OAS draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Position the Indigenous Caucus of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas

Distinguished Chairman of the Permanent Council, we the representatives of Indigenous Peoples want to express our position in regards to the last session of negotiations of the working group responsible for drafting the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We regret that some States insist to hinder negotiations which have been held for more than 17 years, by introducing at the last minute, new text to make the provisions in the American Declaration ambiguous, below the standards of the Declaration of the United Nations and not recognize the rights of Indigenous Peoples, which is contrary to international human rights law. 

The Caucus considers this a vile disrespect and bad faith and will not accept any disposition that limits the human rights of Indigenous Peoples to the constitutions, domestic laws and public interest and allow the continued violation of indigenous rights and destroy all progress we have achieved in the American Declaration.

The Indigenous Caucus denounces before the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, the Permanent Council and the General Assembly that the conditions for the adoption of an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas do not exist, because there is no respect for the principles of the negotiation process that led Indigenous Peoples to the negotiation of an American Declaration without weakening it and without taking it below the standards of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We ask the Committee on Legal Affairs, the Permanent Council and the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), to take the necessary measures to enable the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in the discussion and adoption of the American Declaration in an environment of respect and equality.

We the Indigenous Peoples will not accept any language that is contrary to the UN Declaration. We Indigenous Peoples reject and denounce the text of the American Declaration submitted for discussion and consider it illegitimate.

Having said that and in view of the fact that there are no conditions for negotiations at this eighteenth session, we the indigenous peoples remove ourselves from the negotiating table and will not recognize any text.

Washington D.C. 15th May, 2015.

Contact: Anita Tzec anitatzec@yahoo.com


Say No to Racism in Puerto Rico!

Recently, the University of Puerto Rico’s School of Law filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights citing the violation of human rights in Puerto Rico.A news article entitled "Human Rights in Puerto Rico; Are they making racism invisible?" published on March 12th at “El Post Antillano”, responded to the complaint critiquing the absence of the subject of Racism against Black communities, afro-descendants, and Indigenous Peoples in Puerto Rico.

Providing an example of current climate of racism against Indigenous Peoples in Puerto Rico,a group of radical pro-Spain Puerto Ricans, “Autonomía para Puerto Rico”, led by its president, Iván Arrache, recently launched a campaign seeking to remove references to the Indigenous Taino Peoples from school books used on the Island. The pro-Spain group also seeks to present a more "positive" image of Spanish Conquistadors in school curriculum. This group’s core political position is that Puerto Rico should be re-annexed to Spain and Puerto Ricans should again be subjects of the Spanish Crown. They claim thousands of followers on the island including former political figures and members of the Puerto Rican Board of Education.

In response to these racists positions against Indigenous Peoples and the People of Puerto Rico, a respected community member and representative of the United Confederation of Taino People, Tai Pellicier (Tai Pelli) posted a professional, well-documented response to these statements; she was subsequently slandered by members of the racist group in question; her personal Face Book page was hacked and rendered inaccessible. The President of the radical group, Ivan Arrache, has claimed responsibility for this cyber-attack taking place during Women’s History Month, March 2015.

The United Confederation of Taino People is calling on all people of good conscience to join us in expressing solidarity for our sister Tai Pellicier (Tai Pelli) and to denounce the racist attempt to remove the Taino from school text books and the intent to present the conquistador in a more "positive manner". In addition, we condemn violations against the basic human right of self-determination and all forms of racism, especially against those who proudly affirm indigenous Taino heritage, as well as institutionalized racism against Black communities and Afro-Descendants in Puerto Rico.


World Conference on Indigenous Peoples Follow-up: Deadline April 6

Indigenous Peoples around the world are invited to provide their valuable input in responding a questionnaire on the follow up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples 2014 by 6 April 2015 at: