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Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People

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    Caroline
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    United Nations proclaims Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People

    Press Release from Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC)

    On 20 December 2004, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People. The Decade will commence on 1 January 2005.

    The second Decade comes after the end, on 10 December 2004, of the first International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People.

    In proclaiming the Second Decade, the General Assembly noted the following:

    – The achievements of the first Decade, including the establishment of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the contributions made by the Permanent Forum, the Working Group on Indigenous Populations and the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous people;

    – The deep concern expressed by the Commission on Human Rights about the precarious economic and social situation that Indigenous people continue to endure in many parts of the world in comparison to the overall population and the persistence of grave violations of their human rights, and the urgent need to recognize, promote and protect more effectively their rights and freedoms;

    – Progress made in the recent rounds of negotiations of the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People; and

    – The importance of consultation and cooperation with Indigenous people in planning and implementing the programme of activities for the Decade, and the need for adequate financial support from the international community.

    The goal of the Second Decade is the further strengthening of international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by Indigenous people in such areas as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment and social and economic development, by means of action-oriented programmes and specific projects, increased technical assistance and relevant standard-setting activities.

    In fulfilling the goal of the Second Decade the General Assembly:

    – Appointed the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs based in New York as the Coordinator for the Second Decade;

    – Invites governments to ensure that activities and objectives for the Second Decade are planned and implemented on the basis of full consultation and collaboration with Indigenous people , including an exploration of the ways in which Indigenous perspectives and activities can be included or enhanced;

    – Appeals to relevant organizations of the United Nations system to increase their efforts to take into special account the needs of Indigenous people in their budgeting and in their programming;

    – Requests the Secretary-General to establish a voluntary fund for the Second Decade as a successor of the First Decade’s Voluntary Fund and urges governments, non-government, inter-governmental organisations and individuals to contribute to this fund;

    – Calls for the continued observance of the International Day of Indigenous People (on 9 August each year);

    – Urges all parties involved in the process of negotiation to do their utmost to successfully accomplish the mandate of the open-ended intersessional working group and to present for adoption as soon as possible a final draft United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and

    – Requests the Secretary-General to give all the assistance necessary to ensure the success of the Second Decade, as well as submit a report to the General Assembly at its sixtieth session on a comprehensive programme of action for the Second Decade based on the achievements of the first Decade.

    The First International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People – A summary

    The first Decade ran from 10 December 1994 to 9 December 2004. The theme for the first Decade was ‘Indigenous people: partnership in action’. In announcing the first Decade, the General Assembly set the following five objectives for the Decade:

    1) International cooperation;
    2) Education;
    3) Recognition and protection of indigenous rights;
    4) Implementing recommendations on indigenous peoples; and
    5) Adoption of international standards on indigenous rights, including the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    The first Decade was coordinated by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. The Decade saw the following achievements:

    – Creation of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues;
    – Appointment of a Special Rapporteur for Indigenous issues;
    – Creation of a voluntary fund to assist Indigenous participation in UN fora; and
    – Development of an Indigenous Fellowship program.

    For further information regarding the first Decade please refer to Chapter 6 of the Social Justice Report 2002 which can be downloaded from

    + http://www.humanrights.gov.au/social_justice/sjreport_02/chapter6.html.

    Information can also be obtained from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at

    + http://www.ohchr.org/english/issues/indigenous/decade.htm

    Source: HREOC

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