HRC Roundtable Discussion on the Enhanced Participation Organised by UN Human Rights Council
UN Office in Geneva, Switzerland
16 July 2021
Thank you Chair and to the Human Rights Council for this opportunity.
Excellency, Member States, distinguished Panellists, Indigenous Peoples’ representatives and colleagues! I would like to thank to the organisers, the Human Rights Council and the Temporary Committee of the Indigenous Coordinating Body for the Enhanced Participation in the UN system.
At the outset, the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact acknowledges the progress made by the four advisers on the enhanced participation at the UN system in line with the call of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) Outcome document 2014 and the Quito Outcome Document 2020. We also acknowledge the progress made for the enhanced participation in the UN system through the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, Permanent Forum, EMRIP, and Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Participation is a necessary condition for Indigenous Peoples to reach out our concerns to the policy makers. This would create an opportunity to develop understanding on how to overcome the historical injustices and continuing marginalization and discrimination. Gross and systematic violation of human rights against Indigenous Peoples is linked to their exclusion from decision-making processes on the issues affecting them.
UN Charter provides for equality and non-discrimination for all peoples. Further, the UN Secretary General in his report (2020 – A/75/255, para 10) to the UN General Assembly had acknowledged that participation at the United Nations had been a positive experience for Indigenous Peoples, enabling them to work peacefully and in partnership with States on issues of concern. Such cooperation would be improved by the further enhancement of procedures to enable the participation of Indigenous Peoples in all relevant work of the United Nations.
The right to self-determination as a principle framework, we call upon to the HRC:
- To continue the discussion on the enhanced participation of Indigenous Peoples with transparency and with equal participation of both States and Indigenous Peoples with the aim of creating opportunities as well as to provide recommendations on the enhanced participation of Indigenous Peoples.
- In this regard, HRC should take the initiative in convening workshops open to the participation of States and Indigenous Peoples, including invitation for written submissions to identify best possible way of enhancing Indigenous Peoples participation to the Human Rights Council.
It is important to review the barriers and limitations of Indigenous Peoples’ participation e.g., Indigenous Peoples have to acquire NGO status as well as ECOSOC status. Further, Indigenous Peoples are victims of gross and systematic human rights violations on the ground. Therefore, the Human Rights Council as the mandated human rights body of the UN must consider Indigenous Peoples as a separate entity to facilitate their effective and meaningful participation.
Finally, we also call upon to the Member States, particularly Member States from Asia, the Temporary Committee and the UN Bodies to initiate dialogues on enhanced participation at the regional level with full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples.
I conclude by expressing my sincere gratitude to the Member States, Indigenous leaders and organisations for their invaluable work and support to this process.
Gam A. Shimray
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact