Joint Nordic Statement at the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues

Last updated: 5/21/2014 // Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Statement held by Monika Thowsen (Norway) on Tuesday, 20th May 2014

Madame Chair,

I have the honour to address the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark with Greenland, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, and my own country Norway.

The Nordic countries are firm supporters of the rights of indigenous peoples as an integral part of our efforts to promote free, democratic societies based on the rule of law and equal rights for all.

We welcome the work of the three UN mechanisms for the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples: The Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. These mechanisms are complementary, and as these sessions today are relevant to the three mechanisms on indigenous peoples’ issues, we would like to emphasise that we appreciate efforts of coordination and cooperation between the three mechanisms in order to create synergies and avoid duplication.

As this is the last opportunity to interact with the Special Rapporteur Professor James Anaya in the Permanent Forum, we wish to express our sincere gratitude to Professor Anaya for his exceptionally good work during his period as a mandate holder. We thank him for his efficient and constructive approach, personal commitment and valuable contributions. We note with appreciation the focus the Special Rapporteur has held on promoting and sharing of good practices as examples of inspiration for States, and his support to legislative work at country level.

Over the years, an impressive number of thematic studies and country specific reports on indigenous peoples has been produced, not only by the Special Rapporteur, but also by the expert members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Together, these reports constitute a substantial body of relevant topics regarding different aspects of promoting the rights of indigenous peoples, and they contain many relevant recommendations to States and other stakeholders. They must not be forgotten and should be used actively for the benefit of all stakeholders.

We have also followed with great interest, and welcomed the reports by the Special Rapporteur dedicated to the study on aspects of extractive industries and indigenous peoples. We want to express our appreciation for the good example the Special Rapporteur has shown in building his thematic work in a logical and consequent way. By focusing on this important and complex topic over several years, he has brought in new aspects and given us important recommendations.

We would like to pose the following question to the Special Rapporteur:

It has been suggested that the General Assembly should establish a position of a high-level official for indigenous peoples with the aim to strengthen the United Nations capacity and efforts towards ensuring the full realization of the rights of indigenous peoples and to ensure that these rights are taken into account in all activities of the UN. We would be interested in hearing your views on this idea, given the fact that we already have three competent mechanisms.

Madame Chair,

The Nordic countries remain strongly committed to improving the lives and enhancing the rights of indigenous peoples, not only in our own countries, but world-wide by promoting the implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and by continuing our support to the mandates and mechanisms set in place in the UN system to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples. The World Conference to take place later this year will bring a new momentum and even stronger commitment.

On that note, we also take this opportunity to congratulate Vicky Tauli-Corpus on the recent appointment as the next Special Rapporteur. We look forward to cooperating with her in the years to come.

In conclusion, the Nordic countries reiterate our appreciation and support for the work done by States, regional organizations and the different UN Mechanisms in advancing indigenous peoples' rights.

I thank you, Madame Chair.

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