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Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

EMRIP17: Agenda Item 3 – Study and advice on Constitutions, laws, legislation, policies, judicial decisions, and other mechanisms through which States have taken measures to achieve the ends of the UNDRIP, in accordance with Article 38 of the Declaration.

Gam A. Shimray - Item 3-EMRIP17

17th Session of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP)
8th to 12th July 2024, UN, Geneva
Joint Statement on
Agenda Item 3: Study and advice on Constitutions, laws, legislation, policies, judicial decisions, and other mechanisms through which States have taken measures to achieve the ends of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, in accordance with Article 38 of the Declaration.
By Gam A. Shimray, on behalf of Asia Indigenous Peoples Caucus

The historical adoption of the UNDRIP and other instruments like the ILO convention 169, have enabled some advances in the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. However, we are dismayed that much of the commitments made by the UN e.g., the System-wide Action Plan of October 2015 aimed at ensuring a coherent approach to achieving the ends of the UNDRIP remains largely unimplemented. The ineffective implementation of the UNDRIP is a root cause of grave human rights violations, land dispossessions and indiscriminate looting of resources in our territories.

The EMRIP study which analyzes Constitutions, laws, legislations, policies, judicial decisions and other mechanisms through which states have taken measures to achieve the ends of the UNDRIP reaffirms the anguish of the Indigenous Peoples in Asia.

Colonial state policies and development aggression are undermining Indigenous Peoples’ sovereignty and self-determination, eroding traditional governance systems and further severing Indigenous Peoples’ connections with their territories. When the European colonisers departed from Asia, they left behind governing systems, processes, and norms that were subsequently adopted by national elites and used to perpetuate the marginalisation of ethnic minorities, including Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous political institutions are increasingly confronted by outside entities such as corporations and international financial institutions promoting “development projects” that entail the extraction or expropriation of Indigenous lands and resources.

The lack of clear institutional arrangement at the UN for facilitating the right of Indigenous Peoples to self-government at the UN for Indigenous Peoples, and the lack of a democratic space to negotiate peace arrangements contributes greatly to major human rights violations. According to the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED), about 8,000 civilians have been killed since the coup in Myanmar; and approximately 2.3 million people[1] have been displaced. 

We would also like to also stress the onslaughts on civil liberties that have severely curbed public space for the freedom of expression, association and access to justice. According to Global Witness, in 2022, 36% of defenders killed around the world were indigenous persons. Thirty-six of the killings took place in Asia with 11 in the Philippines. In Manipur, India, several hundreds have lost their lives due to communal violence and no effective State intervention since May 2023.

It is pertinent that the UN system takes serious note of the following recommendations and act with urgency:

  1. The Secretary-General and other high-level UN officials should use their good offices to encourage states to incorporate the provisions of the UNDRIP in national laws and policies and take measures to effectively implement the System-wide Action Plan of the UN for the implementation of the

  2. Prioritize supporting national partners in reform and implementation of legal frameworks, policies, strategies and plans that further the UNDRIP process, through joint programming and other initiatives.

  3. For the EMRIP to explore the potential for the Security Council to address conflicts in indigenous territories under the peace and security agenda with the full and effective participation of indigenous women and youth in peace processes

  4. For the UN Agencies, funds and programmes to establish a regional inter-agency working group on indigenous issues in Asia to enable a coherent regional approach, as has been done in Latin America and Africa.

Click here to download the full statement of EMRIP17 Agenda Item 3 by Gam Shimray