Document presented by the delegation from
the Mapuche Inter-regional Council
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
Sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities.
WORKING GROUP ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
15th Period of Sessions
July 28-August 1st 1997
Item 8 of the Agenda
Nations Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples.
Thank you Madam Chair,
indigenous peoples have long awaited the opportunity to occupy a just position
of participation, which would allow us to express our points of view on
matters of humanity which concerns us directly. The survival of many of
our people is constantly threatened by policies imposed using colonial
methods and techniques of assimilation, which in certain cases invites
unavoidable conflicts. In many cases the existence of indigenous peoples
has been frequently denied, strongly affecting our individual and collective
is imperative that a Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples be established
at a higher level within the the United Nations structure, which is
only an initial step towards the settlement of the debt owed to us by states.
must point out that many states were formed on the basis of the extermination
of indigenous peoples and that even though the methods have changed in
many latitudes of the world, the rights of the indigenous peoples still
Chair, our organisation the Mapuche Inter-regional Council supports the
establishment of a Permanent Forum, and we believe that a higher degree
of indigenous participation for matters concerning plannning and operation
should definitely be established to mark the Indigenous Peoples Decade
proclaimed by the United Nations. Furthermore, we would like to point out
that the formulation of a definition for the concept "indigenous"
should not impede the development of this initiative, since communities
and individuals have the right to self-determination.
establishing a Forum for Indigenous Peoples it is imperative that we freely
and democratically elect our representatives without any form of pressure,
and that states engage themselves in providing the conditions and facilities
for this process to become a reality.
regard to the creation of the forum and the level at which it should be
established within the UN system and where its reports should be submitted,
we believe should be at highest possible level in the ECOSOC. This
must be considered as part of the reform and democratisation process of
the United Nations structures. In addition we consider that its mandate
should not have limitations regarding its issues, economical, socio-cultural,
human rights and environment areas.
respect to its finance, this should be included within the regular United
Nations' budget without prejudice towards voluntary contributions. We suggest
to the Working Group that you use the necessary efforts in order to distribute
all information and suggestions of the final document relating to the Perment
Forum, to indigenous organisations and other organisations concerned.
the second Millenium approaches we urge governments to show generosity
and carry out their duty in promoting understanding, tolerance, and cultural
chair, thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak,
30th July 1997
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