The Organization of American States is pursuing the establishment of an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, designed to address political, social, economic, and environmental issues confronting Native peoples throughout the Western Hemisphere. The OAS Working Group in charge of the effort has identified regional concerns that an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should reflect, supplementing the recently adopted United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Working Group is currently focused on evaluating the negotiation process and identifying specific measures that should be considered in future negotiations in creating the draft Declaration. The Group has presently identified: 1) articles of the Declaration that have been approved by consensus, 2) articles that are close to agreement between indigenous and state representatives, and 3) articles containing complex issues where consensus has not been reached. The Working Group agreed to start negotiating those articles that are close to agreement between the participants at its next negotiation session scheduled for February 16-20, 2009 preceded by preparatory meetings of the Indigenous Caucus on February 14-15.
Today the world faces climate change and global economic crises. Much of it is caused by greed and the intent to make profit at any cost. As a result, Indigenous Peoples, their lands, territories and resources are being endangered and exploited. Thus, the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas are at the center of both of these crises. As the most marginalized peoples in the hemisphere, Indigenous Peoples stand to suffer the most from the global economic downturn and have the most to lose from the monumental and unpredictable effects of climate change. …
Indigenous Peoples are people of peace who can contribute significantly toward resolving the many crises facing humanity today. The American Declaration is of critical importance. It will address the regional challenges of Indigenous Peoples in the Americas while fully respecting the standards of the universal United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.