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OAS General Secretariat Statement on Participation in Event to Commemorate Indigenous Peoples Week

  August 7, 2020

In response to information disseminated today through social and other media platforms, the Office of the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) wishes to clarify statements regarding the participation of Indigenous speakers at today’s regular meeting of the Permanent Council in which the Inter-American Week for Indigenous Peoples was celebrated.

Contrary to assertions publicly made, the Ambassador of Brazil to the OAS, Fernando Simas Magalhaes, did not block or suppress the participation of the representative of the Coordination of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COAIB).

Events such as the Inter-American Week for Indigenous Peoples are always organized in close collaboration between the OAS General Secretariat, the member states, and our partners from civil society. The organization of this particular event was deeply affected by the challenges and constraints brought about by the current pandemic. Under the circumstances, there was not enough time to complete said consultations, and the meeting proceeded without the participation of a representative of the Indigenous Peoples.

Under the unintended circumstances, apologies are extended to the indigenous communities, and the Office of the Assistant Secretary General pledges to ensure a closer collaboration with them and their participation in the staging of these kinds of events in the future.

The OAS reiterates its commitment to the continued promotion of and advocacy on behalf of the rights of indigenous peoples across the Americas, particularly in these difficult times of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reference: E-084/20