Asian Indigenous Delegates Assert U.N.
Rights in Shillong Meeting
The governments, United Nations Agencies, and international communities
should pay attention to improve the situation of indigenous peoples
and promote their rights, especially the rights of indigenous peoples
in the Northeast India,” said Mr. Parshuram Tamang, the current
Asia member to the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UN
PFII) at the concluding session of the Shillong meeting that took
place from February 25 to 26.
At this Asian preparatory meeting, about 40 representatives from
ten countries made recommendations to UN Permanent Forum, UN Agencies,
governments, and international agencies to implement strategies
and action plans for poverty reduction and primary education programs
for the indigenous communities. Ms. Lola Garcia-Alix from the International
Working Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), Denmark also attended
This meeting was aimed with the objectives to gain a broader understanding
of UNPFII and make concrete recommendations to the Permanent Forum,
which will convene its 4th session in New York this coming May.
The delegates came from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Burma,
Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, and Taiwan.
“Indigenous peoples should use the United Nations Permanent
Forum on Indigenous Issues as advocacy tools for establishing their
rights”, added Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpus, the other Asian
Representative to United Nations Permanent Forum during the Shillong
meeting over the weekend.
The two-day long preparatory meeting was jointly organized by Asia
Indigenous Peoples Pact Foundation (AIPP), Thailand and the Cordillera
Peoples Alliance (CPA), Philippines and hosted by the Naga Women’s
Union in Manipur (NWUM), and the Meghalaya Peoples Human Rights
Council (MPHRC). In this meeting indigenous delegates have made
recommendations on land rights, right to forest and resources, education,
women, children and youth.
Recommendation was made on free, prior and informed consent must
be followed in all the processes for the developmental activities
that affect indigenous peoples, directly or indirectly. It was also
discussed in the meeting that the right-based poverty reduction
strategy should be adopted for indigenous peoples who are the most
Expressing their concerns about the U.N. Millennium Development
Goals, the meeting participants said they have failed to include
indigenous peoples and made specific recommendations to the 4th
session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,
the body set up by the United Nations to deal with indigenous peoples
The indigenous representatives also appealed to Chief Minister
D. D. Lapang to cancel the uranium mining at Domiasati, West Khasi
Hills not to resort to coercion, intimidation and force on the people
who are demanding guarantees for their future generations.