UNPFII20: Agenda 5 – Human rights dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 20th Session
22nd April 2021
Statement on behalf of the Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus
Presented by: Chandra Tripura
First, we acknowledge the commendable work of the SRRIP and EMRIP. These are important mandated bodies for recommending and suggesting redressal to ameliorate the human rights condition of Indigenous Peoples and protect the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples.
In the Asia region, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), in collaboration with the UN Special Procedures Office, and the OHCHR South-East Asia Sub-regional Office conducted three rounds of webinar series with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples based on the previous Special Rapporteur’s report on Asia from 2020 to 2021. However, the conditions of the Indigenous Peoples is not improving. Lack of, if not inadequate, institutional and structural protective measures within development projects, which can include social development programmes not appropriate to indigenous peoples’ culture and practices are detrimental to Indigenous Peoples. These concerns of institutional and structural protective measures are exacerbated with the absence, if not limited, of legal recognition of our rights as peoples as per the UNDRIP.
We reiterate that even in during the COVID 19 pandemic, businesses, particularly those involving exploitation of natural resources, have incited criminalisation and attacks on Indigenous Peoples in Asia. Some examples are the military coup in Myanmar, the five-star Marriott Hotel construction plan over the Mro Indigenous Peoples’ land and heritage in the Bandarban Hill District of CHT, Bangladesh; construction of a business complex Chhaya Center in Thamel over the land of the Indigenous Newa communities; and the Build Build Build program in the Philippines, etc.
Autonomy and self-determination are crucial for the survival and continuity of Indigenous Peoples and contribute to the SDGs as dignified peoples.
In the Northeast region, India have signed twelve peace accords with five different Indigenous Peoples, but it has been a history of broken accords. It is therefore, important that states adopt a pluralistic approach to build synergy between state laws and institutions with that of Indigenous laws and institutions for peaceful co-existence, a mandated theme of SRRIP for studies and recommendation.
In this context, would like to raise the following questions to the Special Rapporteur and the EMRIP Chair:
- How can your good office support or provide an avenue especially in terms of constructive and effective engagement with governments, inter-governmental organisations, and relevant international bodies and agencies to protect Indigenous Peoples’ human rights in the Asia region?
- How, and to what extent can your good office facilitate peace processes in the resolving conflicts in Indigenous Peoples lands and territories?
Our question to the UN Voluntary Fund:
- How does the UNVF address and or expand the mandate to support for the needs of Indigenous Peoples human rights defenders including capacity building at the national and regional level?
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact and Asia Indigenous Youth Platform, on behalf of the Asia Caucus
Email at [email protected]