Apr 20, 2010

UNPO Members at UNPFII 2010

Starting on 19 April 2010, The Ninth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) held in New York is offering indigenous peoples the opportunity to highlight issues on the topic of ‘development with culture and identity.’  A vast array of UNPO members will be in attendance including representatives from the Ahwazi Arabs, Crimean Tartars, Maasai, Khmer Krom and Degar-Montagnards.

Despite cultural differences, indigenous peoples around the world share similar challenges in asserting their rights as distinct peoples with unique needs. This was a fundamental motivation for the establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous peoples which held its first meeting in May 2002. The UNPFII is  an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council which meets annually for two weeks in New York to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. Focusing on articles 3 and 32 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the 2010 meeting will explore how the rights to development is often denied as indigenous people face historical injustices, discrimination, marginalization, and dispossession from their lands and resources.

As part of the UNPFII, UNPO is facilitating a side event on Wednesday 21st April entitled ‘Water Politics: Impacts on disenfranchised communities’ which will illustrate how the control of water in light of water scarcity, power relations and historical circumstances has in some cases become a political tool which impounds the oppression experienced by UNPO members. From the construction of dams and diversion of rivers - to the management of ports and access to fishing rights; access to water is a pressing issue for many indigenous populations.  This event intends to highlight the significance of ensuring the voices of the marginalized are not drowned out in discussions about the management of the world's most precious resource.