If the most important part of any United Nations world conference or high level plenary meeting is the Outcome Document, then states were the beneficiaries of the document adopted at the High Level Plenary Meeting to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples WCIP held recently in New York.The conference was held for states to form an agreement on implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples UNDRIP. That the two-day conference was needed now – after the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on September 13, 2007 – speaks to the unhurried approach states have taken to advance the human rights of the world’s 379 million Indigenous Peoples.The Outcome Document OD was prepared prior to the WCIP and adopted by the UN member states without a vote on Monday, September 22. The OD reaffirms states’ commitment to support the Declaration and promises to consult and cooperate with Indigenous Peoples and obtain their free, prior and informed consent FPIC before doing anything affecting their lands and resources. The document also commits states “to empower” Indigenous Peoples, to improve access to “appropriate” education, health and economic development and to make the elimination of violence against Indigenous Peoples, especially against women, a priority.Essentially, the OD commits states to implement the human rights they committed to in adopting the Declaration seven years ago.Indigenous Peoples did not participate in writing the final OD, other than their input during the preparation process, ICTMN columnist Dina Gilio-Whitaker said. “The WCIP Outcome Document, as expected, makes no revolutionary new commitments to elevate the political status of Indigenous Peoples in the UN.”RELATED: What Did Indigenous Peoples Get Out of the World Conference?Gilio-Whittaker noted that the International Indian Treaty Council issued a statement appreciating the states’ commitment to strengthen efforts toward the repatriation of cultural and ceremonial items and human remains and acknowledged sections of the document that encourage states to incorporate UNDRIP more fully with their human rights obligations.But the Treaty Councils statement also expressed “regret that the final WCIP Outcome Document did not include a specific reference to the development of an international oversight mechanism for the observance of Treaties, Agreements and other Constructive “Arrangements” as recommended in the Alta Outcome document. The Alta Document was created as a roadmap for the WCIP by representatives of Indigenous Peoples from all of the worlds global geo-political regions at the Global Indigenous Preparatory Conference in Alta, Norway in June 2013.“Additionally, the Document was adopted with reservations by the Holy See objecting to a clause guaranteeing reproductive rights and Canada who objects to the concept of ‘free, prior, and informed consent’,” Gilio-Whitaker said. “Reservations” means that states’ governments opt out of those clauses to which it objects, and it’s possible that more governments will formally register written reservations, she said.
Jorge Barrera APTN National News. Ottawa didn’t think much of the high-profile UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ outcome document and quietly posted an official statement outlining its displeasure in a back corner of its website.The statement is posted under Foreign Affairs’ website for the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations. It’s not easy to find on the website as it’s not highlighted on the front page. It can be found first by clicking through a section on “Canadian Statements” and then the section subtitled “Statements on Human Rights.” The statement also did not make it onto Canada’s UN mission’s Twitter stream.The Assembly of First Nations’ website, however, posted Canada’s statement under “Latest News.”The first ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples ran over two days and ended Tuesday.Canada rejected the conference’s outcome document because it gave Indigenous people too much power over development on their territories. In particular, Canadian diplomats rejected the conference document’s position on “free prior and informed consent,” which is one of the key aspects of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.“Free, prior and informed consent…could be interpreted as providing a veto to Aboriginal groups and in that regard, cannot be reconciled with Canadian law, as it exists,” said Canada’s official statement. “Agreeing…would commit Canada to work to integrate free, prior and informed consent in its processes with respect to implementing legislative or administrative measures affecting Aboriginal peoples. This would run counter to Canada’s constitution, and if implemented, would risk fettering Parliamentary supremacy.”