Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Distinguished Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Mr. José Miguel Insulza

Ambassador Jorge Reynaldo Cuadros, Chairman of the Working Group for the elaboration of an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Respected Representatives of the Member States of the Organization of American States (OAS)

Brothers and Sisters, Representatives of the Indigenous Peoples of Abyayala

My name is Manuela Cotiy. I am from the Kiché People of Guatemala. Indigenous women symbolize the fertility of our mother earth, the custodians of our cultural patrimony, and the transmitters of our ancestral knowledge that bears the principles and values of our world view which promotes the principle of complementarity and equilibrium that characterizes Indigenous Peoples and is framed by a harmonic and respectful coexistence with Our Mother Earth.

Mr. Chairman,

In the closing ceremony of the working group reflection meeting, the caucus that gathers the Indigenous Peoples of the Continent salutes and thanks the will manifested by the governmental representatives to continue supporting the drafting process of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a joint effort that has taken us eleven years during which we firmly believe we have advanced in developing a declaration that recognizes the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We feel that the session began a little pessimistically, but we thank each of the State Representatives for their positive reaction to the work presented by the Indigenous Caucus concerning the progress achieved in the process up until this point and as such hope for positive results from future negotiation sessions.

Mr. Chairman,

The Indigenous Peoples of the hemisphere have assembled here, each one speaking his/her own language, having his/her distinct social organization, world view, and ethical, legal, economic and productive principles among other aspects. We are convinced that for this draft declaration to be useful for Indigenous Peoples, the principle of Self-determination must be clearly established in the document, a right from which is derived the rest of the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples like the rights to land, territory and resources, tangible and intangible patrimony, and participation, among others. This is in agreement with the new generation of standards of international law like those instruments concerning the rights of Indigenous Peoples as reflected in the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which contains a compilation of rights that have been sufficiently clarified by international law. In this sense, we salute the advances achieved up until now by the indigenous government of Bolivia, which has adopted in its legislation the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. Chairman,

The Indigenous Caucus urges the OAS State Representatives to maintain a flexible and open position in order to approve an American Declaration as soon as possible that contemplates all of the Collective Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We believe it is of great relevance that this draft be completed soon and establish standards that are consistent with and complementary to other legal instruments of the international order that are relative to the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. Chairman,

In the name of the Indigenous Caucus, we insist that each one of the State Representatives demonstrate the political will to advance the adoption of the American Declaration that reflects the Rights and fundamental demands of Indigenous Peoples.

MALTIOX, which in the Kiché language signifies: Thank you.

Washington DC, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Obama and Chavez to attend OAS summit in Trinidad

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad: Trinidad and Tobago is to host one of the biggest conferences in April next year - the Summit of the Americas, which will be attended by 24 world leaders including the presidents of the United States and Venezuela.

The twin island republic is busy making preparations for the summit and the government has already indicated that it will declare April 17 -- the date of the opening of the conference -- a public holiday.

A top level local organising committee comprises the Minister of Trade and Industry Kenny Saith, Works and Transport Minister Colm Imbert, Utilities Minister Mustapha Abdul Hamid, Local Government Minister Hazel Manning, Education Minister Esther Le Gendre and several other top level personnel.

The Trinidad Guardian, in a front page article, said that security is the main concern because of the presence of the two dozen world leaders and a source said that recommendations were made to lock down parts of Port of Spain for three days during the summit.

The meeting will take place in Port of Spain, where two cruise ships will dock to accommodate the overflow of guests attending the meeting.

This is the first time that a Summit of the Americans will take place in the Caribbean.

Author: Oscar Ramjeet
Source: Caribbean Net News

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Statement of the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change

Statement of the International Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change (IIPFCC) to the 29th Session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technical Advice (SBSTA), during the 14th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP14) of the United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

December 1, 2008


The International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), representing IPs from different parts of the world met from 27–29 November 2008 here in Poznan, Poland, to prepare for the Fourteenth Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC.

We, the Indigenous Peoples have suffered the worst impacts of climate change without having contributed to its creation.

We must not be placed in the position of suffering from mitigation strategies which we believe have offered false solutions to the problem at hand. And even worse, many of the mitigation and adaptation schemes being discussed in UNFCCC and related processes threaten our rights and our very existence.

Mitigation projects, including REDD and CDM, implemented by Parties and private sector are carried out without the free prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples there by affecting our livelihoods and violating our human rights.

These projects are encroaching on areas of lands sacred to us, and producing the forced eviction of many of our brothers and sisters from their ancestral territories.

Furthermore, proposed `scientific' mitigation and adaptation solutions, methodologies and technologies being discussed here and elsewhere do not reflect Indigenous Peoples' cosmovision and our ancestral knowledge.

So-called `consultations' with us, often only take the form of simply informing our communities. Consultations should not be limited to specific communities and organizations but should involve all affected and involved indigenous peoples, including our representative organizations.

We the Indigenous Peoples demand full participation in the implementation of all areas of work concerning Climate Change and Forests.

We put the following recommendations forward:

· To ensure a rights-based approach in the design and implementation of climate change policies, programmes and projects. In particular, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be recognized, implemented and mainstreamed in all of the Convention activities;

· To ensure the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent in line with internationally recognized standards of good governance;

· To develop methodologies and tools for impacts and vulnerability assessments in consultation with indigenous peoples;

· To recognize and use traditional knowledge and integrating it with scientific knowledge in assessing impacts and coming up with adaptations;

· To ensure the proper capacity building of indigenous peoples in technologies for adaptation;

· To immediately suspend all REDD initiatives in Indigenous territories until Indigenous Peoples' rights are fully recognized and promoted;

· To include indigenous peoples' experts in the implementation of phase II of Nairobi Programme of Work;

· To set up a disaster reduction strategies and means to address loss and damage associated with climate change mitigation projects and policies, impacts in indigenous peoples territories;

Thank you.

Note: The International Forum of Indigenous Peoples on Climate Change (IIPFCC) is the Indigenous Peoples Caucus convened during the UNFCCC COP14. The Caucus represents Indigenous participants from the North and South.

Source: IEN Tom G [ ien@igc.org ]