Eduardo Ferrero Costa
Permanent Representative of Peru
to the OAS
Chair of the Indigenous Caucus
Organization of American States
OAS OPENS ROUND OF NEGOTIATIONS ON
AMERICAN DECLARATION ON RIGHTS
OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
November 10, 2003
Assistant Secretary Luigi Einaudi today opened a round of negotiations at
Organization of American States (OAS) Headquarters, underscoring important
progress he said has been made in drafting an American Declaration on the Rights
of Indigenous Peoples. Representatives of indigenous peoples from more than 20
countries are participating in the gathering, convened by the OAS Permanent
Council¹s working group that is preparing the draft American Declaration.
Welcoming delegates after a ceremonial invocation by a Native American leader,
the Assistant Secretary General noted that indigenous leaders and organizations
are finding the OAS increasingly a forum where they can present their issues and
take part in discussion and analysis while learning more about the realities of
other indigenous peoples in the Americas.
He cited as another example of progress the joint effort towards new conceptions
or legal definitions to deal with outmoded concepts. Einaudi said, We have seen
how such concepts as the nature of ownership of indigenous lands or the concept
of self determination were discussed and reviewed, with new and creative
proposals introduced into the discussion‹providing platforms for agreement, to
allay fears or misunderstanding.
For his part, Héctor Huertas, of the Cuna People of Panama, stressed the need
for the search for consensus to include as well that between indigenous peoples
and states. He stressed that for this to occur, the full and active
participation of indigenous peoples is crucial at every step of the process.
Noting the aim of rights recognized in the Declaration is to help usher in a new
era in relations between indigenous peoples and the state, Huertas suggested
that each member state submit a report to the Working Group before of the next
meeting, detailing steps taken to engage in national consultations with
Meanwhile, the Working Group Chairman, Peru¹s Ambassador to the OAS Eduardo
Ferrero Costa, hailed the round of negotiations to seek consensus on the
Declaration as a unique experience in the history of hemispheric negotiations.
Ambassador Ferrero Costa identified as a special feature of the process the
ongoing, active participation by indigenous peoples.
The Chairman also spoke about steps the Working Group has taken to ensure
effective and continued participation by representatives of indigenous people
and for the process to remain transparent.
During their three-day meeting, the delegates are considering among other issues
the question of cultural identity, organizational and political rights and labor
rights as well as health as included in the Draft American Declaration.
Working Group on Indigenous Peoples
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Fotos: Roberto Ribeiro - OEA
INITIAL MEETING OF NEGOTIATIONS IN THE QUEST FOR POINTS OF CONSENSUS ON THE
The Initial Meeting of Negotiations in the Quest for Points of Consensus
on the American Declaration will be held on November 10 - 12, 2003 at OAS
headquarters in Washington, D.C. The dates have been changed from the original
resolution. Further information will be made available closer to this Special
Pursuant to resolution AG/RES.
1919 (XXXIII-O/03), adopted by the General Assembly in Santiago, Chile, which
reaffirms that the adoption of the American Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples is an OAS priority, the first round of negotiations will
commence in October, 2003. The first meeting in this round will take place on
October 15 -17 at OAS Headquarters, in Washington, D. C., with the participation
of member states and Indigenous experts.
The negotiations in the quest for consensus will begin with the Consolidated
Text put together by Ambassador Eduardo Ferrero Costa, Permanent Representative
of Peru to the OAS, the Chair of the Working Group (GT/DADIN/doc.139/03) and
with consideration of the Draft Declaration presented by the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights (CP/doc.2878/97 corr. 1), as well as the compilation
of the proposals put forward by the member states, the representatives of
indigenous peoples, specialized agencies, and other institutions, which the
General Secretariat will distribute in due course.
In order to ensure appropriate participation by indigenous
peoples and to fulfill the mandates contained in resolution AG/RES. 1919, the
Chair of the Working Group proposes the following participation mechanism for
the start of this first round of negotiations aimed at seeking points of
consensus on the American Declaration.
1. The first meeting in this round will take place on
October 15-17, 2003, at OAS Headquarters, in Washington, D. C., with the
participation of member states and indigenous experts.
2. The representatives of the indigenous peoples in each
member state of the Organization will appoint an indigenous expert to take part
in the aforementioned meeting.
3. The travel and per diem expenses of the indigenous
experts proposed by the indigenous peoples in each country will be defrayed by
the “Specific Fund to Support the Elaboration of the American Declaration,”
following approval by the members of the Selection Board, pursuant to the
provisions of Permanent Council resolution CP/RES. 817 (1319/02) of May 8, 2002.
The per diem will include two days prior to the meeting to allow for
consultations among the indigenous experts.
4.The meeting’s sessions will be public and will acknowledge
the right of indigenous experts to express their views on each of the articles
in the Draft American Declaration, in accordance with the established schedule
for these meetings.
5. The negotiations in the quest for consensus will begin
with the consolidated text put together by the Chair of the Working Group
(GT/DADIN/doc.139/03) and with consideration of the Draft Declaration presented
by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CP/doc.2878/97 corr. 1), as
well as the compilation of the proposals put forward by the member states, the
representatives of indigenous peoples, specialized agencies, and other
institutions, which the General Secretariat will distribute in due course.
6. The Working Group will hold a Special Meeting in the last
week of February 2004, with the participation of the representatives of
indigenous peoples in order to continue this process.
Law Resource Center
Working Group 2003
Complete information for Participation
in the first Negotiation Meeting