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36th Session of the Human Rights Council: Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples

20 Sep 2017

STATEMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LAW ORGANIZATION

36th Session of the Human Rights Council: Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples

September 20, 2017

Geneva, Switzerland

Delivered by Hector Guerra, Office of the Permanent Observer to the United Nations and other International Organizations, IDLO

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Madam/Mr. Chair,

The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration remains the cornerstone of our collective efforts to recognize, promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples, who remain among the most disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.

Indigenous peoples are rarely heard in processes and decisions that concern them directly. Yet, if the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its commitment to leave no one behind are to be achieved, it is essential that they are consulted in, and benefit from development processes. SDG 16 recognizes that effective, inclusive institutions, access to justice and the rule of law are fundamental to creating sustainable development and peace. The promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples requires robust justice institutions that can enforce laws that protect their lands and rights, and eliminate discriminatory laws that result in inequality. 

This is especially evident when it comes to the impact of climate change on indigenous peoples’ rights. Indigenous people continue to be disproportionately vulnerable to climate change; they suffer from the worst impacts of climate change despite having contributed to it the least.

IDLO works to promote the rights of indigenous peoples, including by designing rule-of-law based solutions to enhance indigenous peoples’ access to justice.

  • In Indonesia, IDLO has helped to strengthen the capacity of district and provincial governments, civil society organizations and indigenous people for accountable and participatory law making and law enforcement in relation to natural resource management.
  • In Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, IDLO has researched the way national legal and institutional frameworks create incentives for sustainable investment and land use.
  • In Peru, IDLO has promoted intercultural justice by working to increase indigenous peoples’ awareness of their rights and legal options, and to improve the capacity of indigenous leaders and legal personnel to address issues of concern, such as land-related conflicts.
  • In Central America, where the rights of indigenous peoples need to be protected as countries transition towards green economies, IDLO has made specific recommendations to help authorities strengthen their legal and institutional responses and reduce the potential for land-related conflict in rural areas. This includes promoting the involvement of indigenous peoples in decision-making, the integration of their traditional knowledge into development policies, and supporting the advancement of human rights-based agricultural policies in legislation and regulations.

Madam Special Rapporteur,

IDLO strongly agrees that measures must be adopted to expand and deepen participation by indigenous peoples in the implementation of sustainable development programs.

In closing, as part of this interactive dialogue we would like to ask: What processes are in place for the sharing of good and promising practices in this regard? How can we ensure an interactive exchange between various stakeholders, including, most importantly, indigenous peoples themselves?

IDLO, as the only intergovernmental organization exclusively devoted to the promotion of the rule of law, stands ready to continue to support the important work of the Special Rapporteur.

Thank you

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The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) enables governments and empowers people to reform laws and strengthen institutions to promote peace, justice, sustainable development and economic opportunity.