August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, May 26, 2011

UN Indigenous Forum: South and Central America, Caribbean 2011

Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Tenth session New York, 16-27 May 2011
Draft report Rapporteur : Ms. Paimaneh
Hasteh Chapter I
Matters calling for action by the Economic and Social Council or brought to its attention
B. Matters brought to the attention of the Economic and Social Council
Half-day discussion on South and Central America and the Caribbean
1. The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues recommends that Member States implement precautionary measures and recommendations provided by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and the Permanent Forum to prevent irreparable harm to indigenous peoples, their authorities and indigenous organizations.
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Global Indigenous Youth at UN focus on human rights

Photo copyright Ben Powless, Mohawk
Global Indigenous Youth Statement: Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

Intervention to the Tenth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 20ll
Global Indigenous Youth Caucus Statement
May 19, 20ll
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Photos UN 2011 by Ben Powless, Mohawk, published with permission at Censored News.
Agenda Item 4b: Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous peoples and other United Nations human rights mechanisms

Thank you Madam Chair.

The Global Indigenous Youth Caucus would like to once again remind the Permanent Forum and all present, that Indigenous youth compose the "majority" of our communities -yet we remain under represented and poorly supported in this Forum. We would also like to remind you that we have been repeating our issues and concerns for many years, with little to no implementation.
Photo copyright Ben Powless, Mohawk

We, the Indigenous youth representatives that are present here today, are not only speaking for ourselves and our issues -we are speaking on behalf of our younger brothers and sisters, nieces, nephews, and children of our own. We recognize the strong will and noble ability of the Global Indigenous Youth who have the privilege of being present and acknowledge those who are not present here, who are working, surviving and advocating for the fulfillment of our rights as Indigenous Peoples.

The Global Indigenous Youth Caucus recommends the following:

1. We urge the Special Rapporteur to investigate development aggression toward, migration of and the forced and coerced removal of Indigenous children and youth from their families and communities to fulfill their basic human rights -such as education, employment, health care and personal safety -as well as for the purposes of gaining access to Indigenous lands and resources. We ask that when calls for information are requested -information specifically pertaining to youth are submitted.

2. We request a specific report about Indigenous youth and identity, specifically, how the lack of identity including factors such as land, education, Indigenous religion and spiritual practices, gender, and social structures, is often the root cause of violence towards them. Simply because of our Indigeneity, youth experience discrimination of all forms, at varying levels. Whether it is States not recognizing our rights as peoples, or the rates of poverty -until our basic needs are met, any human rights discourse is irrelevant. We ask that this report compare the situation of youth globally to the issues affecting Indigenous youth.

3. We once again urge the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of lndigenous Peoples to look into the study on indigenous youth's participation in decision-making prepared and presented by the Indigenous Youth Caucus in its 3rd session, and to include a section especially addressing the role and the good practice of indigenous youth's participation in decision-making in its final report on Indigenous Peoples' right to participation. We further request the Expert Mechanism to include paragraphs addressing indigenous youth in its future studies.

4. We urge the permanent forum to collaborate with the UN Commission on the Rights of the Child and Member state reporting processes and other UN organizations with the mandate for children so that youth specific mandates are complied with.

5. We recommend the Expert Mechanism, the Permanent Forum, and the Special Rapporteur to encourage Indigenous peoples and their organizations in organizing for the collection of their own population data. Basic and accurate Indigenous population data within States is currently unavailable or inaccurate. This impedes the ability for Indigenous Peoples to accurately forecast their populations and make plans for education, child care, and health care needs. State measures are not adequate as they have a vested interest in reducing our numbers, both within data collection and in reality. This information is vital to advocate for the means of Indigenous Peoples to govern themselves and fully participate in negotiation and other decision making processes. Any data collection processes must be conducted in conjunction with Indigenous Peoples and their respective organizations.

6. We recommend that the Expert mechanism to request information to States on Indigenous youth engagement so that they report on these efforts and both their prevalence and efficacy. While some states may not be directly blocking the realization of rights -funding and resources are not made available, particularly for Indigenous youth. lf it is true that States, our leadership and representative organizations believe that youth are a priority, then our presence must be a priority and therefore funding our participation must also be a priority. Currently, the youth specific mandate of the Permanent Forum and the Special Rapporteur is not being met. In the future, we would like to see the Special Rapporteur fully embrace hit mandate to consider Indigenous children and youth issues.

Thank you madam chair.

Seneca to Obama at UN 2011: Adopt the UN Indigenous Rights Declaration

Seneca Nation points out that the US has not adopted the UN Indigenous Rights Declaration -- which President Obama earlier gave lip service to

Photo Susan Andrews/Salamanca Public Schools at UN
By Brenda Norrell

NEW YORK -- (May 26, 2011) The Seneca Nation encouraged the United States to move forward with full adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Rights, during the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

"In December 2010 President Barack Obama announced his support of the Declaration but the United States, which to date has failed to formally adopt the document, has taken no meaningful action," the Seneca Nation said.

Speaking at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Seneca pointed out what others at the UN Permanent Forum failed to point out. During the Permanent Forum this month, presenters praised Obama's verbal support of the Declaration. However, Obama's support was followed with stipulations from the US State Department.

In a similar manner, Canada is attempting to sidestep implementation of the Declaration, which would give the Declaration the full force of law regarding rights to ancestral territories and ensure free, prior and informed consent, along with other Indigenous rights inherent to sovereign nations stated in the Declaration.

Seneca Nation Councilor Nikki Seneca traveled to New York City to deliver a statement to the Tenth Session of the Permanent Forum. This is the first time the Seneca Nation has taken issues, including treaty rights, to the international arena, according to the Seneca's statement.

"Councilor Seneca urged the members of the Permanent Forum and the international community to examine the federal and state obligations to respect and honor Native treaty rights and guarantees. The Seneca Nation is calling for the UN Permanent Forum to provide recommendations for developing an international mechanism for resolving conflicts arising from treaty violations."

“We join with the other distinguished delegates who have requested that the Permanent Forum continue its call for the 3rd UN Seminar on Treaties, Agreements and Other Constructive Arrangements to be held in 2012.”

Seneca Nation President Robert Odawi Porter pointed out that the UN Declaration was not adopted and its goals have not been realized in the US.

“The UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights is a broad all-encompassing document that speaks to the many issues and concerns affecting Native people in the Western Hemisphere. The Seneca Nation looks forward to the day when the Declaration is not only adopted by the United States and all other major countries and nations, but when the goals of the Declaration are realized. For us of primary significance is enforcement of the treaties. Given our current struggles with New York State, the Seneca, along with other indigenous peoples could benefit from the backing of the world community to recognize basic human rights and to uphold the significant treaty rights of Native people," President Porter said.

Courtney Crouse, a Seneca student at Salamanca High delivered the statement in New York City. The focus for the student group centered on the need for informed consent in the wake of major construction projects such as dams and the impacts on indigenous peoples and communities.

Crouse stated, “We would like to bring attention to the negative effects of dams on indigenous peoples. About 50 years ago, a third of our beloved homelands were flooded due to the construction of the Kinzua Dam. The dam was built to improve flood control and water quality for various communities downstream. Many of the students here are grandchildren to the heartbroken elders that had everything taken from them. Our people fought on all levels - even submitted alternative plans, but all were rejected. We were given money and new homes as compensation to cover up the truth of what the Army Corps of Engineers had done. But no amount of money and no new homes could ever bring back what we lost. We did not just lose land. We lost our way of life.”

In 1954 the Army Corps of Engineers undertook the building of the Kinzua Dam for the purpose of flood control protections several hundred miles downstream in Pennsylvania. The Seneca lost 10,000 acres of prime agricultural homelands.

The Seneca Nation also stressed the need for the Permanent Forum to support development of a legal framework enabling implementation of Article 37 and Articles 20 and 21 of the UNDRIP which speaks to the interaction between treaty rights and Indigenous peoples’ right to economic development.

Read more of the Seneca Nation statement at Pechanga Net:

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