Media Center

Press Release


  March 16, 2006

Representatives of the member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) and of indigenous peoples and organizations will meet March 21-25 in Brasilia, Brazil, to continue negotiations on the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

OAS Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin will open the Seventh Meeting of Negotiations in the Quest for Points of Consensus of the Working Group to Prepare the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, together with Brazil’s Minister of Justice, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, and Ambassador Antônio Patriota, Assistant Secretary of Foreign Affairs.

The Chair of the Working Group, Ambassador Juan León, Alternate Representative of Guatemala to the OAS and member of the Maya K’iche indigenous community, said he expected that the Brasilia meeting would complete the overall review of the Working Group Chair’s consolidated text, issued in June 2003, and would begin the final cycle of cleaning up bracketed or footnoted texts that have remained pending. León said this seventh meeting would address such complex topics such as autonomy and self-governance, as well as lands and territories.

In a resolution adopted on February 10, the Permanent Council accepted the Brazilian government’s offer, issued through its representative to the OAS, Ambassador Osmar Chohfi, to host the March meeting. This is the Working Group’s second meeting away from the Organization’s Washington, D.C., headquarters. The first was held last October in Antigua Guatemala.

The Brasilia meeting will be held in keeping with the resolution adopted in June 2005 by the OAS General Assembly in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in which the foreign ministers of the Americas asked the Permanent Council to give increased emphasis to the holding of negotiation meetings, with a view to the prompt adoption of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

A Caucus of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas will also be held in Brasilia, from March 18 to 20.

Reference: E-062/06