Friday, September 7, 2007

APA, GOIP expect gov't to back UN Indigenous Peoples rights declaration

APA, GOIP expect gov't to back UN Indigenous Peoples rights declaration

The Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) and the Guyanese Organisation of Indigenous Peoples (GOIP) said yesterday that they expect the Guyana Government to vote for the immediate adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on September 13.

According to a joint APA/GOIP press release, the government has had a further opportunity to make its input to the Declaration and it was also on record as stating that "the Government of Guyana unequivocally supports the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the belief that such a document would strengthen global efforts to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples."

"We strongly believe that the Declaration which was already adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2006 represents the most important international instrument for the promotion and protection of human rights for indigenous peoples," the release stated.

And it noted also that indigenous peoples around the world have been lobbying their governments to support the adoption of the Declaration as this would be a major step towards eliminating the widespread human rights violations suffered by over 370 million indigenous peoples worldwide.

The APA and GOIP said further that they were aware that the Declaration which previously came up for consideration before the UN General Assembly in November 2006 was deferred to allow member states the opportunity to have further consultations. Since then a number of proposed amendments to the Declaration have been made, they said, and Guyana was among a group of seven states which had called for amendments to the Declaration.

The release also recalled statements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in an August 16 press release which said, among other things, that the deferral of the adoption of the Declaration provided "small states like Guyana with a significant Amerindian population to share views and make timely inputs on the text since Guyana which does not have a mission in Geneva was constrained in participating in the lengthy preparation of the Draft Declaration."

Source: Stabroek News, 7 Sept. 2007

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