|Some of the Caribbean Indigenous representatives at the United Nations Permanent Forum in 2013. From left Damon Corrie (Lokono), R. Mukaro Borrero (Taino), Tai AnaYuisa Pelli (Taino), Hatuey Corrie (Lokono)|
United Nations (UCTP Taino News) - Over 2000 representatives of Indigenous Peoples have registered and are expected to attend the 12th session of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The Forum opened on 20 May and will close on May 2012. Some of the themes to be discussed include culture, education and health, as well as youth, Indigenous Peoples of Africa and international financial institutions. The session opened with a welcome blessing by Todadaho Sid Hill, a traditional Chief of the Onondaga Nation, part of the Six Nations or Iroquois Confederacy.
A message from the Secretary General Ban Ki Moon was delivered by Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. The message stressed that “We must have a better understanding of the views and values of indigenous peoples by engaging them in decision-making and providing a platform for issues affecting their lives and livelihoods.”
The Forum also elected a new chairperson, Paul Kanyinke Sena, who will facilitate the two-week session. A Maasai from Kenya, Sena stated in his opening address that Indigenous concepts of health and healing includes not only access without discrimination to social and health services, but also includes connections with family, land and language, as well as access to traditional plants, animals and minerals.
Other opening remarks were presented by the Vice-President of the UN General Assembly, Abulkalam Abdul Momen and the President of the UN Economic, Social and Economic Council (ECOSOC), Néstor Osorio.
Among the diverse participants of this year’s session representatives of Caribbean Indigenous Peoples such as the Lokono Arawak, Carib, and Taino are in attendance. The United Confederation of Taino People, for example, has accredited a number of delegates from throughout the Caribbean region including Borikén (Puerto Rico), Barbados, and Guyana.
Along with the various discussions and debates taking place during the week, a number of side-events on related-issues will take place in and around United Nations Headquarters.
Information Note for Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations on the Twelfth Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
We are pleased to announce that the renovations of most of the Conference Rooms at the United Nations Headquarters are almost completed. The opening of the session will be held in the General Assembly Hall and will commence at 11am. In the afternoon and for the rest of the session, the meeting will be in Trusteeship Council Chamber.
The twelfth session of the Permanent Forum will be significant because it is the Permanent Forum’s review year with special emphasis on the implementation of UNPFII recommendations on: (i) health; (ii) education; and (iii) culture.
Also, based on its methodology of organizing in-depth dialogues with UN agencies, the Forum will hold a dialogue with the World Bank; Asian Development Bank; African Development Bank; Inter-American Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation.
The special regional focus of the Forum will be on indigenous peoples in Africa. A half-day discussion will be devoted to this region.
Other features of the Forum’s twelfth session will include Human Rights, the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (2014), Discussions on the Post 2015 Development Agenda and discussions on a number of studies completed this year by members of the Permanent Forum.
We take this opportunity to draw your attention to the preparatory meeting of the Indigenous Global Caucus on the weekend before the Permanent Forum session 18 – 19 May 2013. As in previous years, the meeting will take place on the 2nd floor of the Church Center for the United Nations at 777 UN Plaza (corner of East 44th Street and 1st Avenue), across the street from the main entrance to the United Nations.
Also, the Global Indigenous Women's Caucus meeting will take place on Friday 17 May 2013 from 9am to 5pm. The meeting will take place on the 2nd floor of the Church Centre for the United Nations at 777 UN Plaza (corner of East 44th Street and 1st Avenue), across the street from the main entrance to the United Nations.
The Indigenous Youth Caucus Preparatory Meeting for the twelfth Session will take place on Sunday, May 19, 2013, 9am to 6pm at 1 East 42nd Street, 2th Floor, New York, NY 10017
A meeting with Indigenous Journalists to strategize on the World Conference on Indigenous peoples (2014) will take place on Wednesday 22 May between 10am – 11am in Conference Room C. For further information contact Nilla Bernardi on Wednesday 22 May between 10am – 11am in Conference Room C. For further information contact Nilla Bernardi on
One important note – all registrations for new Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations and Academics are now closed. Please be advised you must be pre-registered in order to attend the Forum. You must also bring your confirmation letter and a photo ID such as a passport or driver’s licence to the Registration desk.
Registration times will be:
Sunday 19 May 12:00 -17:00
Monday 20 May 08:30 -12:30 & 14.00 -15.45
Tuesday 21 May 09.00 - 12.30 & 14.00 – 15.45
Wednesday 22 May to Friday 31 May (remainder of the Session) 09:30 - 12:30 & 14.00 – 15.45
The Registration Desk will be closed from 12:30 p.m. to 14:00 p.m. Participants attending only side-events should register in the morning before those events take place.
The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Secretariat: Chandra, Anna, Arturo, Bertha, Broddi, Daniel,Joshua, Luz, Martin, Mirian, Nilla, Olga, Samantha, Sonia, Upatissa
Barbados (UCTP Taino News) – Eagle Clan Lokono-Arawak matriarch Hannah Mariah Corbin crossed over into the Spirit World on Saturday, May 4, 2013. She was 99 year old. Grandmother Hannah Corbin was the sole surviving child of Guyana born, Eagle Clan Lokono-Arawak Princess Marian, daughter of hereditary Chief Amorotahe Haubariria (Flying Harpy Eagle) of Guyana. Among her surviving relatives are children Daphne, Cecil, Audrey, Judith, and Cheryl, as well 22 grandchildren, including renowned Caribbean Indigenous Rights advocate Damon Gerard Corrie.
THE UN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE WILL QUESTION THE UNITED STATES ABOUT INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ SACRED AREAS AND FREE PRIOR AND INFORMED CONSENT IN THEIR UPCOMING REVIEW OF U.S. COMPLIANCE WITH THE INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS
April 25th, 2013: The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on December 16, 1966. It went into legal force on March 23rd, 1976. The United States of America is one of the 167 countries, called the “State parties”, which have ratified the Covenant.
The ICCPR is legally binding on the State parties. State parties are required to undergo periodic reviews of their compliance with the Covenant, usually every 4 - 6 years. The UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) is the Treaty Monitoring Body for the ICCPR. The HRC conducts periodic reviews of the State parties and makes recommendations to the States about how to improve their compliance and better fulfill their legal obligations under the Covenant.
The HRC consists of 18 members representing all the UN regions. They are nominated and elected by the State parties to the Covenant. The HRC members are independent experts (not representatives of their respective countries) and serve in their individual capacities. For a list of current HRC members see: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/members.htm.
Reports submitted by the State parties under review, provisional agendas and other relevant documents for the next session, including submissions by Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples, are posted on the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights website, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/. Recommendations and concluding observations of the HRC addressing the State parties’ compliance are also posted after the reviews.
During its 107th session ending on March 28th, 2013, the HRC determined the issues which will be the focus of their review of 8 countries at their 109th session from October 14th – November 1st, 2013. The United States will be reviewed at that time. The list of issues for the US review is posted on the HRC web page, under 107th session, information on the US.
In December 2012, the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and the United Confederation of Taino People, with input from Indigenous Peoples, Nations and organizations in California, Hawaii, Alaska and New Mexico, submitted two proposals for issues to be addressed during the US review. These focused on Article 1 of the Covenant addressing Self-Determination and Articles 18 and 27 addressing Language, Culture and Freedom of Religion for “minorities” and highlighted the relevant provisions in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Note: as a UN Standard drafted in the 1960’s the term “Indigenous Peoples” was not used in the Covenant, however the HRC now uses this term).
The HRC accepted the recommendations submitted by IITC et al pertaining to Article 27 of the ICCPR, and has drafted questions for response by the US and Indigenous Peoples as follows:
27. Please provide information on measures taken to guarantee the protection of Indigenous Sacred Areas, as well as to ensure that indigenous peoples are consulted and that their free, prior and informed consent is obtained regarding matters that directly affect their interests. Please provide information on steps taken to implement Executive Order 13175 on Consultation and Coordination with Tribal Governments.
The HRC will accept alternative or “shadow” reports with information in response to these questions and related concerns from Indigenous Peoples, Nations, Tribes and organizations as well as from Civil Society. The alternative reports are due by September 1st for the October session. The HRC requests information that is “as specific, reliable and objective as possible”, identifying the submitting non-governmental organization (NGO) or Peoples. Anonymous information is not accepted. Check the HRC web page on for additional information and guidelines on submissions by NGO’s and Indigenous Peoples.
IITC plans to co-coordinate submission of a joint Indigenous Peoples "shadow report" on threats to Indigenous Peoples sacred areas, cultural rights, the right to Free Prior and Informed Consent and other relevant concerns for the US review. On request, we will provide technical assistance and information to Indigenous Peoples and organizations who want to submit their information and issues as part of the IITC joint shadow report or on their own.
As a reminder, we are also preparing for the periodic review of the US by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the Treaty monitoring Body for the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The CERD will review the US again in early 2014, and we are beginning to work on those submissions as well. Contact IITC for information on that process, which will also address the protection of Indigenous Peoples Sacred Areas and Cultural Rights, Treaty rights, Environmental Racism and a number of other issues. IITC has an on-line handbook on using the CERD including its urgent action process which we will provide upon request.
If you are interested in receiving more information, scheduling a presentation or training, or contributing to the joint Indigenous Peoples shadow report for the HRC focusing on sacred areas, cultural rights and Free Prior and Informed Consent please contact:
IITC Legal Counsel Danika Littlechild, firstname.lastname@example.org
Consulting Attorney June L. Lorenzo (Southwest Sacred Areas),
IITC Executive Director Andrea Carmen, email@example.com
IITC looks forward to working with you on this important opportunity to address issues of vital importance to Indigenous Peoples and to participate in an international process to hold the US accountable to their human rights obligations.
Guatemala City, Guatemala (UCTP Taino News) – Indigenous Peoples from throughout Latin American and Caribbean are meeting in Guatemala to discuss and organize regional perspectives on the upcoming United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014. Supported by the Government of Guatemala, This preparatory meeting began on April 11 with a Mayan blessing ceremony lead by Felix Sarazua, a Maya Spiritual Guide. The meeting will end on Saturday, April 13, 2013.
The Latin American and Caribbean Regional Preparatory Meeting for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples is a part of a global preparatory process toward the United Nations General Assembly high-level plenary entitled the “World Conference on Indigenous Peoples,” scheduled to take September 2014. Some of the themes being discussed in Guatemala include the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Indigenous perceptions of land and territories; the post-2015 UN Agenda; and the a strategic plan for the World Conference.
Among the invited delegates attending the meeting in Guatemala is Roberto Mukaro Borrero, President of the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP). Borrero is representing the Confederation and the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization (CADO).
“From the start of this process the UCTP and CADO have been concerned with the lack of effective participation of indigenous Caribbean Islanders during these important preparatory stages” stated Borrero. The UCTP and CADO jointly submitted their concerns to the Latin American and Caribbean Coordinating Committee as well as the Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus.
In its resolution (A/RES/66/296), the UN General Assembly decided that the High-level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples would be held on 22-23 September 2014 in New York at UN Headquarters. A goal of the World Conference is to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of Indigenous peoples, including to pursue the objectives of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.