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.