Informed Consent Critical to Protecting Survival, Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Speakers Tell Permanent Forum

Seeking informed consent from indigenous peoples before undertaking projects affecting their territories and resources was crucial to their survival and human rights, participants told the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues today.

The goal of tribal consultation is not simply to check a box, emphasized Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. Rather, such consultation was crucial for providing federal decision makers with the context, information and perspectives they needed to make informed decisions that protected tribal interests.

Pointing to the tribes that were potentially affected by the Dakota Access Pipeline in the United States, she highlighted how they had been denied access to information and excluded from consultations at the planning stage of the project. Furthermore, the non-violent protests at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation had been confronted with militarized and at times violent escalation of force.

It was also crucial to consider the impact of the international investment regime on indigenous people's rights, she added, noting that corporations that made investments in mining, extraction and agricultural plantations were given more protections by Governments than the indigenous peoples on whose lands and territories those investments were happening.

Albert Barume, Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, also spoke, saying that without adequate protection of their right to health, indigenous peoples faced the threat of extinction. Diabetes, neglected tropical diseases and drug and alcohol abuse were among health-related challenges. Also highlighting the criminalization of indigenous peoples' activities in their efforts to protect their land, he underscored the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.

Mirna Cunningham, of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, said that the Fund, among other activities, made possible the participation of indigenous groups in United Nations meetings. Beneficiaries had contributed to significant achievements, including the adoption of the Declaration and the development of international human rights jurisprudence on indigenous peoples' rights by human rights mechanisms.

During the day-long meeting speakers spoke of surviving the challenges of violence, land grabs and health issues, and calls for the need for consultations with indigenous peoples and stronger protection of their rights were reiterated through both an interactive dialogue and a general discussion.

A representative of the International Indian Treaty Council reminded the Forum that according to article 32 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, States must consult and cooperate in good faith with indigenous peoples. Yet, sometimes consultation did not happen, she pointed out.

Others spoke about the need to protect indigenous rights defenders, with the representative of the Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact, voicing concern about the killings of indigenous rights activists and defenders, while the Assyrian Aid Society described the genocide indigenous peoples in Iraq and the Middle East faced at the hands of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da'esh) in Mosul and Nineveh plain.

We do not want to disappear said Manari Ushigua of Nacionalidad Sapara del Ecuador, asking for the immediate withdrawal of a Chinese business that had been assigned some territories for oil exploration by the Ecuadorian Government. The indigenous way of life was an important contribution to humanity and that vision was at risk of becoming extinct.

Also speaking were representatives of the Indigenous World Association, West Papua Interest Association, Ogaden People's Rights Organisation, Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, Asian Caucus, Telke, United Confederation of Taino People, Massey University, Coordinadora de Organizaciones Indigenas de la Cuenca Amazonica, Forest Peoples Programme, Chin Human Rights Organization, Congres Mondiale Amazigh (CMA), Indigenous Native Traditional Interchange, Indigenous Crimean Tatars, Save Our Unique Landscape, Pacos Trust, Indigenous Peoples Organization of Australia, Land Is Life, Tribal Link and the Foundation for Indigenous Americans of Anasazi Heritage.

Permanent Forum members from Denmark, United States, Australia, Finland, Cameroon, Peru, Ecuador, Mexico and the United Republic of Tanzania also spoke.

Delivering national statements were representatives of South Africa, Chile, Russian Federation and Norway, also speaking for Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, as well as the European Union delegation.

The Permanent Forum will reconvene at a date and time to be announced.

Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur

VICTORIA TAULI-CORPUZ, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, stated that implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples had been inadequate because of a lack of awareness and States' difficulties in translating the various articles into practical steps. Underscoring the Declaration's remedial nature, she added that it was an essential tool for reconciliation, which was a much-needed process in countries where indigenous peoples continued to suffer gross human rights violations.

While the legal status and aims of the Declaration were now better understood and accepted by many States, she said, there were, however, several problems in the interpretation of indigenous peoples' rights. Those included the right to lands and resources; the application of the duty of the State to consult with and seek the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples in matters that affected them; and the harmonization of State and customary indigenous governance systems. The Special Rapporteur's mandate, which played an essential role in monitoring and advancing the Declaration's effective implementation, also had an enormous potential to provide advice and technical assistance.

According to article 29 of the Declaration, indigenous people had the right to conserve and protect the environment and the productive capacity of their lands and resources, she continued. States should establish and implement assistance programmes for indigenous peoples for such conservation and protection. The human rights framework that related to the development of the indigenous peoples should be viewed in light of their cross-cutting rights to non-discrimination and self-determination.

Furthermore, it was necessary to consider the impact of the international investment regime, she stated, adding that it was the responsibility of States to ensure those rights were not obstructed by protections afforded to investors. In that regard, she noted that she had received communications alleging that some projects, including windmills and hydroelectric dam projects conducted in the name of climate change mitigation, had been put in indigenous peoples' territories without consulting them or getting their consent.

Highlighting recent official country visits, she said that after 15 days of traveling across Australia at the invitation of its Government, she had noted overall negative trends, with Government policies for indigenous people failing to reach targets in the key areas of health, education and employment. Those conditions were resulting in a growing number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders being jailed, and an escalation in the number of children being removed from homes. While Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders constituted 3 per cent of the population, they constituted 27 per cent of the prison population.

Turning to the United States, she said that, while Executive Order 13175 provided the most direct guidance on consultation with tribes and was well intentioned, it had evolved into a confusing and disjointed framework that suffered from a lack of accountability. Many indigenous peoples in the United States perceived a general lack of consideration of the future impacts on their lands, particularly in regard to extractive industry projects. In the matter of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the potentially affected tribes were denied access to information and excluded from consultations at the planning stage of the project.

The goal of tribal consultation is not simply to check a box, she stressed, but to provide federal decision makers with the context, information and perspectives needed to make informed decisions that protect tribal interests. The actions taking place along the boundaries of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation had been non-violent. Yet, there had been a militarized and, at times, violent escalation of force by local and private security forces.

In efforts to address allegations of violations of indigenous people's rights, she had significantly increased the number of communications addressed to Governments. The failure to ensure free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples before undertaking projects affecting their territories and resources remained a key concern.

As the floor opened for an interactive dialogue, representatives of indigenous organizations and Member States, as well as Permanent Forum members voiced concerns and sought guidance, including the delegate of the United States who asked about mechanisms facilitating the concerns of indigenous rights defenders, as well as culturally appropriate responses to the disproportionate violence against indigenous women and girls.

A representative of the International Indian Treaty Council, expressing appreciation for the Rapporteur's visit to Standing Rock, noted that, despite article 32, sometimes consultation did not happen.

The representative of Australia stated that her Government looked forward to working actively with the Rapporteur to come up with solutions regarding the high incarceration rates of indigenous peoples in her country. Investigations regarding youth in detention and child protection were being carried out in the Northern Territories.

A representative of the Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact, voicing concern about the killings of indigenous rights activists and defenders, and referring to a particular incident in Bangladesh, asked about actions that could encourage Governments to implement treaties with indigenous peoples.

ABDIRAHMAN MAHDI of the Ogaden People's Rights Organization said that while Ethiopia's Constitution was extremely liberal, the Government did exactly the opposite of what was in that document, including by hiding cholera deaths, the exploitation of indigenous youth, and building dams that destroyed indigenous communities. Ethiopia was the headquarters of the African Union and, as a result, the situation of the indigenous peoples in that country was being ignored.

Bangladesh's delegate said that his country's Constitution recognized the fundamental rights of all citizens, irrespective of their ethnic identities. Referring to a statement made previously, he added that in that unfortunate incident, the person who had been killed had been an active member of a regional political entity against whom there were allegations of extortion and intimidation. The incident would be investigated properly.

Responding, Ms. TAULI-CORPUZ said that the rights of corporations that made investments in mining, extraction and agricultural plantations were given more protections by Governments than the rights of the indigenous peoples on whose lands and territories those investments were happening. While some Governments had gone out of their way to develop dialogues and round tables with indigenous peoples, the norm was that Governments would impose legislative measures on indigenous peoples. In addition, many existing human rights institutions were not sensitized to the rights of indigenous peoples. Often they were looking at individual human rights violations. However, for indigenous peoples, those individual violations were linked to their collective rights.

She also stressed the importance of protections for human rights defenders. It was vital that indigenous peoples were given the right to organize and protest, she said, highlighting the precautionary measures proposed by the Inter-American Commission. The agencies and funds of the United Nations also had a responsibility to speak out whenever indigenous human rights defenders were being targeted. At the subnational level, local governments should respect indigenous governance and judicial systems.

After expressing regret regarding the nonappearance of the United States at the hearing of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, she went on to say that in Australia, there were increasing incidents of violence against indigenous women and girls, but the resources provided to deal with that were not adequate. She also encouraged the Government of Bangladesh to implement the agreements it had made with indigenous peoples and requested more information regarding the situation in Ethiopia.

Recommending the use of technology to create wider consultations with indigenous peoples, she highlighted a webinar by the American Indian Clinic at the University of Colorado which included indigenous peoples from around the country in a dialogue with her Office. Since indigenous peoples were often found in remote and inaccessible areas, it was necessary to use technology creatively to reach them. Instead of seeing indigenous peoples as victims, it was necessary to look into them as providers of solutions.

Also speaking were Permanent Forum members from Australia, Denmark, Finland, Cameroon, Peru, and Ecuador, as well as representatives of the International Indian Treaty Council, Grand Council of the Crees, Coica, Association Tin Hinane Burkina Faso, Nation of Hawai'i, and Khmers Kampuchea Krom Federation.

The delegates of Guatemala, Mexico, and Norway also spoke.

Introductory Remarks

ALBERT BARUME, Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said that without adequate protection of their right to health, indigenous peoples faced the threat of extinction. Diabetes, neglected tropical diseases and drug and alcohol abuse were among health-related challenges. Action-oriented programmes among the Expert Mechanism's recommendations, a new mandate at its tenth session in Geneva in July would include expanded membership and the discretion to choose its theme.

In addition, the Expert Mechanism would be providing technical advice, support and assistance to stakeholders with a view to implementing recommendations by treaty bodies and other relevant mechanisms, he continued. To foster bolstered dialogue between stakeholders and Member States, the Mechanism would take steps that would promote best practices.

The new mandate reflected Member States and indigenous peoples' desire to enhance dialogue, he said, noting that the session included a dialogue with human rights institutions in order to provide a platform for States and relevant mechanisms. Highlighting the current trend of criminalizing indigenous peoples' activities in their efforts to protect their land, he said their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression must be respected. With that in mind, the Expert Mechanism was considering focusing a report on human rights' defenders.

MIRNA CUNNINGHAM, United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, said the Fund's beneficiaries were human rights defenders. The Fund also made possible the participation of groups in United Nations meetings. It had also supported two meetings convened to follow up on the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Beneficiaries had contributed to significant achievements, including the adoption of the Declaration and the development of international human rights jurisprudence on indigenous peoples' rights by human rights mechanisms.

However, the Fund was barely able to fund one quarter of all applications. Sustainable financial support had made it possible to carry out its mandate. It was critical that indigenous people participate in meetings that directly affected their lives. Such involvement ensured that decisions being made carried legitimacy and yielded positive results, she said, appealing to all Governments to commit to supporting the Fund's vital work.

General Discussion

JESUS GUADALUPE FUENTES BLANCO, Permanent Forum member from Mexico, said the proper mechanisms must be sought in order to ensure success in achieving timely solutions. All mechanisms should have joint agendas to reach those ends.

OBED BAPELA (South Africa) said his country had taken a number of steps to address pressing concerns. Transnational corporations, including extractive industries, were among perpetrators of grave human rights, including in the areas of child labour and environmental issues. He called for indigenous peoples to participate in negotiations in October to draft a convention against such abuses.

ROBERTO EUGENIO T. CADIZ, Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, said human rights defenders in his country faced torture, threats and a range of violations. The Commission had adopted strategies, including facilitating dialogue with rights defenders and government agencies in areas such as monitoring, prevention and remediation. Indigenous peoples remained largely helpless in the face of development aggression from large corporations on ancestral lands, he said, calling on duty bearers to uphold the interests of indigenous peoples to defend themselves.

ALBETO PIZARRO (Chile) said his country had had historic relations with indigenous populations and was working on the principle of leaving no one behind. For its part, Chile had helped to strengthen indigenous peoples' rights, including through the adoption of public policies.

LES MALEZER, Permanent Forum member from Australia, urged States to contribute to the Voluntary Fund to assist activities outside the session.

PETUUCHE GILBERT, Indigenous World Association, appealed for support to address the case of Leonard Peltier, who had been imprisoned in connection with the deaths of two federal United States agents. The case had demonstrated that the law was being used for political purposes, he said, reiterating calls for the United States to release Mr. Peltier, who was now 72 years old and suffered from health issues.

TATIANA SHLYCHKOVA (Russian Federation) said each person independently and as a group are entitled to defend human rights. The Russian Federation had established human rights institutions and consultative bodies that focused on areas including religious minorities. She underlined the importance of implementing measures to solve issues, at regional levels and in cooperation with other relevant bodies.

RONALD WAROMI, of the West Papua Interest Association, said that it had been over 54 years since Netherlands New Guinea or West Papua had joined with Indonesia, a political process that was still being questioned by West Papua indigenous peoples. In April, the Governor of the Papua province had expressed concern about the large number of deaths due to alcoholism in that community. The West Papua indigenous peoples continued to suffer discrimination, marginalization, and extreme poverty, as well as ongoing systematic genocide, with their race and way of life under threat of extinction, he said.

MAY-ELIN STENER (Norway), speaking for the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden), drew attention to the particular challenges faced by women indigenous human rights defenders who often had to overcome multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination linked to their gender and their indigenous identity. The Sustainable Development Goals would not be achieved unless indigenous peoples were allowed to assume their rightful place in society. Bearing in mind the revised mandate of the Expert Mechanism, she emphasized the need for concrete action to provide effective protection for indigenous human rights defenders.

BINOTA MOY DHAMAI, Asia Caucus, said a lack of recognition, protection and respect for indigenous peoples' rights was at the root of reprisals against indigenous human rights defenders. Legitimate and peaceful struggles for self-determination were often wrongly characterized as terrorism or secessionism. The Special Rapporteur and the Expert Mechanism should study the issues that contributed to high risks and reprisals against indigenous human rights defenders. Meanwhile, the Permanent Forum should call on development and human rights support agencies to provide funds and resources to help human rights defenders, their families and communities. In addition, she said, Governments in Asia must be urged to stop the militarization of indigenous territories and to engage indigenous peoples in meaningful dialogue.

TOVE S. GANT, European Union delegation, said that the Union's guidelines on human rights defenders specifically mentioned indigenous human rights defenders, who faced a disproportionate share of targeted attacks and killings. Urgent grants provided by the Union to defenders were often used to provide support, emergency relief, trial and prison monitoring. At present, the Union had provided grants to 150 human rights defenders. Commending the work of the Special Rapporteur and other mandate holders in ensuring international attention on the issue, she asked the Rapporteur what could be done to improve the protection of indigenous human rights defenders from violent attacks and killings.

ANTONIA GAVILIEVA, Telke, said that despite numerous protests, the Russian Federation Government's legislation had facilitated parcels of her people's land to be given away. Another danger stemmed from removing status of specially protected natural areas that had been approved by municipal deputies. The Alrosa diamond mining corporation had been involved in a complaint, which must be investigated, she said, demanding that such companies respected the rights of indigenous peoples and ecological standards.

JAZMIN ALFARO, United Confederation of Taino People, said in many cases, murders of human rights defenders had been preceded by threats and smear campaigns, particularly in terms of development projects. Judicial harassment and political persecution in land-grab cases in Cameroon and in the Russian Federation were among examples of such intimidation. Other defenders had been killed protecting land from corporations. She called for the Expert Mechanism to ramp up efforts and for the Permanent Forum to create a database, including those who had lost their lives defending land.

RAWIRI TANONUI, Massey University, said the exact number of human rights defenders that had been killed was unknown. Challenges remained among existing protections, including that the Declaration was insufficiently recognized. As development increased, the problem was getting worse, with twice as many killings in current times than a decade ago. He called for the creation of a single inter-agency study on deaths of indigenous human rights defenders, using data from United Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations covering a 10-year period.

DIEGO SAAVEDRA, Coordinadora de Organizaciones Indigenas de la Cuenca Amazonica, said that in order to strengthen the agenda of indigenous human rights defenders, it was necessary to set up a mechanism which would provide first-hand information on the most significant cases of human rights violations. Calling for transparency and information, he said that the gathering of information must be standardized.

Mr. MAHDI, Ogaden Peoples Rights Organization, said that the Government of Ethiopia uses punitive legislation to suppress indigenous human rights defenders. Even international journalists had been detained for raising the question of human rights in general and indigenous human rights in particular. The rampant abuse against indigenous peoples in Ethiopia was well documented by international organizations, but the lack of follow-up had emboldened that country's Government. Indigenous people were also being evicted from their lands to allow for dams and agribusiness.

MANARI USHIGUA, Nacionalidad Sapara del Ecuador, said that the Ecuadorian Government had signed an agreement assigning a Chinese company certain territories for oil exploration. Asking for the immediate withdrawal of that company, and calling on the United Nations to prevent the genocide of the Sapara Nation, as well as all beings in our territory, he added, we do not want to disappear. The indigenous way of life was an important contribution to humanity and, without indigenous peoples, that vision would disappear forever.

JOCELYN CARINO NETTLETON, Forest Peoples Programme, said that, given the longstanding problems faced by indigenous peoples, it was urgent for the United Nations mechanisms on the rights of indigenous peoples to collaborate together in protecting those human rights. The Permanent Forum must convene an expert meeting to explore the options for United Nations action. Furthermore, international financial institutions and other donors must apply the strongest safeguards in financing conservation programmes, including climate change mitigation actions.

RONALD WAROMI, West Papua Liberation Organization, said that the United Nations had forgotten his people. In 1962, an agreement had been signed at Headquarters transferring West Papua to Indonesia. That transfer of administration broke our country, he said.

JANENE YAZZIE, International Indian Treaty Council, said some States had labelled rights defenders as terrorists or common criminals, including Mr. Peltier, Bumpy Kanahele and others who had been wrongly imprisoned. Of equal concern was the legalization of crowd-control weaponry against peaceful demonstrators, including chemical weapons such as tear gas and pepper gas, both of which had been outlawed for use in international conflicts. Those weapons had resulted in the injury and maiming of unarmed water protectors in the United States at a time when several states within that country were considering legislation to further criminalize peaceful resistance. This must stop, she implored.

THIN YU MON, Chin Human Rights Organization, said grass-roots rights defenders were comprised mostly of women and youth. However, young rights defenders were increasingly being threatened due to impunity enjoyed by perpetrators of violations against human rights defenders. Sharing that in Myanmar, a mine-related protestor had been killed, she described the promotion of the protestors' rights as far from adequate. The Permanent Forum should call for donors to support human rights defenders through assisting in legal costs.

TARCILA RIVERA ZEA, Permanent Forum member from Peru, said recommendations over the past years had reflected a sustained concern over how the lives of indigenous peoples were being affected. There was an added danger for women human rights defenders, she said, emphasizing the need to pay special attention to their needs.

RABAH ARKAM, Congres Mondiale Amazigh (CMA), said his people were still suffering from land grabs taking place in Morocco. Indigenous peoples had protested the inhumane conditions in which they live. The Government of Morocco had delayed draft laws that would recognize the Amazigh people. Respect for customs should be part of the process of a constructive dialogue to address those and other pressing concerns.

WILLIAM PATRICK KINCAID, International Native Traditional Interchange, said great concern surrounded the Dakota pipeline project that was violating human rights. All natural resources on land that was collectively owned by indigenous peoples belonged to them. Citing a number of legal provisions, he said the United States must uphold indigenous peoples' rights. The United Nations report on the pipeline only addressed the concerns of the colonial Powers.

GAYANA YUKDEL, Crimean Tatar Mejlis representing the Indigenous Crimean Tatars of Crimea, Ukraine, called on the Permanent Forum to insist that the Russian Federation, the occupier of Crimea, complied with international conventions. Just because the Crimean Tatars were silent did not mean they agreed to what had happened, she said. Indigenous leaders had been imprisoned on charges of extremisms, among other things. Human rights defenders were actively trying to defend 23 Crimean Tatars who were unjustly imprisoned, she said.

PANIA NEWTON, Save Our Unique Landscape, said that ever since 1863, when the lands of her people had been confiscated, the New Zealand Government had been perpetrating injustices ranging from land theft to degradation of language and customs. Also condemning the careless greed of corporations, she added that it was important to hold transnational businesses accountable. The New Zealand Government had done nothing to remedy those problems, she said, requesting the Special Rapporteur to investigate the Government's violations.

ANDREW AMBROSE, Pacos Trust, said that indigenous peoples were demanding accountability for the actions of corporate actors and Governments. It was necessary to develop human rights standards for conservation efforts. He called on the United Nations to convene an expert meeting to operationalize the recommendations on impact of conservation measures on indigenous rights. It was also vital to pay attention to the complex issues faced by indigenous human rights and environmental defenders.

CATHRYN EATOCK, Indigenous Peoples' Organization of Australia, said she looked forward to the Special Rapporteur's full report on the visit to Australia and voiced support for the call to include efforts addressing violence against women, and a greater focus on community-led strategies. Refunding the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples was a priority, she said, pledging to work with the Government to advance the development of a national implementation plan on the Declaration.

ANNE NUORGAM, Permanent Forum member from Finland, said corporations and States must respect human rights. Indigenous peoples were entitled to conduct peaceful protests to protect their rights. Other States could offer protection for indigenous peoples by offering shelter, for instance, as was the case with the Netherlands' shelter cities programme. The Sami Parliament had also supported similar efforts involving extractive industries and indigenous communities.

ASHUR SARGON ESKRYA, Assyrian Aid Society, said indigenous peoples in Iraq and the Middle East had faced genocide perpetrated by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da'esh) in Mosul and Nineveh plain. Assyrian Christians had been unable to return to their homes and ongoing instability was threatening indigenous peoples' futures. She called for neutralizing the Nineveh plain region from political tensions, reduce the mass migration by creating jobs there and supporting the preservation and protection of historical sites. She also called for removing radicalism and extremism from curricula and establishing a high commission to include Government agencies from Baghdad and Erbil to research and recommend solutions to address all confiscated land grabs.

CHAPARRO IZQUIERDO, Land Is Life, raised a number of concerns, including marginalization, poverty and climate change threats. Elders had a role to play and more information was needed on making peace with nature.

Mr. MALEZER, Permanent Forum member from Australia, said sensitive issues such as the Dakota pipeline and the situation of treaties presented an opportunity for the Permanent Forum to examine the case. Welcoming the United States to be part of the discussion, he wondered if a path could be found to ameliorate the situation. Mentioning situations in Indonesia, he said the delegate of that country had not yet spoken at the Permanent Forum today. He expressed hope that Indonesia's representative would join the closed dialogues with States to be held 2 May and a suitable solution could be identified.

ELIFURAHA LALTAIKA, Permanent Forum member from the United Republic of Tanzania, said Africa was a hotspot for energy generation, adding that he would work to ensure indigenous peoples' rights in that regard.

VARVARA KORKINA, Tribal Link, raised concerns about the indigenous members of various bodies representing the Russian Federation. She urged the Permanent Forum to listen to indigenous peoples in the region.

RADINE AMERICAN HARRISON, Foundation for Indigenous Americans of Anasazi Heritage, said her people were human rights defenders that were living under occupation by a political nation State. The United States was not America; the land belonged to the females of the land. She opposed the destruction of Earth by pollution or extracting minerals.

Ms. TAULI-CORPUZ said it was important for indigenous peoples to have access to justice. In that regard, she urged the diplomatic community to remedy that situation, particularly in situations of incarceration.

Mr. BARUME, acknowledging that some States had never engaged in a dialogue with indigenous peoples, noted that speakers had called for the Expert Mechanism to examine ways to facilitate improving severely strained relationships. Regional-level relationships must also be bolstered, he said, adding his support for recommendations that had been put forward today.

Source: United Nations