OAS Still Negotiating Indigenous Rights Declaration

UCTP Taino News – The Organization of American States (OAS) will host the Eleventh Meeting of the Working Group to Prepare the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Washington, DC on April 14-18, 2008. Among those who have confirmed attendance at the meeting are Caribbean Indigenous representatives, Chief Charles Williams (Kalinago) of Dominica and Mr. Oswald Robinson (Garifuna) of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. A delegation representing the United Confederation of Taino People will also attend.

Like the recently adopted United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the OAS draft Declaration is not a Covenant under international law that will legally bind the signatories to any action. These legal documents however are still important as "standard-setting" with regard to indigenous rights. Recently, the UN Declaration was cited in a Belize Supreme Court decision in favor of the local Maya community.

“In some countries this developing OAS instrument has the potential to be a substantial and wide-reaching improvement on the existing rights found in national legislation” said Hereditary Lokono Eagle Clan Chief Damon Corrie a regular participant of the negotiations.

Corrie continued stating that “The OAS draft Declaration deserves the attention of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas as well as governments especially the CARICOM governments who are not normally in attendance at these meetings.”

The Organization of American States (OAS) is an inter-governmental organization that brings together the countries of the Western Hemisphere to strengthen cooperation and advance common interests. It is the region’s premier forum for multilateral dialogue among governments and for their concerted action.

UCTPTN 04.03.2008

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