Statement by RAIPON
regarding the adoption of Namibia's draft resolution on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly
The indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation have followed with great interest the discussion, in the 61st Session of the UN General Assembly, of the recommendations of the Human Rights Council, and in particular, of Resolution 2006/2 on the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Leaders of the indigenous peoples' organizations of the North, Siberia and the Russian Far East and members of RAIPON's Coordinating Council gathered in Moscow on 25 November 2006 to discuss the current situation, and appealed to the President of the Russian Federation to reconsider the position of the Russian delegation, which has opposed the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly.
On 28 November 2006, by a majority of votes, the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted draft resolution /C.3/61/L.57/Rev.1, which was proposed by Namibia on behalf of a group of African governments. This initiative was intended to torpedo the process of adopting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly.
The current situation is a classic example of the political manipulation of the opinions of less economically developed countries in order to satisfy the interests of countries such as the USA, Australia, and New Zealand, which have traditionally opposed a strong Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as Canada and the Russian Federation, whose true position has become evident only at the last stage of adopting the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has been in the making for more than twenty-one years. At all stages of this process, each of the member countries of the UN, including those in Africa, have had the opportunity to make their own proposals for the text of the document under discussion. All interested parties have taken an active part in the negotiation of the Declaration. Even within the open-ended inter-sessional Working Group on the draft declaration, established by the Commission on Human Rights, work on the declaration has taken eleven years.
As an active participant in all of the sessions of the UN Working Group on the draft declaration, RAIPON wishes to thank the Chairman of the Working Group, Mr. Luis Enrique Chavez, for his efforts in achieving a text by mutual concession, which he then presented for consideration before the Human Rights Council, and which received overwhelming support from indigenous peoples and governments.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as adopted by the Human Rights Council proposes a set of minimal standards in the field of human rights enabling indigenous peoples to survive in the face of continuing discrimination and violation of their fundamental rights.
In view of the UN General Assembly Third Committee's adoption on 28 November 2006 of the draft resolution A/C.3/61/L.57/Rev.1 as proposed by Namibia, representing a group of African governments, RAIPON, on behalf of the indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation:
- expresses its sincere disappointment with the decision to defer adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, an action that seriously hinders the goals and tasks put forward by the UN's Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People;
- considers this event to be a negative remnant of the past, and an indicator of the weakness of the UN's reformed system, in which many decisions adopted earlier and that continue to be adopted serve the political interests of economically developed countries, and therefore are unnecessarily politicized;
- is alarmed by that fact that in the draft resolution there is no mention of the participation of indigenous peoples in those consultations that the member countries of the UN will conduct throughout the rest of the 61st session of the UN General Assembly, and as a result we fear that, without the participation of indigenous peoples, changes will be introduced to the text which will substantially weaken the Declaration;
- expresses its gratitude to Peru and the authoring countries of the draft resolution A/C.3/61/L.18/Rev.1 on the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;
- affirms its support for the text of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as adopted by the Human Rights Council on 29 June 2006;
- expresses its willingness to continue further work on the adoption by the UN General Assembly of an effective Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and calls upon all indigenous peoples of the world to unite their efforts toward this end.
Russian Association of indigenous peoples of the North (RAIPON)
P.O. Box 110 Moscow, Russia 119415
Tel.fax (495) 780-87-27