The First Session of the Permanent Forum
New York 13-23 May 2002-05-14
Istma aitma: azul fllawn(t)
Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of the Permanent Forum, the state
representatives, governmental and non governmental organizations,
Dear sisters and brothers, the representatives of Indigenous peoples,
1) I would like to take the floor on behalf of the IPACC (Indigenous
Peoples African Coordinating Committee,) the World Amazigh Congress, which
contains more than one hundred Amazigh associations (from northwest
Africa, Canary Islands and Amazigh organizations in Europe, United States
and Canada) and also on behalf of Tamaynut (Tamaynut is one of a big
network of Amazigh organizations in Morocco representing Amazigh people),
to congratulate the United Nations and international Indigenous peoples'
movement on the establishment of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
which is for us the first step towards reforming the United Nations'
system and towards opening it up to an effective participation of
Indigenous peoples of the world. I would like to warmly congratulate the
experts elected or appointed by the ECOSOC president in accomplishing this
historic mission and in assuming the responsibility of progress by means
of this Forum which we hope to be the ongoing basis of an international
process to recognize all human rights for Indigenous peoples. Their
dignity, equality, their rights to their cultural and linguistic
identities, their civilization, their land rights, their material and
spiritual wealth, as well as their right to self-determination are well
within the scope of national unity and a democratic Federal system with
democratic constitutions recognizing the Indigenous peoples' languages as
2) We consider that standards of assimilation adopted by the nation-states
on both levels, national and international, which have as their objective
the destruction of the cultural and linguistic identities and the
civilization of Indigenous peoples, have accomplished the "consecration"
of racism and racial discrimination against these peoples nationally and
internationally, and imposed a big prejudice upon humankind and its
diversity which is the richness of our world. The policies based on
assimilation standards have also imposed dictatorial systems in many
regions of the world which are sustained by the other states.
3) We know today that all states of the world have ratified the Convention
on Biodiversity to protect all plants, animals and all kinds of life, and
that this requires a very high degree of awareness and recognition of the
obligation on the part of nations to protect biodiversity. But we would
like to draw attention to the double standards against the rights of
Indigenous peoples. The majority of states do not recognize their rights.
On most occasions, the term Indigenous peoples is bracketed in their
political statements. We are concerned because the majority of states
which helped in the adoption of the ILO Convention 169 in 1989 have not
yet ratified it.
4) We consider that the establishment of the Permanent Forum under the
review of the politics of assimilation standards did not let this instance
be realised as expected by the Indigenous peoples of the world. This idea
is clearly made concrete in its name- Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
(without mention of Indigenous Peoples).
You know that many families of Indigenous peoples are denied the right to
register the names of their children in their own languages (as happens
with the Amazigh peoples in North Africa.)
5) The status of the advisory body of the Permanent Forum does not allow
this process to reform the UN system but I would like to say that it is a
very important step towards influencing the resolution of the UN system
and in making progress towards the elimination of all kinds of
discrimination against Indigenous peoples of the world.
Hassan Idbalkassm 14/5/02