping and neglect). There was further appeal for UN intervention with the US government on the issues surrounding migration, specifically: a separation of migrant laws from criminal laws; the institution of a Family Reunification program; that the UN force countries such as Peru and Guatemala to comply with the reconciliation laws in place; and that there may be genuine dialogue to recognize the peoples rights of free mobility. The final uniting factor of the Forum was the call for aid in correcting the imbalances in representation and resource and power allocation between: men v.s. woman; Indigenous v.s. non-Indigenous populations; and the Indigenous community v.s. the local governments.