Métis Nation participates in OAS General Assembly

The OAS General Assembly which is composed of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the Americas meets annually at locations decided by the previous assembly. Last year’s assembly was in Bolivia, and next year’s will be in Paraguay, June 3-5, 2014.

Canada was represented by the Hon. Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State for the Americas, who has also attended the previous two, as well as the Summit of the Americas last year in Colombia.

The turnout of Indigenous peoples/governments/organizations was again very low, with only the Métis National Council attending, along with an Indian representative of a community foundation from Guatemala.

At the informal meeting on June 3rd between Secretary General Insulza and Civil Society, President Chartier was able to tell him that Indigenous leaders at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York asked him to convey their concern that there was no meeting(s) on the draft Inter-American declaration on the rights of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, and that there was a desire to have one soon. In response, the Secretary General stated that it was because of the lack of funds, and that there would be efforts made to re-engage in the process.

See the attached resolution passed at the GA which calls for such sessions, but also the reference at the end which makes the implementation of the resolution subject to fiscal resources being available. A similar one was passed at last year’s general assembly.

As there were only two Indigenous representatives including President Chartier, they did not get a chance to make an intervention to the General Assembly itself, as they did in the past few GAs. As a consequence, the Indigenous voice was not heard.

Minister Ablonczy and President Chartier at the OAS GA

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