UN calls on States to protect indigenous peoples and to respect their rights
Several UN specialized bodies (the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Food and Agriculture Organization-FAO, the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) have recently issued appeals to States to respect the rights of indigenous peoples and to respond to their needs, particularly in terms of security and health, in the current context of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These bodies recall that "Indigenous peoples often live in remote, difficult or inaccessible areas. Even before this crisis, these peoples were already experiencing higher rates of health risks and their health care needs were unmet". They add that the dispossession of indigenous peoples' lands and natural resources, as well as the discrimination they face, continue to exacerbate the tensions and conflicts that place and keep indigenous peoples in a situation of permanent insecurity.
In light of these findings, UN bodies call on States to :
- Fully comply with their human rights obligations, including those contained in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to take special measures to protect the health and lives of indigenous peoples,
- Provide indigenous peoples' communities with health assistance and protective equipment such as masks, gloves, disinfectants and other useful materials, without discrimination,
- Always act in partnership with representatives freely chosen by indigenous peoples and ensure that no policy, programme or intervention that affects indigenous peoples is implemented without their free, prior and informed consent,
- Pay particular attention to the most vulnerable groups such as refugees, displaced persons, prisoners, migrants and the elderly,
- Respect and support indigenous peoples and communities that have taken the initiative to put in place containment measures and controls at the entrance to their territories,
- Inform indigenous people in their own language about all aspects of the pandemic,
- In consultation and agreement with indigenous representatives, intensify protective measures to prevent groups, private companies and any other foreign entities from entering the territories of indigenous peoples taking advantage of the current crisis.
The UN bodies urge all governments with indigenous peoples on the territory of their State and the UN agencies to take into consideration and implement these recommendations based on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples without delay.
Paris, 25/03/2970 – 6/04/2020
The Board of CMA Auteur: CMA Date : 2020-04-07 12:46:00
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