OPENS MEETING TO LOOK AT RIGHTS FOR
HEMISPHERE'S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
special voluntary fund to facilitate indigenous peoples' input in
crafting a hemispheric Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
has moved one step closer to becoming reality.
the inauguration of a special meeting at the Organization of American
States (OAS) in Washington on Monday Peru's Ambassador, Eduardo Ferrero
Costa, announced that he had submitted a draft resolution to establish
the special fund to the OAS Working Group mandated to prepare the draft
The Peruvian diplomat chairs that Working Group, which also
organized this weeklong meeting.
said the Working Group hopes to give the OAS Permanent Council a
"consensus document" as soon as possible, containing proposals
emerging from the last meeting of the Working Group, along with any
others submitted by representatives of indigenous groups.
aim is to establish a permanent and secure system affording broad and
representative participation by representatives of indigenous peoples in
the deliberations toward adoption of the Draft Declaration,"
declared Ambassador Ferrero Costa.
He thanked the governments of Canada, Finland and the United
States for their "genuine commitment to the indigenous cause"
as well as their generous financial contributions that have helped to
bring more than 50 representatives of indigenous peoples from around the
Hemisphere to this week's gathering.
Assistant Secretary General Luigi Einaudi welcomed the delegates,
recalling how in the
late 1930s the governments of the Americas at the Eighth
International Conference in Lima undertook to comprehensively uplift the
standard of living of the Hemisphere's indigenous groups.
"The action immediately following this was the creation of
the Inter-American Indian Institute, arising from the First Indian
Congress, held in Mexico," Ambassador Einaudi added.
went on to state:
"We are convinced that, taking a quiet and progressive
approach, the approval of the American Declaration on the Rights of
Indigenous Peoples will be the finest demonstration that a stronger
democracy is now in place in the Americas, fostering better relations
between the state and indigenous peoples."
for the indigenous groups represented at the meeting, Lourdes Tibán
Guala, Vice President of the Ecuador-based Indigenous and Peasant
Movement of Cotopaxi, applauded the initiative of the proposed
"This represents for us as well as the member states a
historic and urgent moral commitment for those who traditionally have
message was sent by Peru's First Lady, Eliane Karp de Toledo, stressing
Peru's commitment to defend its poor and to accord full constitutional
recognition to the rights of its own indigenous peoples.
This, she said, was reaffirmed when Peru joined other Andean
nations in signing the Macchu Picchu Declaration on July 29, 2001.