22 June, 2018

Articles

The Tenth Anniversary of the Adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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Statement by Victoria Tauli Corpuz, 
Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
25 April 2017, New York
 
(Delivered during the High-Level Event of the General Assembly to mark the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples)
 
Honorable President of the General Assembly, Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations, President Morales, Honorable Mr. Gilmour, Madame Chairperson of the Permanent Forum, Chairperson of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Excellencies, indigenous representatives, distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
 
 
Introduction
 
In September 2007, during the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (‘the Declaration), I had the honour to address the General Assembly as the Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. In my speech, I referred to the historical moment and stated that,
 
(t)he challenge to ensure the respect, protection and fulfilment of Indigenous Peoples Rights has just begun. (...) Effective implementation of the Declaration will be the test of commitment of States and the whole international community to protect, respect and fulfil indigenous peoples collective and individual human rights.
 
Now, ten years later, as the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, I have been vested by the Human Rights Council with the mandate to promote the Declaration as one of my main tasks. Effective implementation of the Declaration means that the rights enshrined in it are enjoyed by indigenous peoples all over the world. Despite some progress made, as previous Special Rapporteur James Anaya pointed out, the wide gap between the rights mentioned in the Declaration and its effective implementation will persist, leading to a certain complacency and acceptance of that condition by dominant actors and within the United Nations system.
 
Before elaborating further, I would like to pay tribute to Professor Rodolfo Stavenhagen, the first mandate holder who recently passed away. He has been a source of inspiration for me especially in how he performed his mandate as the first Special Rapporteur on the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples. I would ask for a minute of silence to remember him and thank him for his work.
 
Download .pdf here.