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Letter to John Ashe, PGA - UN

Letter to John Ashe, PGA - UN

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Appointment of co-facilitators for the process of the high level session of the
General Assembly to be known as World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.
Appointment of co-facilitators for the process of the high level session of the
General Assembly to be known as World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

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Published by: Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú on Feb 03, 2014
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06/01/2014

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H.E. Ambassador John Ashe President of the General Assembly United Nations Headquarters  New York Via email: fullerf@un.org and fax + 1 212 963 3301
Ref.: appointment of co-facilitators for the process of the high level session of the General Assembly to be known as World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
27
th
 January, 2014 Your Excellency, The undersigned organizations appeal to Your Excellency to take the necessary action regarding the appointment of an indigenous co-facilitator, nominated by Indigenous  peoples’ institutions and organizations, to work together with a facilitator nominated by the Member States, for the process remaining towards the high level plenary meeting of the General Assembly, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, to  be held in September, 2014. Such an arrangement was adopted for the facilitation of the discussions regarding the GA resolution 66/L.61, adopted during the 66
th
 session of the General Assembly, and will be conducive to ensuring a successful and widely accepted development and outcome of the high level plenary meeting. In his report A/HRC/21/24 submitted in July, 2012 to the Human Rights Council, the UN Secretary-General, H.E. Ban Ki-Moon describes ways and means to promote the  participation of Indigenous peoples’ representatives at the United Nations. He considers the functional advantages of indigenous participation at the UN stating:
The  participation of indigenous peoples in the United Nations would address, in a practical way, their frequent marginalization and exclusion from decision-making processes on matters that affect them. As mentioned in the introduction to the present report, such  participation is also called for in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of  Indigenous Peoples, as endorsed by the General Assembly [...]. Indigenous peoples are best placed to authoritatively advise on their situation and the most appropriate methods to tackle the challenges that they face. Issues relevant to indigenous peoples are often addressed in general United Nations forums, beyond the bodies specifically  focused on indigenous peoples. The participation of indigenous peoples’ organizations in the United Nations that has been possible to date has facilitated the strengthening of cooperation between States and indigenous peoples in a peaceful and constructive  fashion
(Para 13) And he concludes:
To the extent that it has been permitted to date, indigenous peoples’  participation at the United Nations has been a positive experience. It has enabled indigenous peoples who had been historically excluded to work together peacefully and in partnership with States to advance their issues and rights. It has been a process of mutual trust-building, premised on equality and equity among stakeholders, and has led to fruitful outcomes and greater commitments by indigenous peoples, States and the United Nations system to strengthen recognition and respect for indigenous peoples’
 
rights. It is hoped that this spirit of openness and continuing collaboration with indigenous peoples will be improved by further enhancement of procedures to enable indigenous peoples’ participation in all relevant work of the United Nations, in a way that realizes, respects, promotes and protects their rights under the United Nations  Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other relevant international human rights standards.
(Para 66) Furthermore, resolution 66/L.61 of the General Assembly calls for an inclusive process along the preparation of the high level plenary meeting, including the debate of the outcome document. We believe this could only be ensured with the appointment of an Indigenous co-facilitator for the remaining preparatory phase leading to the World Conference. Indigenous peoples’ organizations have been proactively involved, since the beginning of the process, in the preparations of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Their active and constructive engagement has been demonstrated in their own  preparatory initiatives that have been taken place since the decision by the UN General Assembly in 2010 to organise the high level plenary session to take place in September 2014. These initiatives and their important contribution to the preparatory process have  been encouraged, recognized and commended in several UN resolutions. Furthermore, many Member States have also stated that the full and effective participation of Indigenous peoples is a key issue in a Conference that aims at the realization of the rights of Indigenous peoples, including to pursue the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
 
(A/C.3/65/L.22/Rev.1) Our organizations have for many years worked for the recognition and protection of Indigenous peoples’ rights and we have consistently advocated for the full realisation of their rights as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including their right to participate in decision-making processes on issues that affect them. The undersigned organisations firmly believe that the appointment of an indigenous facilitator is fully in line with previous decisions taken by the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council with regard to the implementation of Indigenous  peoples’ rights. By appointing an indigenous facilitator on an equal basis with a State representative, the UN has an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate its sincere aspiration to fulfil its own commitment to promote, respect and implement the rights of Indigenous peoples. On the basis of the above, we strongly support the request by Indigenous peoples’ organizations for the appointment of an indigenous co-facilitator and their proposal for Mr John Henriksen, international representative of the Sami Parliament in Norway, to fulfil this role. We hope you can favourably consider this request. Yours faithfully, Lola García-Alix

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