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UN Adopts WCIP Outcome

Published: September 22, 2014, Author: Rÿser Rudolph C.

With the Holy See and Canada opting out of Article 13 and Article 3 (respectively) the UN High Level Plenary Session of the General Assembly today adopted the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples Outcome Document (Resolution A/69.L.1).

With about 200 indigenous peoples’ observers and states’ delegations attending in limited numbers, the three-hour session heard speeches from the President of the General Assembly Mr. Sam Kutesa, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, Bolivia’s President Evo Morales Ayma, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto and the Presidents of Finland for the Western European Group of states) and President of the Republic of Congo for the African States.

Chief Oren Lyons of the Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs returned to the United Nations podium after fourteen years to deliver to repeat his call for respect of Mother Earth as the essential measure to ensure the future of the next seven generations of people. Chief Lyons was followed by the President of the Sami Parliament Aili Keskitaio and then Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Dr. Sambo issued a powerful call to the United Nations to recognize that though the Outcome Statement for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples is not “law” it “must be interpreted against the backdrop of international law” principles embedded in the language of the document. Indeed, as was the case of the UN Declaration on Human Rights guided into international conciousness by Eleanor Roosevelt. International treaties and other conventions quickly followed to implement the UN Human Rights Declaration–so must such formal treaties follow adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and now the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples Outcome Document.

While the Holy See and Canada add initial blemishes to the significantly compromised though workable WCIP Outcome Document Indigenous nations must now recognize the importance of this moment to strengthen their efforts to engage their sister nations in dialogue as well as the states’ governments.  Now is the time to begin planning and developing an international protocol for both Fourth World governments and UN Member states to enact into law implementing the principles and mandates of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the WCIP Outcome Document Resolution A/69.L.1. A new international protocol must top the list of priorities for the 2015 United Nations Agenda.

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