GENEVA (10 September 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, today called on the relevant state, federal and tribal authorities in the United States of America to take all necessary measures to ensure the wellbeing and human rights of 'Veronica,' an almost four year old Cherokee child at the center of a highly contentious custody dispute.
"Veronica's human rights as a child and as member of the Cherokee Nation, an indigenous people, should be fully and adequately considered in the ongoing judicial and administrative proceedings that will determine her future upbringing," Mr. Anaya stressed. "The individual and collective rights of all indigenous children, their families and indigenous peoples must be protected throughout the United States."
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, has released his report on the situation of indigenous peoples in El Salvador and his report on his consultations with indigenous peoples in Asia. The Special Rapporteur previously issued his report on the situation of indigenous peoples in Namibia in June 2013. The Special Rapporteur will present the three reports to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2013 along with his annual report, which focuseson extractive industries and indigenous peoples, and his report on cases examined.
GENEVA (9 August 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, today urged Governments worldwide to respect all agreements -new and old- with indigenous peoples to provide a basis for much needed reconciliation and overcome all obstacles to the full realization of indigenous peoples’ rights. “Full respect for treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements is a crucial element in advancing toward reconciliation with indigenous peoples,” the expert said on International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
With respect to new treaties and agreements being developed, including in relation to extractive industries operating in or near indigenous lands, the UN expert underscored that these should be consistent with international standards concerning the rights of indigenous peoples, both in relation to indigenous participation in these processes as well as in terms of substantive outcomes. “In no instance should new treaties or agreements fall below or undermine the standards set forth in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples or established in other international sources,” he said. “Broken treaties must become a thing of the past,” he stressed.
The annual thematic report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, which he will present to the Human Rights Council in September 2013,addresses issues related to extractive industries and implications that they have for the rights of indigenous peoples. In the report, the Special Rapporteur systematically sets forth a series of observations and recommendations regarding models of natural resource development, the obligations of States, the responsibilities of companies, consultation processes, and the principle of free, prior and informed consent to protect the rights of indigenous peoples, within the context of challenges posed by extractive industries on a global scale. These observations and recommendations build upon the Special Rapporteur'sprevious reports and draw on information gathered through country visits, seminars, written submission from various sources and independent research.
The Special Rapporteur invites indigenous peoples, governments, companies, and NGOs to an open dialogue on the report anditsrecommendations. To this end, the Special Rapporteur will conduct an on-line seminar on his website within the coming weeks and engage in an inter-active dialogue with interested parties in Geneva in September in connection with his presentation of the report to the Human Rights Council.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, concluded his official visit to Panama today. In his final statement upon concluding the mission, Mr. Anaya stated that indigenous peoples of the country are calling for greater recognition and protection of their territories and natural resources. During his visit, the Special Rapporteur also heard indigenous peoples throughout the country express concerns regarding a lack of respect and deference by State authorities towards decisions by indigenous authorities.
Mr. Anaya noted that "...it is necessary to consolidate and implement State public policies in favor of the rights of indigenous peoples in a manner that is coherent with international standards." The Special Rapporteur also stated that "... an important advancement for the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples would be the ratification of International Labour Organization Convention No. 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries. Panama is one of the few countries in Latin America that has not yet ratified the Convention. Convention No. 169 is an instrument that compliments the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted in 2007 by the United Nations General Assembly with an affirmative vote by Panama."
GENEVA / PANAMA CITY (17 July 2013) - The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, will visit Panama from 19 to 26 July 2013, to study the situation of indigenous groups the country.
“I hope this visit will contribute to raising awareness of the concerns of indigenous peoples in Panama, including ngäbe bugle, guna, embera, wounaan, bri bri and naso people, concerns that are often ignored by the societies in which they live”, said Mr. Anaya, who visited the country in 2009 to assess the situation of indigenous communities affected by the Chan 75 hydroelectric project. In announcing his official mission to Panama, the UN independent expert expressed his desire to “get a better understanding of the views of indigenous peoples, representatives of the Government and other stakeholders on the advances and challenges that exist with regard to enjoyment of human rights of indigenous peoples in the country.”
During his seven-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with Government officials and representatives of indigenous peoples in Panama City and will travel to the indigenous territories of Ngäbe Bugle, Guna Yala and Embera Wounaan.
From 8 to12 July 2013, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, participated in the sixth session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the last session in which he will participate prior to the end of his mandate in April 2014. The Special Rapporteur spoke at the opening panel, during which he discussed his coordination with the Expert Mechanism and provided comments related to the Expert Mechanism’s study on access to justice.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has release the latest Joint Communications Report of the Special Procedures Mandate Holders for communications sent between 1 December 2012 and 28 February 2013 and replies received between 1 February and 30 April 2013.
The report contains letters sent by the Special Rapporteur James Anaya and replies received from governments concerning cases of alleged violations of the human rights of indigenous peoples. Cases examined by the Special Rapporteur reflected in the report are from Argentina, Bangladesh, Botswana, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Russia Federation, and the United States of America.
On 27 May 2013, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples delivered a keynote address at the inaugural conference of the World Indigenous Network, in Darwin, Australia. In his presentation he addressed the advances and ongoing challenges worldwide for implementation of the internationally recognized rights of indigenous peoples, especially in the context of land and natural resource conservation programs.
See the conference Program here, and see Videos here. Media coverage here
From 20 to 22 May 2013, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples participated in the twelfth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York. During his time at the Forum, the Special Rapporteur held parallel meetings with numerous indigenous representatives, who presented documentation regarding cases of alleged violations of their human rights. In his statement to the Permanent Forum, the Special Rapporteur provided updates on the activities he has carried out throughout the year, and some comments relevant to the mandate of the Permanent Forum to provide expert advice on indigenous issues to the programmes, funds and agencies of the United Nations.
GENEVA (16 May 2013) - The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya,has maintained a dialogue with the Government of Ecuador in which he urged the Government to adopt measures necessary to prevent further violence between the indigenous Tagaeri-Taromenane and Waorani peoples of the Yasuní Biosphere Reserve, located in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
According to information received by the UN expert, several members of the Taromenane people were killed as the result of an assault carried out by Waorani people in March in the province of Orellana. During the attack, two Taromenane girls were also abducted. The assault took place after the death of two elderly Waorani on 5 March 2013, which was attributed to the Taromenane who live in isolation.
Geneva (13 May 2013) The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, issued a press release today urging the Nicaraguan Government to adopt measures to protect indigenous peoples in the Bosawás Reserve as well as to secure their land rights within the reserve.
"The lack of progress for effective measures to secure territorial rights of indigenous communities within the reserve can lead to an escalation of an already tense social situation due to the illegal entry of non-indigenous persons in the reserve," said Mr. Anaya.
On 2 May 2013, the Special Rapporteur participated in a roundtable discussion in London, United Kingdom,which brought together representatives of indigenous representatives, business enterprises, and non-governmental organizations to discuss issues related to consultation and free, prior and informed consent in relation to extractive activities. The discussion took place in the context of the launching ofa new study, "Making Free Prior and Informed Consent a Reality: Indigenous peoples and the Extractive Section", by Indigenous Peoples Links, Middlesex University School of Law, and the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility. During the roundtable, the Special Rapporteur presented updates on his thematic study on extractive industries operating in or near indigenous territories, and discussed international human rights standards related to principles of consultation and consent.
GENEVA (2 May 2013) Today the Special Rapporteur made public his report on the situation of indigenous peoples in Namibia. The report was developed on the basis of research and information gathered by the Special Rapporteur during an official visit to the country from 20 to 28 September 2012. In the report, the Special Rapporteur calls on the Government to "strengthen measures to ensure that minority indigenous peoples can survive with their cultures intact in the fullest sense, including in regard to their traditional lands, authorities, and languages."
The report notes innovative land restitution efforts and land management arrangements carried out by the Government while also highlighting under-representation of indigenous peoples that are ethnically distinct from the majority tribes of Namibia in decision-making at local and national levels, among other issues.
On 25 April 2013 the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples made a keynote speech at the conference, "The Right of Indigenous Peoples to Prior Consultation: The Role of the Ombudsmen in Latin America", which was convened by the Ibero-American Federation of Ombudsmen, in Lima, Peru. The conference brought together the Ombudsmen and heads of national human rights institutions throughout Latin America, as wells as indigenous leaders and government officials from Peru.
On 5 and 6 April 2013, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples participated in an "Exchange Workshop on Indigenous Peoples' Rights Between the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, the ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights" in Banjul, the Gambia.
During the meeting, the Special Rapporteur presented his work in the African context and globally and exchanged information with the various mechanisms on common challenges and objectives for the promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples in their respective work areas. The workshop took place prior to the session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights, which takes place from 9-23 April 2013.
On 21 and 22 March 2013, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples participated in an "Expert Focus Group Seminar on Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples" and a "High Level Meeting on Engagement and Dialogue with Indigenous Peoples", hosted by the World Bank. The meetings, which took place in Manila, Philippines, were carried out the context of the World Bank's review of its environmental and social safeguard policies, including its Operational Policy 4.10 on indigenous peoples, which apply to the Bank's lending for investments in specific projects.
In his statements at the meetings, the Special Rapporteur emphasized that the revised policy should be consistent with rights of indigenous peoples affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He further urged that the policies that apply to all the Bank's financial and technical assistance, and not just its investment lending, be reviewed to ensure consistency with the Declaration.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has released the latest Joint Communications Report of Special Procedures Mandate Holder for communications sent between from 1 June and 30 November 2012 and replies received between 1 August 2012 and 31 January 2013. The report also includes replies received between 1 August 2012 and 31 January 2013, relating to communications sent by special procedures mandate holders before 1 June 2012. The report contains letters sent by the Special Rapporteur James Anaya and replies received from governments concerning cases of alleged violations of the human rights of indigenous peoples.
Cases examined by the Special Rapporteur reflected in the report are from Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya, Nepal, New Zealand, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Suriname, United States and Venezuela.
13 March 2013 - The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, finalized his two-day consultation with indigenous representatives from countries throughout the Asia region to gather information about key issues affecting their peoples.
Representatives provided oral and written information on various issues including lands, territories and resources with a focus on extractive industries; militarization and impact of national security measures of Governments; and self-determination and identity. Indigenous peoples from Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Philippines, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Myanmar were represented at the consultation. The Special Rapporteur will be producing a report on the consultation, which will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in September 2013. The consultation was organized and hosted by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact and the Malaysia National Human Rights Institution, SUHAKAM.
Tucson (13 February 2013) – At the University of Arizona College of Law, the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, engaged in a dialogue with indigenous leaders and experts to exchange ideas and comments on the findings contained in his report on the situation of indigenous peoples in the United States, which was published in August 2012. Among the issues discussed during the dialogue were the opportunities and challenges in the implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples domestically; the need for further dissemination of the Declaration and the Special Rapporteur's report among indigenous peoples and general society; ongoing concerns over the protection of indigenous traditional lands and sacred sites; the implementation of the principles of consultation and free, prior and informed consent; and ways at achieving reconciliation.
See the United States country report here. See the web-cast of the dialogue here.
The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, provided the keynote address at the Indigenous panel that opened the current session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore, in Geneva, Switzerland. The Committee, which is part of the World Intellectual Property Organization, is meeting to discuss a draft instrument on intellectual property rights and the protection of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge. In his statement, the Special Rapporteur examined how the concepts of state sovereignty and property, which have been central to discussions at the Intergovernmental Committee, relate to the rights of indigenous peoples.
He provided a historical background outlining how conventional concepts of state sovereignty and property rights were detrimental to indigenous peoples, and how recent developments in decision-making at the international level have led to new understandings of these concepts. The Special Rapporteur discussed the special relevance that these developments have for the rights of indigenous peoples to genetic resources and traditional knowledge. Finally, the Special Rapporteur commented on the draft instrument that is the subject of negotiations. See the full statement here. For information on the work of the Intergovernmental Committee click here.
GENEVA (8 January 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, urged the Government of Canada and Aboriginal leaders to undertake meaningful dialogue in light of First Nations protests and a month-long hunger strike by Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation.
"I am encouraged by reports that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has agreed to meet with First Nations Chiefs and leadership on 11 January 2013 to discuss issues related to Aboriginal and treaty rights as well as economic development," Mr. Anaya said. "Both the Government of Canada and First Nations representatives must take full advantage of this opportunity to rebuild relationships in a true spirit of good faith and partnership."
The announcement of the meeting followed weeks of protests carried out by Aboriginal leaders and activists within a movement referred to as 'Idle no more.'
The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, together with members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Expert Mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples met in Guatemala from 19 to 22 December 2012 to discuss preparations for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, which will be convened by the UN General Assembly in 2014. The meeting included participation in ceremonies to mark the Oxlajuuj B'aqtun, the change of the era in the Maya calendar.
While in Guatemala, the Special Rapporteur also participated in a "National Forum on indigenous peoples and natural resources: perspectives for inclusive development" as well as in informal meetings with representatives of indigenous peoples and the private sector.