May 19, 2015 - URGENT PRESS RELEASE BY THE MEMBERS OF THE INDIGENOUS WORKING GROUP AT THE ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES (OAS)
THE INDIGENOUS CAUCUS OF THE AMERICAS AT THE OAS HAS WITHDRAWN FROM THE NEGOTIATIONS DUE TO THE GOVERNMENTS’ DECEIT AND LACK OF GOODWILL – COLOMBIA, BRAZIL, BELIZE, ECUADOR, ARGENTINA, CHILE AND VENEZUELA – WERE THE MOST HOSTILE GOVERNMENTS OF THE AMERICAS TO INDIGENOUS RIGHTS HAVING UNITED NATIONS STANDARDS, THEY ALL VEHEMENTLY OPPOSED THIS AND WANTED TO SUBJECT INDIGENOUS RIGHTS TO INFERIOR NATIONAL CONSTITUTION RESTRICTIONS…BE CAREFUL WHICH NEO-COLONIAL GOVERNMENT IN DISGUISE YOU SEE AS ‘CHAMPIONS OF THE POOR’….URBAN POOR MAYBE, BUT NOT THE INDIGENOUS POOR!
Distinguished Chairman of the Permanent Council, we the representatives of Indigenous Peoples express our position in regards to the last session of the negotiations of the working group responsible for drafting the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
We regret that some States insist on hindering negotiations, which have been in progress for more than 17 years by introducing, at the last minute, new text designed to make the provisions in the American Declaration ambiguous, taking it below the standards of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
These texts would not have recognized the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as inviolable human rights, which is contrary to international human rights law. The Indigenous Caucus considers this a vile disrespect and bad faith. We will not accept any disposition that limits the human rights of Indigenous Peoples to constitutions, domestic laws and public interest. We will not allow the continued violation of indigenous rights nor permit the destruction of the progress so far achieved in drafting the American Declaration.
The Indigenous Caucus denounces before the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, the Permanent Council and the General Assembly, the sad fact that the conditions for the adoption of an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas are absent at this time. There is no respect, on the part of some states, for the principles of the negotiation process that led Indigenous Peoples to the negotiation of an American Declaration; on the contrary these states seek to weaken it and compromise its standards to a level lower than those of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We ask the Committee on Legal and Political Affairs, the Permanent Council and the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), to take all the necessary measures to guarantee the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples in the discussion and adoption of the American Declaration in a context of respect and equality.
We the Indigenous Peoples will not accept any language that is contrary to the UN Declaration. We Indigenous Peoples reject and denounce the latest text of the American Declaration submitted for discussion and consider it illegitimate.
In view of the above and in recognizing that the necessary conditions for negotiations are absent at this eighteenth session, we the Indigenous Peoples remove ourselves from the negotiating table and will not recognize any text.
A short Video clip taken by Commissioner New Oo of the Indigenous Democracy Defence Organization who attended the OAS session (clip in Spanish) of Hector Huertas of Central America speaking