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.