Posted: January 04, 2008
by: Gale Courey Toensing / Indian Country Today
GENEVA - The adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the U.N. General Assembly last September was hailed as a historic political and moral victory for the world's 370 million indigenous peoples. Now that victory will be backed up with some practical clout to implement the declaration's principles of self-government, protection of cultural identities and control over traditional lands and territories.
On Dec. 13, the U.N. Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a resolution to establish the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The expert mechanism will report directly to the council as a subsidiary body that will ''assist the Human Rights Council in the implementation of its mandate.'' The body will consist of five independent experts selected according to U.N. criteria.
The resolution creating the expert mechanism ''strongly recommends'' the inclusion of indigenous experts. Members of the group will provide thematic expertise and make proposals and recommendations directly to the council regarding the rights of indigenous peoples.
Draft Reso;ution is at http://www.docip.org/anglais/NewMechanismL42Rev1FINAL.pdf