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6th UNPF Session to Focus on IP Land Rights

by Pesante-USA Thursday, May. 17, 2007 at 11:39 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

The Sixth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) slated to start on May 14 in New York will focus on indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories and natural resources. The UNPFII sessions will also include presentations on other key issues such as urban indigenous peoples and migration, data collection and disaggregation. Three Cordillerans will be among the over 1,000 representatives of indigenous organizations and communities around the world and advocate groups who are expected to participate in the two-week long UNPFII sessions. Joan Carling, from the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA)’s Advisory Council will present issues on political killings and worsening militarization of indigenous communities in the Philippines. She will also give a presentation on the continuing violation of the ancestral land rights of indigenous peoples and the manipulation of the Free Informed and Prior Consent (FPIC) process by mining and agribusiness companies, among others with the connivance of some government officials.

Pesante-USA Update

6th UNPF Session to Focus on IP Land Rights

BY AT BENGWAYAN

Northern Dispatch

Posted by Bulatlat

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S WATCH

Vol. VII, No. 14 May 13-20, 2007

BAGUIO CITY (246 kms. north of Manila) – The Sixth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) slated to start on May 14 in New York will focus on indigenous peoples’ rights to lands, territories and natural resources.

The UNPFII sessions will also include presentations on other key issues such as urban indigenous peoples and migration, data collection and disaggregation.

Three Cordillerans will be among the over 1,000 representatives of indigenous organizations and communities around the world and advocate groups who are expected to participate in the two-week long UNPFII sessions.

Joan Carling, from the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA)’s Advisory Council will present issues on political killings and worsening militarization of indigenous communities in the Philippines. She will also give a presentation on the continuing violation of the ancestral land rights of indigenous peoples and the manipulation of the Free Informed and Prior Consent (FPIC) process by mining and agribusiness companies, among others with the connivance of some government officials.

“These issues continue despite international claim of the Philippine government of having the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act in recognition of the collective rights of indigenous peoples,” Carling said. She adds that the Philippine government should be held accountable to the continuing violations of the indigenous peoples’ collective and individual rights.

CPA data show 120 documented cases of extra judicial killings of indigenous peoples all over the country since 2001. Likewise, the massive expropriation and land-grabbing of ancestral lands and resources is leading to the further impoverishment and marginalization of indigenous peoples already suffering from national oppression.

Jennifer Awingan of the CPA’s Youth Commission and coordinator of the Asia-Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN) will also attend the UNPFII session. She will be presenting the resolutions and recommendations of the APIYN conference recently held in Baguio last April.

APIYN conference gathered 50 delegates from more than 12 Asia-Pacific countries. One of the resolutions is the urgent appeal of the indigenous youth for UN General Assembly to pass the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples this September.

Affirming the theme of this year’s session on land and resources, UNPFII Chairperson Victoria Tauli Corpuz, also from the Cordillera, said that the increasing desire of states for greater economic growth fuels the “senseless exploitation of indigenous peoples’ territories and resources.”

“Much of the world’s remaining natural resources are found within indigenous peoples’ territories. Access to these and ownership remains a contentious issue,” Tauli added.

The UN estimates over 370 million indigenous peoples in 70 countries worldwide, with diverse cultural and geographical backgrounds who are bound by common issues such as lack of basic health care, limited access to education, loss of control over land, poverty, displacement, human rights violations, and economic and social marginalization.

The UNPF was established in 2000 by the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), to provide expert advice and recommendations on indigenous peoples’ issues into the UN system through the ECOSOC, raise awareness and promote the integration and coordination of relevant activities in the UN and to disseminate information on indigenous peoples. This was the result of the extensive and sustained UN lobby and advocacy work of indigenous leaders since the 80’s. The Permanent Forum has eight experts from government and eight IP experts recommended by indigenous organizations.

Highlights of the Sixth Session include a dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur Prof. Rodolfo Stavenhagen, reporting of the First Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, covering 1995-2004, a cultural exhibit and performances from indigenous artists worldwide and interactive dialogues.

The two-week forum will also discuss the status of implementation of recommendations from previous sessions in the following areas: economic and social development, environment, health, education, culture and human rights, and the Millennium Development Goals. Reports of regions from Asia, Africa and Latin America will also be discussed, particularly on the IPs and indicators or well-being.

The UNPFII earlier announced that a trust fund for the Second Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples was set up to fund small grants projects that focus on education, culture, health, human rights; economic, social and environmental development by and for indigenous peoples. Northern Dispatch / Posted by Bulatlat

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