The regional preparatory meeting for UNPFII by Asia Indigenous Peoples has been yearly organized since 2003 (to be checked) in order to come up with the regional positions on the coming session of the UNPFII. For the 6th session of UNPFII, the preparatory meeting was held in Kompong Cham, Cambodia from 17-28, February, 2007 and a total of 54 (to be checked) from 14 (TBC) countries from Asia participated. The meeting was supported by IWGIA and European Commission through AIPP, and held back to back with consultation between Asia Indigenous Peoples’ representatives and Special Rapportuer on situation of fundamental freedom and basic human rights of indigenous people and Regional Conference on Lands.
There are many who express their willingness to participate in the preparatory meeting but the organizing committee cannot invite all because of limited fund and it always creates discontent and problem. Therefore, mechanism for selection of participant was established through appointment of national focal point each country or area whom has a sole responsibility for so. In 2006, the national focal point was extended from one person to two persons in each county or area. These national focal points select the participants from concerned countries and area for the preparatory meeting too.
February 17, 2007
(1) Presentation on the overview of UNPFII and follow with open forum
(2) Presentation on the Human Rights Council and on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and follow with open forum
(3) Presentation on the agenda of the UNPFII 2007 session:
Special Theme: Territories, Lands and Natural Resources
(4) Identification of issues/concerns for common statement/intervention to the forth coming UNPFII session 2007
(5) Workshop Groups on Common issues
February 18, 2007
(1) Presentation of Workshop results and discussions
(2) Open discussion on selection process for UNPFII Asia Indigenous Expert
(3) Discussion on strategy for the Un Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples
(4) Presentation for the Half-day Asian session
(5) Funds for the Permanent Forum
(6) Review of National Focal Point
Presentation on overview of the UNPFII and Open Forum
The power-point presentation on overview of the UNPFII was introduced by Ms. Vicky, Chairperson of the UNPFII and newly re-elected for member of indigenous expert from Asia. The presentation was very comprehensive and highlighted background history of the forum, its composition, mandates and mandated areas, and working procedure (the presentation is attached). After the presentation, the floor was opened for comment, questions and answers, and clarification.
The floor raised questions on participation of government’s delegations and their role, the term of Permanent Forum and how do participate in the forum. All questions were answered by Ms. Vicky;
“Presence of government representatives in the Permanent Forum meetings are imperative because it gives the indigenous representatives to meet the officers in high positions and dialogue with them. In our own countries it is more difficult to have access to the government officers.”
“We like the term because we want to be permanently at the UN. It is a political statement. It’s also important to get the Draft declaration adopted, as one of the mandates of the UNPFII according to declaration is that the implementation of the Declaration will be also monitored by UNPFII. If we have the Declaration adopted it will keep the UNPFII forever at the UN”.
“Every Indigenous People organization can participate in the session of the Forum”.
Presentation on Reformation of Human Rights Mechanism and situation of adoption on Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples
The power-point presentation on reformation of the UN mechanism on human rights particularly that relates with indigenous issues was developed and introduced by Dr. Suikhar from Chin Human Rights Organization. In his presentation, he analyst different roles and functions of UNPFII, Special Rapporteur’s mechanism and Working Group on Indigenous Populations, and shared about on-going discussion of human rights council particularly on indigenous issues. He underscored position of Global Indigenous Caucus that was officially submitted in the human rights council. His presentation was attached.
Ms. Vicky reported activities of indigenous peoples’ representatives who took part in campaign, advocacy and lobby in last year UN General Assembly for adoption of Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She also displayed matrix which governments voted for adoption of the Declaration in Human Rights and continued voted for in the General Assembly as well as who voted against it. She shared about position of governments from Africa and Asia in which she included how Indonesian delegate took initiative to organize other Asian governments for voting against the adoption. She highlighted about the opposed governments’ position and their strategy to amend languages in the Declaration and underlined the imperative to come up with workable strategy to lobby governments from Asia in the forth coming session of the UN General Assembly.
The floor was opened for comments, questions and answers, and clarification;
“Ms. Vicky: There will be two panel discussions on Special Rapporteur including the presentation of SR Final Report as the term of SR will be ended this year. The last visit to Asia (Cambodia and Philippines) will be not included in to his report because he has already submitted his final report before the Asia visit. But, he will present in the panel discussion.”
She also shared outcome of the Montreal meeting and she said that Tebtebba, IWGIA and Rights and Democracy will produce a booklet on the Assessment of the follow up action of the SR reports and recommendations by the UN Bodies and the Governments.”
“Mr. Devasish Roy accentuated reformation within the UN Human Rights Mechanism is the challenge. He added that we have 3 bodies within the old one. Our recommendation is to have an expert body comprise of half Govt expert – half indigenous expert. UNPFII is under the ECOSOC and we want one under the HRC. WGIP makes very small changes.”
“Jason: He raised question on inclusion of Middle-East and Central Asia in the Asian Process of UNPFII. He proposed UNPF session will be held in other than New York, if it is possible, it should rotates among the regions.”
“Vicky answered the question that we can not intervene them or telling them. Unless there is any self identified and endorsed by their communities. Rotational issue: Budget is not that easy, budget cut due to some governments are reluctance to contribute funds to the UN for UN Critics against them. She added that the recommendation of holding the 6th session of UNPFII in Bangkok was not agreed by the ECOSOC because of budget constrain.”
“ Devasish Roy from Bangladesh added that there are many governmental representatives are in the session and it might not be as many governmental delegates as in New York if the Forum meeting is held in somewhere else due to budget constrain also faced by the states”.
“ Shankar from AIPP recommended to start for developing strategy to governments as whatever we can do now in national level”.
“Jitan from Manipur, India questioned on reason behind African governments’ position in the General Assembly.”
“Ms. Vicky took the question to answer that Botswana is the leader among the African group. They are very bad to the Bushman in Kalahari dessert and they remove them from Kalahari because they have diamond. One reason is that Canada offers Botswana for diamond mining.”
“Norman from Indonesia assured that this issue will be brought to AMAN’s congress which will be held in March, 2007 and ensured that AMAN will push Indonesian government to vote for the Declaration.”
“Devasish Roy stressed that the Declaration shall be translated into national language to be understood by the concerned indigenous peoples and the governments.”
In the second day of the meeting, a short time for discussion on strategy was opened and the floor agreed to extend its lobby campaign to European Union, Middle East and Central Asia. The meeting also talked about using media which is popular in the ME Asia. But it seems that nobody has contact or access to ME media and governments.
“Ms. Vicky concluded the discussion on adoption of the Declaration that Asian Indigenous Peoples’ caucus shall come up with a call to all government to support the declaration. She further stressed that the definition of Indigenous people should be done in country level and ensures that it doesn’t exclude others.”
The discussion was wrapped up the following recommendations to Lobby the governments for adoption of the Declaration;
1. Coordination and complementation of IP at all level on lobby effort
2. EC-pol agenda of the governments
3. Lobby key countries : China, Egypt
4. Pass resolution or position paper to challenge the governments
5. Have translation in Asian languages to enable IPs/communities to understand better of the Declaration
6. Organize forum and discussion between IPs and Government
7. Asia caucus statement urging as Governments to support the declaration, to be passed to the UNPFII
8. Asia Caucus shall request the AMAN’s congress to urge the Indonesian government to vote for the adoption of the Declaration.
9. Urge the governments for adoption of the Declaration in the Conference of Asia Indigenous Youth in April, 2007 in Philippines.
The meeting agreed to develop Statement of Asia Indigenous Peoples’ caucus and send it to Asian governments (the statement is attached). The floor also decided to send an open letter to President of Government of Republic of Indonesia (the letter is attached).
Strategy for the Human Rights Council
Concerns were strongly expressed in the meeting that the Human Rights Council may rump up several Special Rapporteurs in one and it may become weak in focusing on human rights situation of IP, and WGIP which has a unique mandate of standard setting may be abolished. The meeting laid emphasis on imperative of retaining the mechanism of the Special Rapporteur for IPs and establishment of an advisory expert body that particularly deals rights of indigenous peoples under Human Rights Council.
The meeting emphasized the need to strategize to get the body under the Human Rights Council. It will be the same process that the IPs had to go through in establishing UNPFII. Both AIPP and IWGIA announced that there will be fund available to go to the forth coming session of Human Rights Council which will be held in March, 2007 to lobby the governments for the said purposes.
Identification of issues/concerns for common statement/intervention to the forthcoming UNPFII session 2007:
The floor identified the following issues and concerns for common statement/ intervention to the forthcoming UNPFII session 2007;
(1) Principle theme: Lands, Territories and Natural Resources
(2) Half day session on Asia and Urban Indigenous Peoples and Migration
(3) Implementation of recommendations on six mandated areas and millennium development goals
(4) Future work, second decade and side events
The meeting agreed to divide into four groups and organized group workshop. Each group developed common statement on the above identified issues and concerns for common statement. The workshops were organized in the evening and outcomes of the workshop were brought to the floor in the next morning.
(1) Lands, Territories and Natural resources
Draft from Group – One
6th Session of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
May 14 – 25, 2007
Agenda Item 3 : Special theme: territories, lands and natural resources
Collective Statement by
on behalf of Asian Caucus
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour and privilege for me to address the Sixth Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as a member of Asian Caucus.
Indigenous peoples have a very strong and emotional attachment to land, territories and its natural resources from which they derive their livelihood. The relationship to land is not just an economic resource but it has a social, cultural, spiritual and political dimensions and responsibilities. For generations, Indigenous peoples worldwide have been living in harmony with nature, but are now facing a grave threat due to the alienation of land occurring at a rapid pace. The land they used to protect for generations are being taken away without their consent for the so-called development projects which the indigenous peoples have no control or participation. We express our concern for the continued threat to the indigenous people from the developmental activities such as the proposed Uranium Mining in West Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, India; oil palm plantation in Malaysia, Indonesia etc; mega hydro-electric projects; eco-tourism projects; expansion of military bases on communal land and territory etc.
We do support the recommendations made by Asian indigenous representatives in the regional workshop on communal land held in February 2007 in Cambodia such as documentation of indigenous customary laws and land and resource management; conduct mapping of communal lands; support existing networks and alliances among indigenous communities and their organizations on the national level for advocacy, mutual support and protection etc.
At the back drop of the precarious situation that the indigenous peoples are in, we fervently appeal to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to accommodate the following recommendations.
1) Permanent Forum would urge the governments to implement the free, prior and informed consent principle for any development activities that affect indigenous peoples;
2) Permanent Forum would urge the governments to recognize the traditional /customary laws of indigenous peoples regarding land, territories and natural resources;
3) Call upon Permanent Forum to have monitoring mechanism to look after the implementation of existing laws and policies on land, territories and natural resources; Indigenous peoples’ participation in such a process to be ensured;
4) Permanent Forum would urge the governments to stop alienation of land in the name of development;
5) Call upon Permanent Forum to conduct a study on settlement of land disputes;
Lastly, we are also endorsing all the recommendations made during the last sessions of United Nations Permanent Forum on land, territories and resources.
Comments, questions and answers on the statement
Devasish: On Land Commission, we need some clarification of the mandate of the commission.
Shankar: On development, we should include representation, not only participation.
Rukka: We should include International Financial Institutions such as World Bank.
Joan: We can refer to articles in Draft Declaration and ask for the adoption of it. In fact, we should call for the adoption of Draft Declaration in all the interventions we make.
Artax: The militarization by state is an important problem. We should also include the monitoring of the implementation of accords etc. which were concluded between States and Indigenous Peoples.
Devasish: It is important to include the demand to have fair and quick mechanism for the right to restitution (even without commission).
Everyone is invited to provide additional information or suggestion to Mr. Sanjeeb Drong to put and craft in final version of the intervention. (Final Version of State is attached)
Half-day session on Asia and Half-day session on Urban Indigenous Peoples and migration
(a) Urban Indigenous Peoples and Migration
In this group the following persons from Japan, North East India, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia participated.
1. Ms. Yuuki , Japan
2. Chisato, Japan
3. Irene, NE India- Mizoram
4. Sunita, NE India- Tripura
5. Chon chon NE India-Nagaland
6. Ajeen -Thailand
7. Paw – Karen Myanmar
8. Hla- Arakan Myanmar
9. Yoggie, Sabah, Malaysia
10.Norman, Indonesia, West Kalimantan
Development aggression (case of NE india) without FPIC and militarization are the root causes of migration of IPs, internal displacement and involuntary resettlement in NE India. For instance, Construction of Dombot Hidro Project evicted more than 500 families without compensation. Without land title they cannot prove their ownership to get compensation. In another words, the project does not benefit the community at all. Militarization causes Ips migration and closure of schools because army uses school for barracks.
In addition, there is a unique case in Mizoram state such as;
Migration for education to pursue their study and employment.
Neighbouring states come in for labour or trade.
Refugees from neighbouring country take shelter in the state.
Due to over five decades long civil war, militarization, and dictatorship regime for more than four decades, million of indigenous peoples are forced to leave their homelands as Internally Displaced Persons in their own homelands, migrant workers and refugees other countries.
There are a number of Bangladeshi migrated to Arakan State, but restricted by the regime to move around in Myanmar. This created population density in Arakan and therefore the local IPs migrate to other part of Myanmar. The impacts of migration results in brain drain which make Ips lack good leaders and are exploited by Govt. Loss of language and culture are alarmingly increased.
Many urban IPs face all kinds of discriminations including employment opportunities. The IPs who are divided by nation state boundaries should have freedom of mobility in their neighbouring countries. In this case, Mizo, Chin, and Kuki, the organization is calling for a reunification.
Migration because of education and employment
Access to education
Re-education or restoration of Ips knowledge
Urban Ips slums
Many of youth goes to urban areas because of no job.
Attitudes and frowning on our own culture drives youth to the cities, disrupt traditional intergenerational transmission of knowledge. Social cohesion is losing. Youth is not so interested in such.
In accordingly to government statistics, there are about there thousands Ainu population in Tokyo, but Ainu Association disagrees the figure and they estimate that they are more than ten thousands Ainu in Tokyo.
Because of discrimination, Ips face dilemma of identity; on the one hand they want to integrate in the mainstream society, on the other they like to retain traditional identity.
Ips in Tokyo also face racial discrimination. Ainu Association requested government to conduct survey on Ainu population, and their economic status. They met with regional/Tokyo government every year, and submitted request every year, but no measure had been taken yet because government does not recognize Ainu.
Development aggression such as Oil Palm Plantations displaces Ips and some move to urban areas. Indigenous peoples who live within Protected Areas are deprived from natural resources that they need for their livelihood. Youth especially migrate to cities for employment and education. The Studies to be conducted on impacts of migration in urban areas.
1. Conduct survey and study on impact of Ips migration to urban areas especially youth migration
2. Collect data of urban Ips for implementation of social and economical support
3. Access to education and training to avoid being subjected to cheap labour, trafficking and other forms of exploitation
4. Creation of fund for indigenous education to restore indigenous knowledge and other skills and knowledge enhancement to vibrant in urban areas
5. Create Ips centre to address legal status and medical condition
6. Incorporate recommendations made in E/C.19/2006/CRP.5 and recommendation made during 5th session of the UNPFII (E/2006/43 and E/C.19/2006/11 paragraph 159-162).
Trafficking women & children
2 SR-violence against women & (present this recommendation in their presence)
Review on the involuntary resettlement policies-compensation, monitoring after the relocation, use the UN Declaration of IPs rights in our demands
CDB-FPIC in relation to resettlement
Non-recognition as citizens, denied voting-political rights
Cambodia situation during the war/conflict – lost culture.
Education culturally appropriate for Ips
(b) On Half-day session on Asia
The followings are the outcome of the group workshop;
1. Establishment of Asia Monitoring System on implementation of international commitments, ie CERD, ICCPR, CEDAW, CBD
2. Branding indigenous peoples as terrorists should be stopped.
3. Establishment of regional HR commission.
4. The use of the term ethnic minorities in the development programs supported by donors for indigenous peoples is misleading. Therefore, donors must stop using the term.
5. In Asia, most governments don’t want to use the term Ips. Governments use this term in order to deny existence of Ips. Call for the adoption of UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.
1. Human genome project and the impacts.
2. Impact of climate change on Ips in Asia.
3. Bio-colonialism, bio-piracy, IK and IPR
4. Food security and food sovereignty
National Geographic Society has cancelled this project-Human Genome Project
Natural disaster in migration (Flood, Tsunami, earthquake)-assistance/relief and cultural support…DRIP
Mobility for IPs in trans-boundary right
2nd Decade of the World’s Indigenous People Programme of the Action, Article 41 (d). Health problems of IPs caught in this situations-All relevant actors are urged to adopt targeted policies, programmes, projects and budget to address health problems connected to forced relocation, armed conflicts, migration, trafficking and prostitution
Comments, questions and Answers
Rukka: it needs to include indicator on women in the study of urban migration.
Esp. on sex workers in Bangkok etc.- many of them are indigenous peoples.
Vicky: First, on this matter, it is good to have documentation to the Special Rapporteur. This evening we will have a meeting on the indigenous women and secondly, on Human Genome project by National Geographic Society – Last year there was a strong statement against this issue. Forum members met the National Geographic Society and discussed. We demanded the moratorium of the project.
Om Gurung: Because of the conflict, young people voluntarily migrate in Nepal. Also, trafficking of indigenous women and children is happened in Nepal.
Joan: This is a very nice report to grasp the situation. It is good to include one thing on IFIs because they still admit involuntarily migration. So the recommendation on this point will be to recognize the right of Indigenous Peoples to their resources.
Nicholas: Forced migration is taken place in Malaysia. Settlement scheme such as providing land only 3 acres per family is not sufficient. We should include in the recommendation that there should never be any resettlement scheme because of development. [A case of Sarawak.]
Vicky: Just to add to Joan’s suggestion. We can refer to Declaration which states on forced migration. It is already stated, and also in that way we can publicize and understand the Declaration.
Jannie: CBD also states “no settlement.”
Shankar: Supplement Mr. Om Gurung. In Nepal, IPs are involuntarily displaced and stay in city. They are not registered as voters since there is no permanent place. In original place it is used by Maoist or military. On International Covenant: do we ask for regional mechanism?
Devasish: Support Vicky’s suggestions. On Land Commission, in terms of Right to restitution of land- we can use declaration also. Regarding to Regional Mechanism, we should not stop asking some mechanisms for Asia.
Jason: Involuntary migration on IPs. Climate change (ex. Flood, Tunami etc.) forces people to relocate. Government relocates in order to prevent the damage from the landslide, but IPs say they do not want to move.
Vicky: The right to move is also important (trans-national). In conflict situation, that is quite important. Another thing is for the health of the people who are in refugee camps etc. Second Decade has an article on health. We can refer to it.
One participant from Cambodia: on voluntary and forced migration, I would like to say on case of Cambodia. When war started in Cambodia, IPs are forced to move from original place. Some of them voluntarily moved in search of safe land, some of them were forced. In this way, IPs lost their land and culture.
After the normalcy was returned, IPs came back to their community. In 1975, when Khumer Rouge came to power, they again forced IPs to leave their place. In 1978, when Vietnam started to invade Cambodia, IPs had to leave their land again. After that, they had to flee to Thailand border and had to live in refugee camps.
Regarding forced migration, we IPs in Cambodia gone through hardships during war. Therefore we did not have chance to go to school, our knowledge remains low. Last one week we heard of your activities, we are very happy to know about it.
Vicky: Issue of education should also be included. Nomadic people to join education programme (Second Decade). In refugee camps, it is also the same thing. They should have the right to go to school.
Note: Caucus statements are attached.
Implementation of recommendations on six mandated areas and millennium development goals
The outcome of the group workshop on this theme is;
Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Urge the adoption of the Declaration by General Assembly and thank the members of the HR Council for having adopted the Declaration.
• Indigenous-appropriate Indicators to be designed and utilized by UN Agencies in partnership with indigenous peoples. The recommendations of the Mindoro, Philippines workshop can be referred to.
• Governments and UN agencies to gather disaggregated data on indigenous peoples relevant to MDGs (reiterate paragraph 92. 93. 94).
• Inclusion of IPs in PRSPs (reiterate paragraph 40)
• For the PFII to undertake a study on the patterns of gross human rights violations perpetrated against indigenous peoples by military, para-military, police and other security forces and armed groups and suggest remedies.
• For the PFII to undertake a study on the patterns of human rights violations perpetrated against indigenous peoples by private companies and suggest remedies.
• Welcome the visit of the Special Rapporteur on IPs in Asia.
• Formation of an Expert Advisory Body reporting to the Human Rights Council.
• Ratify without reservation non-ratified treaties (ICC, ILO 169, etc.) abd remove reservation clauses from ratified HR treaties.
• Governments and UN agencies should address in an appropriate manner the psychological dimensions of militarized and armed conflict-ridden areas.
Economic and Social Rights
Welcome the report of Ms. Vicky and MR. Pashuram Tamang.
Welcome the outcome of Access and Benefit Sharing Workshop.
Address impact of climate changes and urges the PF to make/explore concrete actions on possibilities of prevention and post management of natural disasters.
Reiterate recommendations on HIV-Aids made in PF-2, PF-3 and PF-IV,
Request the Global Fund for HIV-Aids-TB to ensure access by indigenous peoples and to have culturally appropriate measures to address the aforesaid (“3-D”) programme involving indigenous peoples.
Customary laws and traditional justice systems of IPs should be recognized and respected by Asian governments.
• Reiteration of recommendations on MDG Goal 2 contained in UN Doc E/C.19/2005/4/Ad.13 dated 28 March, 2005 (recommendations on mother tongue instruction, bilingual education, IP-managed institutions, appropriate curricula, nomadic communities, etc.)
• UN University to open a Research and Training Course on IPs’ Traditional Knowledge.
• Governments to retain special reservation of seats in tertiary educational institutions, particularly in technological subjects for indigenous students. Appropriate UN agencies, programmes and funds should help governments in such process.
• Governments should establish vocational institutions for indigenous students in areas and inhabited by indigenous peoples. Appropriate UN agencies, programmes and funds should help governments in such process.
Comments, questions and answers
Vicky: We have an agenda on Human Right in the PFII, but it is primarily a mandate in the Human Rights Council. One way to function the human right agenda in PFII is to strengthen the role of the Special Rapporteur- to request his report longer. Another thing, the IPs should be encouraged more to use the Treaty Bodies. Last on the data disaggregation, we had a pilot study in on province in the Phillippines. There is also one study funded by IFAD on the Scheduled Tribes in India. It shows that in Orissa, the human rights situation of IPs is similar to that of the Sub-Saharan countries.
Future Work, the Second Decade, and Side Event
The outcomes of the workshop on the above subject are as below;
Future work & 2nd Decade
1. Cluster the recommendations according to what body the recommendation are being addressed
2. A special study on eminent domain as part of the recognition of land rights & resources
3. IP Development Concepts and how to achieve it
4. Follow up on the expert meeting on the FPIC
5. Support a study on customary law
6. Set up a fund to enable the PF meetings to be held outside New York.
7. Theme of next year:
1. Concepts & perspective on indigenous development
2. Conflicts of militarization on indigenous lands
3. Cross-boundary and Citizenship
Forum on Land, Territories & Resources with UNDP-RIPP
Leaflets, brochures, posters
Date: May 15 Time: 2:00pm
Date: May 17 Time: 1.30pm
Asia Caucus Reception
Date: May 17
Venue: Church Center
Program | Volunteers
Food | depending
Invitation | who are
Contribution/Collection | present
Short films from:
Comments, questions and answers
Joan: For principal theme of the next session of PFII, Conflict and militarization in Indigenous land. Not Conflict of militarization. – revise.
Vicky: Theme for Expert Workshop should be considered. Development would be one idea such as to redefine the development- economic, cultural, social development. The governments and the UN agencies are thinking of one set of development which is very different from IPs. We need to bring indigenous experts on this issue.
Jannie: AIPP started to discuss on development from IPs point of view. We can circulate the report and get inputs from others. Also, on conference, if anybody is interested in hosting, please let us know.
Rukka: Film showing – important. More countries should be encouraged to contribute.
Vicky: We should book a room and find fund to make it happen. It would also be a good opportunity to discuss again on Land.
Chris: We can support the fund for the room. As we have cooperated for the conference, it would be good to have further cooperation.
Vicky: We cannot distribute anything which is bought outside. It will be good to do that in reception.
Selection Process for the PFII Asian Indigenous Expert
Initially, there was not an agenda in programme on “selection process for the PFII Asian indigenous expert but later, the agenda was included in the programme because of some participants requested it. The selection process was shared by Jason on behalf of Steering Committee (SC) of Election of the PFII Asian Indigenous Expert.
At the start, Mr. Jason told the meeting audience that other SC members have stated their reservation about "giving a report" at the Prep Meeting, that there are issues unresolved and questions regarding the Prep Meeting.
In his summary report, he gave the Asian Prep Meeting delegates a rundown on the formation of SC, who are in it, the SC mandate, qualifications and criteria, nomination and election process, dissemination of election information through the "asia-pfii" mailing list, the important roles of "Country Focal Points", the balloting procedure, vote monitors, total number of votes, and the election results. As Roy, Minnie, and Jebra are not at the Prep Meeting, he took the opportunity to thank those SC members not in the audience for the efforts and hard work throughout the whole process. The meeting was told SC members worked on consensus decision-making to the best of our availability and time input, but at times not possible because people were away from offices or were traveling for some periods of time. He extended this gladness to Vote receivers and monitors in Chiang Mai for their contributions.
There were Asian and Cambodian IP delegates not familiar with the process, so copies of the voting instruction and the official Letter (signed by all six SC members) to the UN secretariat announcing the Asia UNPF election result were given as handout information at the meeting to provide a better explanation. He also mentioned Technical and other problems encountered in process.
Referring to my personal opinions he provided some remarks and suggestions on how to improve the process as below;
-have more than two fax lines, should not just rely on people’s good will for volunteering, request for UN funding for vote receivers and vote monitors for their work, encourage early voting (one week voting week ?), etc.
– stated that some forms of assessment and evaluation for this UNPF election are needed, Roy’s proposal for open circulation of questionnaire to all Asian IP organizations were mentioned.
Open floor for comments, questions and answers
Mr. Artax – more transparency and democracy needed, request to have a list of eligible voting IP organizations, deadline should be fixed better, need to improve information dissemination, many IP groups could not vote this time, SC members must be accountable to the Prep Meeting body, the IP delegates at this Prep Meeting also have the decision-making power. He raised questions and discussed on the objectives and mandate of the SC committee, how SC members were formed, also stated NE India should have a separate vote, this was changed at the last moment, wanted to know how the this decision by the SC took place, the need to improve IP networking and strengthen the system of "Country Focal Points".
Suikhar explained the history of UNPF election process, first time the election process was held was a meeting in Nepal 2001, but there were problems and limited participation, then second time with electronic (fax) voting, initiated the formation of SC committee in 2005, there were no complaints received for the election process in 2005; Yoshimi as vote monitor last time did a wonderful job; there were no problems; for the SC and election process this time – there were open invitation and call for people to be on SC committee, it was open to all and were announced on the asia-pfii mailing list, but no one came forward, did not hear complaint at the time. He explained that regarding giving NE India a separate vote, might cause problem with the UN, cited problems last time by giving West Papua a vote and big issue over this raised by Indonesia in the UN, should still go with "one country, one vote", problem with a "voters list" is that some IP organizations are big federations representing many IP groups (citing NEFIN), while some IP groups are smaller and this would not be fair.
Devasish – independent vote monitors needed, pointed out we are the only region to organize the UNPF election and have set up the election process and have the SC committee, a good model for the rest of the world; looking ahead the next election is in 2009 therefore suggest election process to go together with the 2009 Prep Meeting.
Om Gurung – election process needs to be improved, citing previous elections many voted but some organizations have questionable qualifications / status as IPOs, citing that in 2001 for India there were more than 300 IP groups but only 49 voted, and Nepal had 59 IP groups but 89 voted, asked "who are the eligible voters", the rules are not clear, and must come up with ways of deciding IP organization ballots.
Joan – Discussed on the SC formation this time, explain SC members are volunteering their time, suggest that maybe people can nominate who should be in the SC, draft up the eligibility guideline, encourage more participation and suggest some criteria for SC Committee.
Vicky – thank SC members for the job they have done, knowing it was a thankless job, also stressed Asia is the only region to organize such a UNPF election process, we can be proud of this achievement, also that many lessons can be learned from this
process, recommended to still follow UN system of "one country, one vote", it is still the best approach, we also have to respect the cultural dynamics and consultation process in each of the countries, we can start with the voting list as the information is there with the names of IP organization from all the countries.
Shankar – there are problems with no clear rules, the SC committee and candidates should follow the rules, suggest setting down "Code of Conduct" with approval by IP organizations, this can better facilitate how to conduct the election process and how to resolve disputes; the process should have improved IP participation, however there are questions of who represents IP groups in the national and international level.
Devasish – suggest making clear time-frame for the UNPF election, we can start now for the next election in 2009 with Prep Meeting in 2008, can conclude all rules and guidelines for Asian IPs endorsement at 2008 Prep Meeting, suggest starting to have some people to start this process, start the nomination for such a job now, also should not call it "Selection Committee", but rather should call it the "Election Committee" (others suggested "Steering Committee), also recommend another body set up to hear the complaints, the "Election Committee" is responsible for organizing and monitoring the election process, but in case of dispute, it should not take up the investigation on the dispute, it is the job of this other body;
Devasish – we need mechanisms at the national level on deciding IP groups
who can vote, "one country, one vote" is not totally fair, suggest a ‘weighted system", where say in one country 2/3 vote going to one candidate and 1/3 vote going to another candidate can be reflected in the "weighted total count" at the national level, this would be better "Proportional Representation".
Rukka – proposal to come up with a time-frame for the election in 2009, suggest starting today here at the Prep Meeting to nominate members for the Election Committee, the members will have the task of drafting the Guidelines, criteria, and rules, also discussed on the distribution of the election eligibility list, the process should be done at the national level, also we do not have the right to settle disputes, election disputes should be settled at the national level; important to have the "Code of Conducts", also stated that call for nomination and balloting instructions in 1~2 months are too short notice, not fair to many IP organizations, citing AMAN’s case, takes a long time for executives to sign the ballot and lots of difficulties and technical problems for disseminating the proper information to IP communities at such a short time, suggest send the ballot before hand. She asked Vicky to take part in the process, and nominate Vicky to head the committee to start the process.
Om Gurung – support "one country, one vote" since this is the UN system, and we are working with the UN, also told the meeting of the problems in previous times in Nepal with many organizations voting but are families and friends of close IP network groups, also heard of some voting organizations with questionable backgrounds and received rewards and other offers for voting one way or another, these problems must be resolved and action must be taken on these cases.
Jannie – agree that two different bodies be set up (one for election, another for resolve disputes) that we can set the time-frame and laying down "Code of Conducts" now, formation of "Election Committee" now to start the process in time for UNPF (or Prep
Meeting) 2008, nominate Rukka to be on the Committee, set down clear Guidelines, need good people who are respected and willing to do the work, no need many people, only 2~3 people needed to generate the ideas and set down the Guidelines.
Miranjan Meitei (Manipur) – asked: who will represent India and NE India, questions on the "one country, one vote" principle, IP organizations need to register now, set down criteria for voting and who can vote, suggest to have gender balance, as well as balance by population and number of ethnic groups in a particular region or country.
Vicky – since I will no longer be a candidate and have no more interest in running the next time, therefore accept the responsibility for the committee and start the process, suggest 2 more persons for the committee to work with, people can also start suggestions on how to make a "voters list", also can start the discussion on the "asia-pfii" mailing list.
Jason – agree with Devasish to go with "Proportional Representation" (weighted vote count system) to better reflect the total votes from each of the countries, we are IP-initiated process and need not strictly follow UN system, need not rigidly follow "one country, one vote" principle, also reminded that not all SC members are not here at the Prep Meeting, therefore any decisions taken here should only be considered provisional, we must inform and broadly consult in all Asia IP organizations through the "asia-pfii"mailing list .
Suraporn – set up National Committee for your own country, have national consultation in each country, form own country framework on the election process, set down own national deadlines as necessary.
Devasish – let’s set the final decision (criteria and Guidelines) at PF 2008 in time for the PF 2009 (election ?) .
Rukka – agree that finalization of rules and Guidelines by PF 2008 for the election in 2009, it takes at least one year for consultation and make decisions for AMAN.
Artax – with the new Committee set up now, therefore propose that the current SC mandate is over, and therefore the SC is dissolved and members no longer on the SC; all election information, list, and ballots should be handed over to the new ‘secretariat" body.
Suikhar – therefore as there is no longer SC, those SC members and other IPs not here and not clear on these changes, we will inform them after the Prep Meeting, also we should give a free hand to Vicky to select new SC members to work with, proposed Vicky to start on the "electorate – voting" committee process, also nominates Rukka to be part and help Vicky to start the process.
Rukka – nominate Shankar to be on the new committee to set down the Guidelines.
Active dialogue with WB, ADB, JBIC etc.
The topic is not included in initial programme but Joan started Important to collect information of the projects and issues of International Financial Institution and others.
Jannie: proposed establishment of the advisory group- “commission”- maybe we should make a good programme on this. Anybody want to make a presentation on any particular issue?
Artax: There are several projects of dams in Northeast. We would like to conduct a short study on this.
Shankar: Dam in Eastern Nepal supported by the Indian Government.
[From Thailand]: So far I do not have the good picture on this. Maybe I can get information from other NGOs who are working on this.
Jannie: Uranium mining in India
Devasish: mining in northern part of Bangladesh.
Jason: Mekong river region.
Niranjan: Dam in the Northeast. Border with Arunachal Pradesh.
Joan: We need to get the data and information if we want to present it. Please make sure that you present a concrete data on it.
The meeting agreed to distribute the guidelines for the project and its impact. Maximum 5 pages and submit Case-Studies we want to present: 30th March-Deadline.
Available funds for the Permanent Forum
So far, the following information is received an availability of funds to attend in the PFII.
Asia Indigenous Women’s Network-2
Jannie: People who already applied for Voluntary funds – Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia. We urge other countries to apply under this scheme. Thailand, Japan etc… Under WGIP, there are 16 slots. If there’s not any WGIP this year, there may be 32 for Permanent Forum.
Rukka: Secure one for each country. For Indonesia, we cannot decide now who will go.
Joan: One for each country. Priority should be those who attended here.
Review of National Focal Points
The meeting felt that we need to review national focal points particularly who are no longer active. The floor was opened and;
Suikhar: Nepal, Mainland India, Okinawa (Japan), Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand.
Jannie: What will be the task and mandate of National Focal Points?
Shankar: In Nepal, some focal points do not know what they have to do.
Some people do not disseminate information.
Joan: We should distribute the mandate. Rukka, can you check and share? As for the proper person, what should be done? Shall we leave it for the country level?
Om Gurung: Focal person should especially be responsible in disseminating information. They should be institutionally connected and have ability in the language. Moreover, they should be eligible and have proper motivation. So we should nominate names.
Mandate and Task of the Focal Person decided last year
1. Send additional information and data before the deadline.
2. Check draft report with certain accuracy.
3. Consult with other groups in the country.
4. Circulate PFII information to those attending the session.
5. Circulate the final report of the PFII.
6. 2nd decade and the Draft Declaration.
7. Initiate activities for the action programme for the second decade.
Joan: Last year, Criteria of Focal Person had not be discussed.
Vicky: Use fund for the Focal Person. Then they won’t be able to make excuse that they could not do it.
Artax: Voluntary fund- people apply on their own. They do not really reflect even though they go by using funds. This will
Joan: Focal person should monitor those people who use the funds and go to the UN fora and try to bring them to engage in the process of the caucus. Person should have the capacity to understand the mandate of the Focal Person. Also, he/she should have the access to communication.
Artax: Should be based on the mass organization.
Vicky: In many countries, there are no mass organizations. If we introduce that, it would be too strict.
Joan: Those countries who do not have active focal persons – shall we make end of March to nominate Focal person?
The meeting agreed proposal from Joan.
Proposal for Asia Indigenous Media Network
Jason did power-presentation on idea of establishment of Asia Indigenous Media Network. The meeting agreed to establish the network and bellows are the member
Irene, Sanjeeb, Norman, Colin, Jitin, Wiwat
The meeting also listened information from Jannie about availability of funds for IPS
UN Voluntary Fund deadline: October 1
Vicky- added that IFAD also has fund for indigenous under Indigenous Peoples Assistance Facility.
Joan: In October, there are two deadlines. One for attending permanent forum, one for the action programme for the second decade.
Joan: On ADB safeguard policies. ADB workshop – review ADB policies in June.
One way for demonstration – present case studies to show that ADB has violated. India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Phillippines, ?.
NGO network on ADB. Working actively against ADB activities. There are few indigenious representatives so far. People who want to participate, please let me know.
Jitin: did Announcement on Asian Indigenous Peoples Youth Network and its conference.
Baguio. April 15th-. Those people who are interested, please contact.
The meeting was closed with traditional ceremony from Cambodia’s IPs.
(1) Power Point Presentation: International Developments Relevant to Indigenous Peoples by Vicky
(2) Power Point Presentation: Reformation of Human Rights Mechanism by Dr. Suikhar
(3) Power Point Presentation: Strategies for adoption of UNDRIP and establishment of an IP mechanism in the Human Rights Council by Vicky
(4) Analysis of Votes on the Namibia Amendment calling for a Deferral of Consideration of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples until the end of the 61st Session
(5) Statement of Asia Indigenous Peoples Caucus on the adoption of the Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples (signed by participants of the Preparatory meeting)
(6) Open letter to His Excellency President of Government of Indonesia
(7) Asia Caucus statement: Agenda item: Lands, Territories and Natural Resources in the 6th session of UNPFII by Sanjeeb Drong
(8) Asia Caucus statement: Agenda item: Human Rights in the 6th session of UNPFII by Famark Hlawnching
(9) Asia Caucus statement: Agenda item: Special session on Asia in the 6th session of UNPFII by Joan Carling
(10) Asia Caucus statement: Agenda item: Urban Migration in the 6th session of UNPFII by Nicolas Bawin Anggat
(11) Asia Caucus statement: Agenda item: Future Programme of Work in the 6th session of UNPFII by Joan Carling