Human Rights Council holds Dialogue on Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Chief Wilton Littlechild, Chairperson Rapporteur of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, presents his report to the Human Rights Council. 18 September 2013 Geneva, Switzerland Photo # 561161The Human Rights Council this morning started a clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples, James Anaya, and the Chairperson of the Expert Mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples, Wilton Littlechild.  It also concluded its general debate on human rights situations requiring the Council’s attention after hearing from a series of non-governmental organizations.

James Anaya, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, presented his fifth report to the Human Rights Council, which described his activities in promoting good practices, responding to cases of alleged human rights violations, country assessments and thematic studies.  Mr. Anaya also presented his reports on the situation of indigenous peoples in Argentina and in the United States.  The Special Rapporteur had continued to focus on the issue of extractive industries affecting indigenous peoples and said that violence against indigenous women and girls remained a recurring issue.  Despite the positive developments in many places, Mr. Anaya remained concerned about the reality of ongoing struggles and violations of indigenous peoples’ rights throughout the world.

Wilton Littlechild, Chairperson of the Expert Mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples, said that the principal study of the Expert Mechanism for this last year was on the role of languages and culture in the promotion and protection of the rights and identity of indigenous peoples.  The Council was urged to stress the importance of the inclusion of indigenous peoples in all aspects of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, including preparatory meetings, the outcome document, and all Council sessions including this one.  The Expert Mechanism hoped to contribute to a dialogue between United Nations bodies on the common understanding of obligations to indigenous peoples when extractive industries took place in or near indigenous peoples’ lands, territories and resources.

Dalee Sambo Dorough, Representative of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations, said that since its inception the Fund had supported more than 1,450 indigenous people’s representatives to attend United Nations meetings and that without the financial support provided by the Fund it would have been very difficult for indigenous peoples to participate in international human rights processes.  Ms. Dorough stressed that the Fund relied on voluntary contributions and urged governments to support the participation of indigenous peoples in the forthcoming 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and appealed to public and private donors to support the Fund.

The United States and Argentina spoke as concerned countries.  A statement by the National Human Rights Institution of Argentina was also read out.

In the interactive dialogue, countries welcomed the focus of the report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against indigenous women and children and extractive industries.   Speakers mentioned efforts and measures implemented to address the situation of indigenous peoples and noted challenges in this respect.  Also welcomed was the report on the fifth session of the Expert Mechanism on the rights of indigenous people and proposals submitted to the Council.

Speaking in the interactive dialogue were Guatemala, Mexico and the European Union.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Council concluded its general debate on human rights situations requiring its attention, in which the following non-governmental organizations took the floor: Centre for Inquiry, World Environment and Resources Council, Non-Violent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty, France Libertés Fondation Danielle Miterrand, Commission to Study the Organization of Peace, Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale, Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation, International Fellowship of Reconciliation, Liberation, International Buddhist Relief Organization, World Barua Organization, Iranian Elite Research Center, North-South XXI, Indian Council of South America, International Humanist Ethical Union, International Human Rights Association of American Minorities, World Muslim Congress, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights.

Uzbekistan, Cuba, China, Bahrain, Ethiopia, Sudan, Honduras, and Paraguay spoke in a right of reply.

The Council today is holding a full day of meetings from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  During its midday meeting, the Council will hold a panel discussion on indigenous peoples’ access to justice.  It will continue the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on indigenous peoples and the Chairperson of the Expert Mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples at 3 p.m.

General Debate on Human Rights Situations that Require the Council’s Attention

Centre for Inquiry drew attention to the recent bar on the enrolment of female students from 77 university courses in Iran, which breached its obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and was a setback to the advancement towards gender equality.  The Government of Iran was urged to recognise its obligations to the rights of women under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

World Environment and Resources Council drew attention to the human rights situation in Pakistan, where discriminatory laws like blasphemy and Hudood ordinance were used selectively against the religious minorities and liberal Muslims; that had empowered extremist and religious forces in Pakistan.  Pakistan administered Kashmir was another area of concern, where constitutional restraints were used to bar the vast majority of the population from the electoral process and only selective parties were allowed to participate.

Non-Violent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty said it was deeply concerned about the situation of human rights in China.   The killing of innocents for their organs was an attack on the dignity of humankind and the principles of human civilization.  The Human Rights Council had to do all it could to carry out a thorough investigation of this matter, put an end to these practices, and seek punishment for the perpetrators.

France Libertés: Fondation Danielle Miterrand said that the human rights situation in Western Sahara had been long ignored by the Human Rights Council, even though recent developments made it urgent to give it due attention and priority.  The right to freedom of expression and association were denied while conditions of detention were far from complying with international norms.

Commission to Study the Organization of Peace said that Bhutan was made up of several ethnic groups, including Lhotshaompa, living in south Bhutan.  Lhotshaompa suffered from various forms of discrimination.  They could not own the land or settle permanently in the north.

Organisation pour la Communication en Afrique et de Promotion de la Cooperation Economique Internationale said that the situation of the Sahrawi population in Polisario camps was an urgent matter.  They had been under the control of the Polisario for over 30 years and were suffering from torture and death.  Their right to freedom of expression and association was curtailed and the population was beginning to fall into illicit trade and terrorism.

Pasumai Thaayagam Foundation welcomed the Council’s Commission of Inquiry on the situation of human rights in Syria and urged the Council to extend its mandate.  Accountability was a necessary precursor to lasting peace.  Attention was also drawn to the situation in Sri Lanka, and the Council was urged to demand accountability for Sri Lanka’s past and present war crimes and crimes against humanity and to initiate an Independent Commission of Inquiry.

International Fellowship of Reconciliation said that last Wednesday the Swiss Conseil des Etats had approved emergency changes to the Asylum Law, shortcutting the usual procedures.  The urgency had been linked to the avalanche of asylum applications from Eritrea and thus Switzerland sought to exclude precisely those who had escaped from a country whose egregious human rights violations it too had condemned.  International Fellowship of Reconciliation called upon the Swiss Government to reconsider the changes to the Asylum Law.

Liberation said that eight north eastern states of India’s indigenous peoples’ homeland were facing the threat of illegal migrants from alien countries.  The Government of India had on many occasions failed to take appropriate measures to address that issue.  Also, there was no access to affordable quality of education, health care, safe drinking water and proper sanitation for the common people, especially in the rural areas.  The Council had to continue to address these issues.

International Buddhist Relief Organization said that the development projects in India’s north eastern regions caused serious grievances to the indigenous population.  The neglect of the Government of India had endangered the indigenous people.  The regions were suffering from egregious human rights violations and were badly in need of civil society organizations.

World Barua Organization drew the attention of the Council to the situation of the Dalits and minorities in India and strongly demanded the eradication of age-long discrimination against them, particularly in the area of education.  Curriculum needed to be nationally aligned and Dalit children should be admitted to public schools.

Iranian Elite Research Centre recalled that since the beginning of popular protests in Bahrain, more that 30,000 human rights violations had been recorded in the country.  Despite the numerous calls on the Government of this country to respect the human rights of its citizens and political activists, numerous human rights violations were still being committed, including the arrests, torture and rape of women participating in demonstrations.

North-South XXI drew attention to the situation of human rights in Iraq.  The ongoing serious violations could not be allowed to continue without adequate redress for the victims and constituted one of the most serious situations of human rights abuses.  The human face of climate change needed to be brought to the forefront.  No other forum was doing anything and the Council was well-placed to do so, and it was implored to act and name a Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change.

Indian Council of South America said that there was still unresolved concern about the highly contested consultation process in the development of a highway through the Isiboro-Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park in Bolivia.  The Indian Council of South America called on Bolivia to enter into a more inclusive and information dissemination process.  It also urged Peru to provide substantive protection for its territory, natural environment and resources against exploitation.

International Humanist Ethical Union said that the recent German court ruling outlawing non-therapeutic infant male circumcision correctly placed the welfare and the “fundamental rights and freedoms” of vulnerable children above the unrestrained expression of adult beliefs.  The German judgment was both laudable and overdue.   Reflecting obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it should be followed by all Member States.

International Human Rights Association of American Minorities said that a culture of impunity was responsible for thousands of deaths of women and children in Jammu and Kashmir.  Torture was regularly perpetuated on the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and the saga of extra-judicial killings continued unabated.  The draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act provided total impunity to the Indian army and paramilitary forces from prosecution.

World Muslim Congress expressed concern about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, where Indian armed forces and other paramilitary forces enjoyed total impunity by virtue of the draconian laws.  India had routinely ignored the recommendations from the United Nations human rights bodies, including this Council.  The World Muslim Congress was dismayed by the lack of progress by India and the lack of concern by the Council to address this human rights situation.

Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights said that the rights of Tibetans, Mongolians and Uyghurs continued to be violated on a daily basis in China.  Tibetans who protested against mining operations were arrested and killed and nuns and monks were forced to deny their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.  Students protecting for use of Tibetan as a language of instruction were arrested.

International Educational Development reiterated concerns about the torture of Falun Gong practitioners in mental hospitals in China and the continuing evidence that the organs of many practitioners were forcibly harvested.  While the Council would not address any issue in China due to political considerations, International Educational Development urged States to eliminate the market for organs from China and request the Special Rapporteurs on summary executions, on the right to health and on freedom from torture to look into this matter.

Actions Internationale pour la paix et le developpement dans la region des Grands Lacs, warned about the use of human rights for political motives as was done by media supporting the Polisario.  A Spanish television channel had used pictures of the speaker’s family concerning a crime in Casablanca in 2010 and said they were pictures of Sahrawis killed in Al Eyoun recently.  The Belgian justice had found the Spanish television channel guilty of spreading false information on purpose in the interest of the Polisario.

Agence International pour le developpement drew the Council’s attention to the situation in the camps managed by the Polisario front and the lack of respect of fundamental international norms.  Agence International noted that the front which controlled these camps prevented United Nations agencies from providing support to the population.  It was urgent to carry out a census of the population to prevent diversion as there currently was a poor system of distribution within the camps.

Centrist Democratic International said that recent testimonies from some humanitarian organizations told of continuous violations carried out by Polisario militias.  The Polisario also diverted aid and sold it in neighbouring countries.  Centrist Democratic International asked the international community and United Nations bodies to put pressure on the Polisario to respect international law and their obligations, including identifying the needs and carrying out a census of persons in the Polisario camps.

Centre for Environmental and Management Studies spoke of the serious problems faced by Afghan women.  Despite impressive efforts made since 2001 and some significant strides in education, in many ways things remained extremely difficult for them.  The biggest problems faced were education and illiteracy followed by lack of job opportunities and equal rights for women.  These problems were interconnected and had reciprocal effects on each other, making solutions even more difficult.

International Association of Schools of Social Work said that the right to self-determination of indigenous peoples was necessary for the basic rights of man, if due respect was to be granted to all nations and peoples.  Education of all peoples, nations and their citizens was necessary to fulfill those ideals.  It asked for particular attention to be paid to the eradication of extreme poverty and urged all Governments to endorse the Second Guiding Principles to Eradicate Extreme Poverty with an eye towards a stronger Convention to Abolish Extreme Poverty.

Women’s Human Rights International Association closely followed the appalling situation of 3,400 Iranian asylum-seekers in Iraq, including 1,000 women.  They had been attacked twice in Camp Ashraf by Iraqi forces and to prevent further bloodshed they agreed to move to Camp Liberty, near Baghdad airport.  The conditions in this camp were synonymous to those in a detention centre and the situation of prisoners in Camp Liberty was tantamount to that of detainees or prisoners.

United Towns Agency for North-South Cooperation drew the urgent attention of the Council to the increasing talibanization of Baluchistan, which was particularly harsh for women.  Attacks on minorities were on the increase and Hindus were forced to flee their homes.  Deadly terrorist organizations had their training camps in Baluchistan.  This was happening at the same time as the brutal operation by the Pakistani army in towns and villages in Baluchistan.

Democracy Coalition Project said that since the establishment of the mandate on the human rights situation in Iran, the Special Rapporteur had not been allowed entry into the country by Iranian authorities.  Violations and abuses of human rights in Iran continued with full impunity.  Four political prisoners from an Arab minority had been executed earlier this month.  Iran should allow for free and fair elections with international observation.

Right of Reply

Uzbekistan, speaking in a right of reply, responded to statements by the United States and Belgium concerning the human rights situation in Uzbekistan.  These had been politically motivated and prejudiced and flagrantly ignored the achievements in the area of the protection of religious freedom in Uzbekistan.  Uzbekistan noted that former members of the United States Government had made irresponsible statements concerning mosques and Islam; and reiterated concerns about the failure of Belgium to fulfil its obligations under a number of international instruments and United Nations treaty bodies on the areas of discrimination, gender equality, protection of the rights of migrants, and access to education; and its limited response to Special Procedures’ questionnaires.  Uzbekistan was committed to ensuring the rights of its population and devoted to the ideals of human rights in its policies.

Cuba, speaking in a right of reply, responded to the criticism levelled against Cuba by the United States and Sweden in their interventions.  None of these countries were in a position to criticise Cuba at all.  The United States should focus on the human rights violations that it committed in their own territory and other territories.  Cuba called on the United States to put an end to violations in Guantanamo Bay, to put an end to massacres and violence in other countries under the “war on terror”, and to punish terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, who enjoyed impunity in the United States.  Sweden should recall and work towards the elimination of xenophobia.  Cuba reminded Sweden about its participation in CIA secret flights and how its Government representatives had voiced xenophobic and racist comments.

China, speaking in a right of reply, strongly rejected unreasonable attacks by some States and non-governmental organizations on China.  China was a country with many religions and all its citizens, including Tibetans and Uyghurs, fully enjoyed their religious freedoms and rights.  Self-immolation had many causes, including personal ones.  Most of those commenting about the human rights situation in Tibet had never been to Tibet.  Freedom of expression was fully protected by the law in China and no one was detained for expressing their political views.

Bahrain, speaking in a right of reply, expressed disappointed to hear comments about the situation in Bahrain.  The Government had made consistent efforts to implement recommendations by the Investigative Commission and those efforts should not be overlooked.  The judiciary reforms were being carried out in accordance with the internationally accepted norms and courts had provided for a fair trial.  Allegations of torture were taken seriously and any confessions extracted by torture were punishable by law.  Bahrain was very proud of its independent judiciary and believed in the sovereignty of the law and full independence of the courts.

Ethiopia, speaking in a right of reply, noted that the Charities and Societies Proclamation was fulfilling its objectives of creating an environment that was conducive to the free exercise of freedom of expression.  No one in Ethiopia was adversely affected for criticizing the policies of performance of the Government.  Ethiopia’s 2009 law on anti-terrorism was based on best practices around the world and the international obligations on the country.  It protected the rights of people from the threats of terrorism and its sole objective was to fight terrorism in all its forms.

Sudan, speaking in a right of reply, extended its objection to the disrespectful language used by some organizations and requested the Council to ask those organizations to speak in a decent manner when addressing it, as well as to reaffirm the commitment of the Sudanese Government towards the promotion and protection of the rights of everyone living within its boundaries, let alone its own citizens.  Most of what was mentioned in relation to the deterioration of the human rights situation in Sudan was totally untrue and politically motivated.   The efforts of the State to restore peace and apply the rule of law in the country should not be ignored.

Honduras, speaking in a right of reply, said that there were no State policies against human rights in Honduras.  There were challenges and Honduras reaffirmed its determination to investigate violations and speed up the court cases underway.  Honduras had decided to promote a public human rights policy as well as a plan of action consistent with the Vienna Declaration and Plan of Action including a Ministry of Justice and Human Rights as well as the creation within the Ministry of a special unit to investigate human rights violations.  It had also invited the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to open an office in Honduras.

Paraguay, speaking in a right of reply, rejected the claims made by the Centre for Legal and Social Studies and Conectas regarding the human rights situation in Paraguay during their interventions.  There was no persecution or interference with the fundamental freedoms of citizens and mechanisms for appeals and remedy were available as part of the judicial system.  Paraguay reiterated its commitment to international norms and recalled the standing invitations extended to Special Procedures to visit Paraguay.

Documentation

The Council has before it the report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples (A/HRC/21/47); its Addendum 1 – Mission to the United States of America (A/HRC/21/47/Add.1); its Addendum 2 – Mission to Argentina (A/HRC/21/47/Add.2); and its Addendum 3 – Observations on communications (A/HRC/21/47/Add.3).

The Council has before it the report of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on its fifth session (A/HRC/21/52).

The Council has before it the study of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on the role of languages and culture in the promotion and protection of the rights and identity of indigenous peoples (A/HRC/21/53).

The Council has before it the report of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People on the summary of responses from the questionnaire seeking the views of States on best practices regarding possible appropriate measures and implementation strategies in order to attain the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (A/HRC/21/54).

The Council has before it the follow-up report of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples on indigenous peoples and the right to participate in decision-making, with a focus on extractive industries (A/HRC/21/55).

Presentations by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

JAMES ANAYA, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, presented his fifth report to the Human Rights Council, which described his activities in promoting good practices and responding to cases of alleged human rights violations, country assessments and thematic studies.  Mr. Anaya also presented his reports on the situation of indigenous peoples in Argentina and in the United States.  The report from last month’s visit to El Salvador was being drafted and Mr. Anaya would visit Namibia later this week.  Argentina had taken important steps acknowledging the rights of indigenous peoples, including the 1994 Constitution and legislation on land tenancy, and the ratification of ILO Convention No. 169.  Nevertheless, a gap between legal protection and implementation remained and efforts to ensure implementation at federal and local levels were needed as were clear policies and additional administrative measures to improve knowledge across the State.  The indigenous peoples in the United States constituted vibrant communities that had contributed greatly to the life of the country but, at the same time, faced significant challenges related to widespread historical wrongs.  Significant federal programmes had been developed over the last few decades and especially in recent years that constituted good practices because they responded significantly to the indigenous peoples’ concerns; still, they needed to be improved and their execution made more effective.

Turning to his thematic studies, the Special Rapporteur said that he had continued to focus on the issue of extractive industries affecting indigenous peoples.  He noted that violence against indigenous women and girls remained a recurring issue.   Mr. Anaya recalled that the participants in last year’s Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues stressed the need for a holistic approach to combating violence against indigenous women and girls and that the report stressed that implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People should be furthered concurrently with programmes that targeted the problem of violence against women and girls.   Concerning his work on extractive industries, Mr. Anaya noted the often narrow focus on principles of consultation and free, prior and informed consent.  This focus was impeding a full and adequate understanding of the human rights framework that was relevant in this context and a better approach required the examination of the primary substantive rights that may be implicated in natural resource extraction, including rights to property over land and natural resources; the rights to culture, religion and health; and the right to set and pursue their own development priorities, as part of their fundamental right to self-determination.  There was a fundamental problem with the current dominant model of resource extraction in which plans were developed by the corporation, perhaps with some involvement by the State, but with little or no involvement of the affected community or people.  Despite the positive developments in many places, Mr. Anaya remained concerned about the reality of ongoing struggles and violations of indigenous peoples’ rights throughout the world.

WILTON LITTLECHILD, Chairperson of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said that the principal study of the Expert Mechanism for this last year was on the role of languages and culture in the promotion and protection of the rights and identity of indigenous peoples.  On-going challenges faced in the realisation of indigenous peoples’ rights to cultures and languages included assimilationist policies, insufficient recognition of indigenous peoples themselves as well as their rights to lands, territories and resources and a lack of support when they sought to implement initiatives to support their cultures and languages.  The Council was urged to stress the importance of the inclusion of indigenous peoples in all aspects of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, including preparatory meetings, the outcome document, and all Council sessions including this one.  States were surveyed in relation to measures and implementation strategies in order to attain the goals of the Declaration.  Though responses were disappointing overall, the quality of responses received was impressive.  The results of the survey included valuable lessons in the form of practical guidance to assist in all efforts to implement the Declaration.  The Expert Mechanism had endeavoured to provide training materials on its work, available in three languages, and it hoped to build on those training materials in the future.

A change in mind-set by all was essential, from one where indigenous peoples were only viewed as victims of human rights violations.  What often was not reflected was that many were also innovative and resilient communities with the responsibility to implement their own measures to ensure that there rights were respected.  The Expert Mechanism hoped to contribute to a dialogue between United Nations bodies on the common understanding of obligations to indigenous peoples when extractive industries took place in or near indigenous peoples’ lands, territories and resources.   Mexico and Guatemala were especially thanked for their on-going leadership in the development of the resolution on human rights and indigenous peoples, which they managed in an open, transparent, inclusive and constructive fashion.
DALEE SAMBO DOROUGH, Representative of the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations, said that since its inception the Fund had supported more than 1,450 indigenous people’s representatives to attend United Nations meetings and that without the financial support provided by the Fund it would have been very difficult for indigenous peoples to participate in international human rights processes.  Over the past 25 years the Fund had been a catalyst for constructive dialogue between governments, experts and indigenous peoples.  Ms. Dorough reported that in 2012 the Fund had offered 52 grants for indigenous representatives to participate in various international human rights processes, including the twentieth session of the Council.  She stressed that the Fund relied on voluntary contributions and thanked the countries which had made generous contributions to the Fund in 2011 and 2012.  She urged Governments to support the participation of indigenous peoples in the forthcoming 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and appealed to public and private donors to support the Fund.

Statements by Concerned Countries

United States, speaking as a concerned country, said that Native Americans in the United States experienced high rates of poverty, illness, substance abuse, suicide, and incarceration, as well as relatively low levels of education.  The United States was taking steps to alleviate these problems and President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2013 budget allocated $ 19.4 billion for programmes benefiting indigenous communities.  The 2009 American Recovery act provided over $ 3 billion to help tribal communities renovate schools on reservations and the Affordable Care act permanently authorised the Indian Health Care Improving Act, which constituted the cornerstone legal authority for the provision of health care to American Indians and Native Americans.  In 2010 the Tribal Law and Order Act had been passed and gave tribes greater sentencing authority in criminal trials, strengthened criminal defendants’ rights, and established new guidelines and training for officers handling domestic violence and sex crimes, among others.  Indigenous women suffered disproportionate rates of violence and the United States was working with tribes to address this, including through the provision of grants for improving public safety and providing technical assistance to geographically isolated tribal communities.

Argentina, speaking as a concerned country, said that it had launched several legislative reforms that contributed to the regularization of the lands of indigenous peoples in the country.  Since 2003, Argentina had begun an intercultural dialogue with indigenous peoples through the creation of an Indigenous Participation Council.  It had also passed three key laws on national education, on audiovisual media, and on indigenous community property.  The President of Argentina had also created a Directorate for Indigenous Rights.  The executive branch of the Government had sent Congress a bill that would enable indigenous people to enjoy community leadership of their lands.  Much remained to be done but it should also be said that significant efforts had been made to ensure the rights that indigenous peoples were entitled to.

KATHARINA ROSA, International Coordinating Committee Geneva Representative on behalf of Defensor del Pueblo de la Nacion Argentina, said that Argentina had ratified the international instruments for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples.  It was necessary to achieve an appropriate implementation by the institutions which were responsible for enforcing the relevant laws, and drew attention to the issue of land ownership by indigenous communities.  The law was not applied and a lack of coordination between provincial and national law had been reported.  Moreover, minority communities had complained about the activities of extractive industries and police interventions to enforce evictions, and the Ombudsman’s Office had recently intervened to prevent the authorities from evicting indigenous people who claimed ownership to land.  It was important to promote an intercultural approach to public policies, especially in terms of public policy design and assessment.

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Guatemala said that this morning’s reports should be studied by States in order to ensure the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples at the national and international levels.  Guatemala reiterated its appeal for action to be taken on the report of the Secretary-General about increasing the participation of indigenous peoples in the work of the Council.  The identity of indigenous peoples was key to fashioning national identity and the reports presented to the Council could help States to achieve the full implementation of the Declaration.

Mexico said that it welcomed the diversification and growth processes which had been promoted through the resolutions recently adopted by the Council.  Violence against women and indigenous girls and questions pertaining to extractive industries needed to be tackled.  Mexico had fulfilled its international commitments to respect, protect and promote, and guarantee human rights and the rights of women in particular.  Mexico recognized the right of indigenous people to self-determination and their right to preserve the integrity of their land, and it would continue to pay attention to those issues and cooperate with the relevant United Nations mechanisms.

European Union welcomed the focus on violence against indigenous women and girls and on extractive industries.  The European Union remained committed to the promotion and protection of women’s rights and condemned all forms of discrimination as well as violence against women and girls; and gave particular importance to the issue of social responsibility for private sector enterprises.  A new European policy on corporate social responsibility had been adopted, which covered areas such as the improvement of self- and co-regulation, disclosure of company information, and its integration into education, training and research.

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