Dialogue Between Nations



Roberto Mucaro Borrero - Taino

With the sound of the conch shell bringing Permanent Forum experts, invited guests, Indigenous delegates, UN agencies representatives and member state officials together, Roberto Mucaro Borrero (Taino) signaled the ceremonial opening of the Second Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at United Nations headquarters in New York. Tadodaho, Chief Sidney Hill, Spiritual leader of the Haudenosaunee, shared a traditional blessing in his language and guest speakers brought messages from their organizations to the Forum.  Angela King, Assistant Secretary-General, Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women delivered the message of UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. Those assembled met this morning to elect its officers and adopt the agenda and organization of work. The theme of this year's session is "Indigenous Children and Youth"

El Foro Permanente de poblaciones indígenas inicia segunda sesión El Foro Permanente de la ONU para las Cuestiones Indígenas - integrado por 16 expertos inauguró hoy su segunda sesión en Nueva York con la participación de más de 500 indígenas de todas las regiones del mundo. Roberto Mucaro Borrero, Taino de Puerto Rico, llamó la reunión al orden. Ole Henrik Magga, líder Saami de Noruega, fue reelecto hoy parapresidir los trabajos del órgano, creado en el año
2000 para asesorar al Consejo Económico y Social de la ONU en materia de educación, desarrollo, derechos humanos, medio ambiente y otros temas que afectan a la población autóctona. Tras asumir la presidencia, Magga pidió un minuto de silencio en homenaje a los indígenas que perdieron la vida durante los últimos 12 meses: "Durante el año pasado, hemos experimentado violencia, degradación y asesinatos. Muchos de nuestros hermanos y hermanas indígenas han perdido la vida, y también la han perdido niños", dijo Magga. En su mensaje al Foro, el Secretario General Kofi Annan pidió que se aceleren los esfuerzos para poner alto a la sistemática discriminación y exclusión que padece la población indígena.

Comunicado de Prensa 

Join us in listening to the Opening Session.
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Second Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous People, to seek solutions to the challenges facing indigenous children and youth.
UN Webcast: Archived Video - Morning Session - 1h 36min


Chief Sidney Hill
Tadodaho Chief Sidney Hill, Spiritual leader of the Haudenosaunee, first opens the meeting with a traditional blessing in his language.

Following the blessing, he noted that 27 years had passed since indigenous leaders went to the United Nations in Geneva seeking support for their treaties as instruments of international law, and viewing the United Nations as a beacon of hope. Since then, with the support of many good leaders, indigenous peoples had made progress. Their realities and existence could not be denied, and the Forum was now a work in progress, with its second session dedicated to the rights of the child.

He stressed that the Forum needed more time and more support from the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and other United Nations bodies. It needed to ratify the draft declaration and recognize the right to self-determination of indigenous peoples. The Forum must become fully involved in standard setting, and must become more focused in its work to produce recommendations. Finally, it needed a substantial budget to support its meetings.
  Heather Milton Lightning, the representative for indigenous youth, reads a statement of behalf of youth representatives from Africa, Asia, South America and the Pacific. There were many problems facing indigenous youth today, she said, including the lack of adequate and culturally appropriate education, and a lack of health care facilities, especially for maternal and child health care.

Furthermore, HIV/AIDS was having a devastating effect on communities, indigenous women were experiencing violence and oppression, and indigenous land was being militarized. Indigenous youth were a vital part of deliberations on all matters in the Forum, she continued, and the indigenous youth representatives called for the establishment of indigenous units within all United Nations agencies.

Sound of the conch closes the traditional ceremony.
Wayne Lord
Wayne Lord
PF Expert
Mr. Wayne Lord, Permanent Forum expert from Canada, announces the election of officers.
Ole Henrik Magga
Ole Henrik Magga
PF Chair
The Chair of the Permanent Forum, Mr. Ole Henrik Magga called for a moment of silence to honour and remember Indigenous sisters, brothers and children who, because of violence, degradation and murder during the past year, are no longer with us.

UN Secretary General
Angela King, Assistant Secretary-General, Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women delivers the message of UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan.

Complete message of the Secretary-General

Bacre Ndiaye, Director of the New York Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, speaks on behalf of Sergio Vieira de Mello, High Commissioner for Human Rights, and says the Forum should fully use the capacity and experience of all United Nations bodies. The Working Group on Indigenous Populations is mandated to undertake activities in human rights-related studies and standard setting, and he encourages the Forum to establish links with the Group for assistance.

  Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Second Session
1st & 2nd Meetings (AM & PM)

Summaries of Opening Session Statements
UN Press Release HR/4659

Summaries adapted from UN Press Release HR/4659


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