Photo: MNC President Chartier with Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), and Hugo Tacuri, President of CONAIP, at the OAS General Assembly in Cochabamba, Bolivia
Photo: President Chartier and President Tacuri of CONAIP flank Bolivian President Evo Morales at OAS General Assembly in Cochabamba, Bolivia
To the Organization of American States
June 3, 2012
Good-morning Mr. Chairman, Secretary General Miguel Insulza and Heads of Delegations.
Today we once again bring forward the message from Indigenous peoples, nations, governments and organizations that the time has now come where the Organization of American States must open its doors fully to Indigenous peoples who have the right and obligation to represent their respective peoples, nations, governments and organizations.
This has been re-stated over and over again in the previous Indigenous Summits of the Americas and at other forums. Our ancestors, nations and governments have resided here from time immemorial, long before the arrival of current descendants of those who arrived on our shores several hundred years ago.
While we are citizens in the respective States we live within, we are not merely “Civil Societies” and unequivocally reject the current position of the OAS that we must and can only participate by registering as members of Civil Society.
In some States our respective peoples are recognized as having Indigenous rights to our territory and self-government, including entrenchment of such rights in some State’s Constitutions.
This recognizes that we are not simply regular citizens, but have rights beyond those of the general public since we have our own cultural identity and vision of life that differs from the Western conception. This also must be recognized and accommodated within the OAS.
Further, States must double their efforts to fully engage in the drafting of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This must be reflected both at the negotiating table and in the fiscal support to ensure its conclusion.
We also call upon States to provide fiscal resources to the proposed organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas which we hope to establish within the next two years. This proposed body would be ideally situated to deal with Americas-wide issues and interface with the OAS on a continuous basis on issues which affect Indigenous peoples, as well as those affecting States generally.
We look to you for a positive response and encourage a State or States to take a leadership role and propose the necessary resolution to enable this call by Indigenous peoples to become a reality.
For these reasons, we demand that the General Assembly approve a resolution containing the following points:
First: that progress be made towards approving the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the near future, taking into account the development of these rights in the constitutions and laws of the peoples of the Americas.
Second: that the Declaration include, as both a political and legal concept, the right of Indigenous Peoples to their own conception of life, understood as distinct to the Western conception of development.
Third: that the Commission of Indigenous Peoples considers the adoption of the Social Charter of the Americas to be necessary.
Fourth: that the next General Assembly focus on the central theme of “the right of Indigenous peoples to their own conception of life”.
Fifth: that Indigenous Peoples be given their own spaces within the OAS in order to guarantee their participation in deliberations.
“Towards food sovereignty for Indigenous Peoples.”
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