UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNFPII)
A most remarkable achievement for indigenous peoples has been the establishment of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (Permanent Forum) in the year 2000. The Forum has 16 members, 8 of them supplied from indigenous nominations, the other 8 from government nominations, which makes it a unique UN body. The Permanent Forum provides expertise and guidance to one of the highest UN bodies, the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). As such it can directly make recommendations on a broad range of issues including human rights, environment, education, health, culture and economic and social development. Under Article 42 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples the Permanent Forum has an additional mandate to promote respect for and full application of the provisions of the Declaration and follow up the effectiveness of this Declaration. Via the Human Rights Fund for Indigenous Peoples (HRFIP), NCIV has also made an important contribution to the establishment of the Permanent Forum and many of the indigenous members of the Forum have been long time partners of NCIV.
Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
On December 13th 2007, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a resolution to establish a new subsidiary body, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The new Expert Mechanism will assist the Human Rights Council in the implementation of its mandate by providing thematic expertise and making proposals to the Council pertaining to the rights of indigenous peoples. The new mechanism consists of 5 independent experts, including indigenous experts who have been long time partners of NCIV. NCIV also sponsored the participation of some key indigenous representatives to lobby for the establishment of this new Mechanism. The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples held its first session from 1 to 3 October 2008 in which it focused the discussion on the implementation of its mandate and the implementation of the right of indigenous peoples to education as was requested by the Human Rights Council. The second session has taken place from 10 to 14 August 2009 and the third session will take place from 12 to 16 July 2010, at the United Nations Office in Geneva. The Expert Mechanism is presently preparing a study on Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Participate in Decision-Making.
United Nations Special Rapporteur
In 2001, the UN appointed Professor Rodolfo Stavenhagen as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People. In 2008 Professor S. James Anaya succeeded Professor Rodolfo Stavenhagen as Special Rapporteur. In the fulfilment of his mandate, the Special Rapporteur: (1) Promotes good practices, including new laws, government programs, and constructive agreements between indigenous peoples and states, to implement international standards concerning the rights of indigenous peoples (2) Reports on the overall human rights situations of indigenous peoples in selected countries; (3) Addresses specific cases of alleged violations of the rights of indigenous peoples through communications with Governments and others (4) Conducts or contributes to thematic studies on topics of special importance regarding the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples. NCIV has actively supported indigenous peoples' lobby for the appointment of a Special Rapporteur for indigenous peoples’ human rights issues.
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