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Statement of Group of Friends of Indigenous Peoples, General Debate of Agenda Item 70 (a,b) Entitled: Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Intervention by the Mission of México on behalf of Group of Friends of Indigenous Peoples

October 12

Thank you Mr. Chair,

I make this statement on behalf of the Group on Friends on Indigenous Peoples, composed of, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Finland, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Norway, New Zealand, Spain, Paraguay, Peru, and my own country, Mexico.

 

Indigenous peoples around the world continue to face specific vulnerabilities and marginalization. Having faced historical and continued colonization, racism, and other forms of discrimination, we recognise that many development processes in developed and developing countries alike, leave them behind. They are often among the most disadvantaged compared to the rest of populations in all countries where they live, and often over-represented among the poor, the illiterate and the unemployed.

 

The 2030 Agenda is of vital importance to the 370 million indigenous peoples around the world and we must uphold their rights with respect to their own contributions to sustainable development. We are convinced that the engagement of indigenous peoples in all aspects of development will strengthen its implementation.

Mr. Chair, 2017 was a landmark year for the consideration of Indigenous peoples at the United Nations and we welcome the achievements in this regard.

2017 also marked the 16thsession of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

In March, the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women considered the empowerment of indigenous women as a focus area. Such a consideration led to the recognition that indigenous women face additional challenges to achieving empowerment. 

The Commission also recognized that indigenous women´s economic empowerment, inclusion and development, would enable them to improve their social, cultural, civil and political engagement, to achieve greater economic independence, and to build more sustainable and resilient communities.

Furthermore, the Commission urged Member States to take measures to promote the economic empowerment of indigenous women and to address the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and barriers that Indigenous women face, including violence, and to promote their participation in relevant decision-making processes at all levels and in all areas.

In April, the President of the General Assembly presided over a high-level event to mark the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This high-level event provided an important opportunity to review the commitments made by Member States in the Outcome Document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, and we are pleased to highlight that many participating States made concrete commitments to achieve the ends of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

 

Mr. Chair, 2017 also advanced in the consultation process on the participation of Indigenous peoples in the United Nations on issues affecting them.

The adoption of the resolution on this issue represented two years of intense dialogue among States and between States and Indigenous peoples.

It was essential that we were able to deliver a consensus outcome where we expressed our commitment to respect, promote, advance and in no way diminish the rights of indigenous peoples, to the Outcome Document of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and to uphold the principles of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Mr Chair, while significant work has already been undertaken, we still have much work to do on this issue. Member States have agreed to continue consideration of possible further measures necessary to enhance the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in relevant United Nations meetings on issues affecting them at its seventy-fifth session.

We look forward to the report of the Secretary-General, due by the end of the 74th session of the General Assembly, on achievements, analysis and concrete recommendations on the possible further measures necessary to enable the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in meetings of relevant United Nations bodies on issues affecting them. 

Additionally, since Indigenous communities and their experiences vary dramatically around the world, as does their engagement in the United Nations, we are pleased to note that the resolution calls on the Secretary-General to hold regional consultations on this issue and to ensure that views expressed at the consultations will be incorporated into his report.

We are also pleased to note that the resolution calls for an expansion of the mandate of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples so that it can assist representatives of indigenous peoples´ organizations and institutions to participate in the hearings organized by the President of the General Assembly, as well as informal interactive hearings during the next three sessions of the General Assembly.

In closing, Mr Chair, 2017 was a year that demonstrated the strong commitment of both States and Indigenous peoples to advancing and promoting the rights of indigenous peoples through the United Nations.

As noted by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples: “The UN system has an important and continuing role to play in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples”.

In this vein, we reiterate our commitment to continue our efforts aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples at the United Nations, and call on all Member States to join in this important endeavor.

Thank you.


 

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