Dec 8 2006
The following is the closing statement of the Caucus of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas:
"We, the representatives of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, express our concern about the process of prepairing the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We aspire and work for a Declaration that fully reflects our rights. The shortcomings of this process profoundly affect not only us but also our future generations.
We came to this meeting prepared to participate in this process on an equal footing and to contribute to a dignified, constructive dialogue based on mutual respect that will help establish a new relationship between indigenous Peoples and American States.
We are encouraged that some States support efforts to reach consensus and we regret that other States lack political will to do so.
We are also concerned about the use of a method of work that not only slows the process but also delays the completion of the Declaration on our rights. We consider that the method of work at this meeting does not clearly reflect our proposals in these negotiations and that no real progress was made at this meeting..
We are also concerned with what is occurring with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted by the Human Rights Council but is now on hold. We reiterate that we cannot accept anything less than the minimum standards for our rights which are already universally accepted and recognized. Some States are forgetting their commitments and obligations as signatories of conventions and international covenants of the United Nations of which all American States are parties to atleast one. Common Article 1 of the International Covenants stipulates that "All peoples have the right to self-determination". The Treaty Monitoring Body, composed of experts elected by the States themselves have applied this right under the Covenants to Indigenous Peoples. We cannot accept a form of the right to self-determination that does not comply with existing minimum standards recognized by the States themselves. The right to self-determination is a fundamental right that is necessary for the survival, dignity and well-being of our Peoples and our future generations.
We respectfully and energetically call on States to achieve real progress in this process at future megotiations."
Caucus of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas
Washington DC, 8th December 2006
UCTP Taino News Editor's note: Chief Damon Corrie of the Eagle Clan Arawaks (Barbados & Guyana) and Oswald Robinson (Garifuna) of Saint Vincent were in attendence at the meeting representing Caribbean Indigenous Peoples.