Statement by Dame Nina Ahmed at the 33th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council - Item 3
Human Rights Council
33rd Regular Session
13th - 30th Sept 2016
Item 3 – Promotion and Protection of all Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Including the Right to Development.
Statement presented by Auspice Stella*
The NGO ‘Global Witness’ reported that of 185 recorded deaths of environmental defenders in 2015, 74 of those murdered were indigenous persons, accounting for a staggering 40%. This alarming statistic speaks solely to the complicit unwillingness of nation states and commercial business enterprise to comply with international standards and the rule of law, where to do so is perceived to limit state and corporate opportunity in exploiting the valuable natural resources contained in indigenous lands for the purpose of unsustainable development and economic growth; where profit serves to secure power and where indigenous rights, including the right to life are weighed against gross national profit.
This sense of powerlessness and vulnerability is perhaps best expressed in the words of one such indigenous victim - Michelle Campos, “We get threatened, vilified and killed for standing up to the mining companies on our land and the paramilitaries that protect them... My father, grandfather and school teacher were just three of countless victims. We know the murderers – they are still walking free in our community. We are dying and our government does nothing to help us.”
The indigenous Mapuche of Wallmapu (Mapuche ancestral territory) in Chile and Argentina remain in this same predicament, one of pandemic proportions for indigenous peoples today.
This dilemma begs the question ‘who will guard the guardians’? And ‘who will protect the protectors’?
Picture: Dame Nina Ahmed
International instruments must be supported by strengthened observation and reporting mechanisms in order to effectively monitor powerful state and commercial actors.
The Right to development itself is an essential prerequisite to bringing an end to outmoded self-seeking attitudes of post-colonial state monopolies. States unethical approach to indigenous rights as enshrined in the UNDRIP, including the right to development must be urgently addressed at both national and international levels.
We therefore join the calls made by diverse indigenous organisations to swiftly extend the mandate of EMRIP in order to monitor states compliance with UNDRIP and inter alia the outcome report of the first World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and in line with the recommendations of the OHCHR.
We urge States to comply fully with international standards in order that the right to development with the human person at its core may be extended beyond just the few to encompass the each and every member of the human family.
Thank you Mr President
Dame Nina Ahmed
Executive Director – Mapuche Human Rights Commission – Auspice Stella*
*Auspice Stella, ONG avec statut consultatif spécial auprès du Conseil Economique et Social des Nations Unies depuis 2013. Association Loi 1901 Sous le haut patronage du Prince d’Araucanie Siège social: La Chèze, 24640 Chourgnac d’Ans tél. : 02.32.53.88.68; mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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