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International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples - Tuesday 9 August 2016

GENEVA (5 August 2016) –  Nearly ten years since the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, indigenous children and youth still lack full access to adequate, accessible and appropriate forms of education, warned a group of four UN experts on indigenous issues in a joint statement* made public today.

Speaking ahead of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, on Tuesday 9 August, the experts called on governments to ensure discrimination-free and culturally-sensitive education systems for indigenous peoples, taking into account their languages and histories.

“States and indigenous peoples must work together to fulfil indigenous peoples’ right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions,” said Claire Charters, Chair of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Alvaro Pop Ac,  Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and Albert K.  Barume, Chair of UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“Education is empowerment, and critical to the realization of all of the rights contained in the Declaration and international human rights treaties,” Ms. Charters stressed. “Unfortunately, indigenous children and youth often do not have access to adequate, accessible and appropriate forms of education.”

Special Rapporteur Tauli-Corpuz drew attention to the situation of indigenous women and girls, and called on Governments to give special priority to ensure they have access to relevant education. She also cautioned that “the available data shows a consistent pattern of disparity between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in terms of educational access, retention and achievement in all regions of the world.”

“States must engage and work constructively with indigenous peoples to address barriers to education, including stigmatization of indigenous identity, discrimination in schools, language barriers between students and teachers and inadequate consideration given to education for indigenous students,” Mr. Pop Ac underscored. “Efforts should be made to ensure that indigenous peoples have access to education that is culturally and linguistically appropriate.”

Mr. Barume noted that education is key to addressing human rights violations, alleviating poverty and creating opportunities in economic, social and cultural spheres.

“Education is an indispensable means of realizing indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination and their capacity and ability to pursue their own economic, social and cultural development,” he said. “The right to education also supports the commitments on the part of States to the Sustainable Development Goals with a view to leaving no one behind.”

The human rights experts urged governments “to work with indigenous peoples in a spirit of partnership to restore forms of education based on indigenous languages, beliefs, values and culture and increase efforts to address discrimination in education that has the effect of impeding indigenous peoples’ rights to education.”

“It is imperative that educational institutions are built on a human rights framework that is inclusive and respectful of indigenous peoples’ cultures, worldviews and languages,” they concluded.

(*) Check the experts’ full statement:

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz(Philippines), is a human rights activist working on indigenous peoples’ rights. She is a member of the Kankana-ey, Igorot indigenous peoples in the Cordillera Region in the Philippines. As a Special Rapporteur, she is independent from any government or organization and serves in their individual capacity. Learn more, log on to:

The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was established in 2007 by the Human Rights Council as a subsidiary body of the Council.  It is composed of five independent experts serving in their personal capacities: Mr. Albert K. Barume (Democratic Republic of Congo), Mr. Wilton Littlechild (Canada), Mr. Edtami Mansayagan (Philippines), Mr. Alexey Tsykarev (Russian Federation), and Ms. Erika Yamada (Brazil). Learn more, log on to:
The UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) is a high- level advisory body to the Economic and Social Council. It was established in 2000 to deal with indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. It is composed of 16 members. Learn more, log on to:

The UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples was established in 1985 by the UN General Assembly and provides support to indigenous peoples’ representatives to participate in the sessions of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Human Rights Council and of treaty bodies. It is run by the Secretary-General and a Board of Trustees. The members of the Board are: Ms. Claire Charters (New Zealand), Ms. Myrna Cunningham (Nicaragua), Mr. Binota Dhamai (Bangladesh), Ms. Anne Nuorgam (Finland), and Mr. Legborsi Saro Pyagbara (Nigeria). Learn more, log on to:

See the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

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UN Women proudly joins indigenous peoples around the world in celebrating the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous women have struggled for full recognition of their rights and we stand beside them in that struggle. Despite the continued threats to their security, ancestral lands and the environment upon which they depend, indigenous women strive to balance their roles as leaders, producers and transmitters of indigenous knowledge and cultures.

This year’s theme, Indigenous Peoples and the Right to Education, is timely and aligns with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s commitment to educational attainment among indigenous women and girls. Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 5 present opportunities to give stronger meaning and commitment to educational attainment among indigenous women and girls. Gender equality will only be achieved when we ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training, including for indigenous peoples. 

Systemic barriers to educational attainment must be eliminated. These include the expectation that girls should marry and have children before reaching adulthood, the preference for boys in the choice over who should attend school, the risk of physical and sexual violence, and discriminatory policies and teaching practices that prevent girls from upholding their unique cultures in school.

Formal, non-formal and informal educationare potent means to enhance the ability of indigenous women to reach their full potential. Knowledge of the rich histories, cultures, languages and farming practices of indigenous peoples are critical life skills that uphold and nurture their unique identity. Formal education must also be promoted to ensure that indigenous girls and women are able to effectively participate in all domains of social, economic and political activity. High levels of illiteracy among indigenous women, however, regrettably attest to the historical patterns of discrimination and exclusion.

Today’s celebration is an opportunity to implement the recommendations of the 2009 report of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to the Human Rights Council on Lessons Learned and Challenges to Achieve the Implementation of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to Education. UN Women believes that integrating indigenous peoples’ perspectives into educational curricula, improving infrastructure particularly in remote villages, introducing mobile schools for nomadic communities, and scaling up bilingual education and special scholarship schemes for girls will positively impact upon their ability to enroll in and complete a full course of education to the highest levels.

UN Women’s joint programme with UNESCO and UNFPA builds on cross-sectoral approaches and addresses the interface between education, health and gender equality in order to empower adolescent girls and young women. We look forward to making these initiatives meaningful to indigenous women and girls by working with them at each stage of their design, implementation and monitoring so that their voices will be heard, and no one will be left behind. 


IPMG Intervention on HLPF/Session 3: Ensuring that no one is left behind--lifting people out of poverty and addressing basic needs

Grace Balawag, Tebtebba –Indigenous Peoples International Centre for Policy Research and Education, July 11, 2016

Thanks for this opportunity to intervene on behalf of the IPMG.

For Indigenous Peoples, this session on lifting people out of poverty and addressing basic needs is most relevant. Why?  Because Indigenous Peoples are more often than not, included as among the world’s most vulnerable, discriminated and disadvantaged populations. However, it must also be clear from the outset that the 2030 Agenda  should not only consider Indigenous Peoples as recipients of development, but also as active partners and agents of self –determined development to their lands, territories and resources; and have been contributors to transformational change  through our traditional knowledge systems and innovations developed over generations.

For indigenous peoples, lifting people out of poverty means to promote non-monetary measures of well-being; instead of just boxing people based on the $1.25 income.   For example, targets under SDG Goal 1 on ending poverty:  should fully reflect the special situations of  land-based and natural-resource-based Indigenous Peoples; and that governments should include  an indicator on the recognition of  IP land tenure rights, which is very crucial in lifting IPs out of poverty.  Another indicator should also be included on the recognition and  strengthening of Indigenous Peoples’  diverse local economies  and traditional livelihoods and occupations that are based on subsistence and harmonious relationship with lands, natural environment and diverse ecosystems, not necessarily measured by monetary income.  

In relation to the recognition of land tenure rights and traditional local economies and livelihoods, there is also a need for cross referencing the achievement of agenda 2030 and the  SDGs with other government commitments on Human Rights and  international conventions that recognizes IPs’ rights as enshrined in the UNDRIP.

Furthermore, for indigenous peoples, the aspiration of the SDGs in  lifting people out of poverty  and addressing basic need also means the full respect, recognition and fulfilment of our collective rights as distinct Indigenous Peoples. These will ensure equality and non-discrimination; and accord us with our dignity and well-being as active partners in the implementation of the SDGs.

Having said this, the IPMG will again ask, how will the governments ensure that  land tenure rights is included as an indicator  under SDGs; and how will Indigenous Peoples and other marginalized stakeholders  should be actively involved in the follow-up and implementation of the development agenda and the SDGs, to ensure that no one will be left behind?  

Indigenous Peoples’ Major Group Statement at the HLPF 2030 Development Agenda on Session 7: Science-Policy Interface: new ideas, insights, and solutions

Delivered by Grace Balawag, Tebtebba-Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education, 12 July 2016

Thank you Chair, and thank you for all the insights from panelists. Thanks again for this opportunity to speak on behalf of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group. 

IPMG would like to highlight the summary recommendations from: The first annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI Forum) for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “This called for strengthening efforts to create innovative knowledge societies, advance STI policy coherence to enable technology development and diffusion, and support social technologies that are critical for changing mindsets and behaviors and helping those who are left behind. It further highlighted the need to strengthen dialogue between stakeholders and governments, and to promote a conducive environment for sharing and exchanging ideas and success stories, suggesting new initiatives and partnerships, and identifying practical means and solutions to foster STI in all countries. It further calls for the Forum to consider various sources of knowledge, including indigenous knowledge, and provide concrete, practical guidance on how to make STI for the SDGs a reality”.

Having said that, I would like to emphasize that we are missing the recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ contributions and insights into the science-technology-policy interface.  Being stewards and custodians of many of the world's most biologically diverse ecosystems for generations, Indigenous peoples verifiably hold a wealth of traditional knowledge, innovations and practices on diverse ecosystems management and technologies, traditional health systems and medicinal plants; agricultural production and food systems, local crops and seeds, herding and pastoralism,  among others. Indigenous Peoples, including indigenous women, have a proven track record of responsible management of natural resources in forests, deserts, tundra, small islands, agricultural lands within `diverse ecosystems.

Further, the contributions of Indigenous Peoples to sustainable development should not only be recognized and respected, but whenever possible, celebrated as models of proven good practices with the potential to benefit all mankind. As active agents and drivers of change, Indigenous Peoples are important part of the solution towards the implementation of the SDGs; and this should be reflected in the monitoring and review envisaged for the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

However, while these realities are increasingly recognized among mainstream sectors, Indigenous Peoples continue to be threatened and excluded in  necessary processes in the development and implementation of science and technological solutions; and have been facing risks and challenges on such technologies which have been impacting Indigenous Peoples territories, lands and resources. Instead of enhancing social and environmental protection, such technological solutions have resulted to increased inequalities, marginalization and impoverishment of IP communities. For example, the implementation of  large-scale renewable energy projects such as hydro-electric  dams and geothermal energy projects have resulted to massive social conflicts and environmental destruction within IP lands, territories and resources; especially without the implementation of the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of affected IPs. The implementation of these supposedly considered “clean development technologies and solutions” resulted to killings of IP leaders defending their rights, had caused massive displacements of IP communities, and to more exclusion and marginalization of Indigenous peoples who were displaced from their traditional lands and territories.  And these are continuing risks and threats to the survival of many Indigenous Peoples in the name of development and clean development technologies?  So how can we say that no one will be left behind, if these large scale technologies and projects are part of the 2030 Development Agenda, but continue to threaten the survival of indigenous Peoples? How can scientific and technological communities directly assist in promoting Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge systems interfaced with more appropriate and viable innovations managed by local communities?

On the one hand, there are many alternative solutions that should be prioritized which include the promotion of community-based renewable energy or other appropriate technologies. Given the appropriate technological and technical trainings, these will be owned and sustainably managed by indigenous Peoples and local communities.

Furthermore, these community-managed initiatives should be supported and scaled up; and should enable the environment for local and regional partnerships as an effective way for long term sustainable implementation. The HLPF should integrate such viable alternatives and partnerships in its emerging monitoring and review framework, which will really serve as a platform for drawing attention to alternative solutions especially in areas requiring policy attention in regard to partnerships’ contribution to SDG implementation.

Meeting with NGOs; Monday, 4 July 2016; 1500-1630 (for Philippines /Myanmar / France)

I am Kakay Tolentino, from the Dumagat indigenous community. This representation is made on behalf of the community partners and members of the following organizations –BAI, LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights), and TEBTEBBA, and we would like to bring to the attention of the members of the Committee the increasing number of deaths, escalating human rights violations, intensifying poverty, and heightening of vulnerabilities of indigenous women. This, despite the passage of the RA 9710 or the Magna Carta of Women, and the RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act. While these laws contain provisions on equality, and the protection of rights of indigenous women, the State has yet to fulfill its obligations in providing substantive equality for us, eliminating institutional discrimination against us, and protecting us and our communities from different forms of violence.

Under the Aquino administration, we have documented 90 indigenous peoples who have been victims of extrajudicial killings (from July 2010-april 2016). Among them are 8 women and 12 children, including  Juvy Capion, and her two young boys. Juvy was a B’laan indigenous leader, who was strongly opposed in the SMI-Xstrata Mining project in their ancestral domain, and was killed by military men. Most of those who have been killed are defenders of their rights to land and life, and natural resources from the corporate and state projects.

These mining and other development projects encroach upon indigenous peoples traditional territories without our genuine consent.  The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) invokes respect for cultural practices in their process of getting Free, Prior, Informed Consent (FPIC) from the indigenous communities. But the indigenous leadership is predominantly male-centric; and therefore, excludes indigenous women in the process of decision-making.  No measures are taken by the government to ensure that indigenous women are part of these FPIC processes. No measures are also taken to make mining corporations accountable for excluding women in substantively participating in the consultations and consent processes. 

This also perpetuates gender stereotype, and the patriarchal structure of leadership within indigenous communities.

While we acknowledge the noble intention of the state’s “NO HOME BIRTH” policy, we consider this as an affront to the indigenous women’s empowerment. Pregnancy and giving birth are celebrations of life for us, not a burden with double penalties as provided for by the said policy. To reach the development goal on maternal and infant mortality, pregnant women are required to access “skilled and facility-based” services. In the process, indigenous birth attendants are being disenfranchised and criminalized and even prohibited by local legislations to attend to maternal and infant care.  This is a threat to the fundamental freedom to informed choice and indigenous women’s right, to practice and develop knowledge and culture.

We note with concern how the current Conditional Cash Transfer (Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program for the poor and marginalized) how it has disempowered indigenous women. It has created a sense of dependence, thus, undermining community solidarity, self-help values and practices which has effectively sustained community resilience; we have also received cases of domestic and gender violence related to cash benefits and compliance processes.

This anti-poverty program should not replace secure employment, livelihood opportunities and land tenure for indigenous women.

Honorable Members of the Committee, Madam Chairman,

We are committed to sustainable development but there needs to be a strong political will by State and its agencies to recognize, fulfill and protect indigenous women’s right to self-determination, which encompasses our direct, full and effective participation, in all matters related to our human rights, political status, and well-being. There should be NOTHING ABOUT US WITHOUT US!

Thank you for your kind attention!

Joint Shadow Reports submitted by:

 1.Tebtebba Foundation, Asia Indigenous Women’s Network, Bai (National Network of Indigenous Women, Teduray Women’s Group (TWG) and the Silingang Dapit sa Sidlakang Mindanao

2. Franciscan International, Franciscan Solidarity Movement for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (FSMJPIC);LILAC – (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights) and Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM)


(June 15, 2015) By not appointing the indigenous expert nominated by the Asia Indigenous Peoples' Movement, the President of the UN Economic and Social Council, last week, broke with a well established principle of respecting indigenous peoples' own selection process for indigenous expert members of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

“We need to assert  respect for indigenous peoples-led selection process and safeguard  the integrity and independence of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that  resulted from the global movement of indigenous peoples,” says Tebtebba  (Indigenous  Peoples’  International  Centre  for  Policy  Research  and Education). 

Tebetabba and the Asia Indigenous Peoples Caucus, have expressed concern regarding the non-appointment of Ms. Joan Carling as the indigenous-nominated member from Asia to the Permanent  Forum on Indigenous Issues and written a letter to the President of the ECOSOC, in which they point out the following:  

As per ECOSOC resolution E/2000/22, which established the Permanent Forum, the President of the Council shall appoint eight of the 16 members of the Permanent Forum  “following formal  consultation  with  the  Bureau  and  the  regional  groups through their coordinators, on the basis of broad consultations with indigenous organizations, taking into account the diversity and geographical distribution of the indigenous people of the world as well as the principles of transparency, representativity and equal opportunity for all indigenous people, including internal processes, when appropriate, and local indigenous consultation processes…”

Break with well established procedure 
Indigenous peoples’ organizations in Asia have since then established a process of consultation through which the past and current indigenous-nominated members of the Permanent Forum from the region were nominated.

It was also through this process that Ms. Joan Carling, current member of the Permanent Forum, was nominated for a second term. The process, facilitated by Tebtebba, was undertaken from October 2015 to January 2016.

“The non-appointment of Ms. Carling, being the person nominated by indigenous peoples’ organizations in the region, is inconsistent with ECOSOC resolution E/2000/22, which could serve  as  a  bad   precedent affecting the integrity of the defined selection process. Furthermore, this is an affront to an indigenous-led and indigenous-defined process”, says Tebtebba.

Call for endorsement of letter 
Tebtebba has therefore prepared a letter to the President of the ECOSOC, in which they strongly urge the President to give due respect to the consultation processes of the indigenous peoples in Asia, which has been the past practice, and reconsider Ms. Joan Carling as the indigenous-nominated member to the Permanent Forum without further delay.

The letter has been circulated within indigenous organisations and support NGOs for endorsement. IWGIA encouarages all indigenous organisations, networks and NGOs to endorse Tebetebba's letter.

If you wish to endorse the letter you can contact: 

Prabindra  Shakya :  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and Eleanor P. Dictaan - Bang-oa  : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



One of the much-talked about incidents of abduction in the CHT is the abduction of Kalpana Chakma who was, allegedly, kidnapped by a group of army and Village Defense Party (VDP) men on 12 June 1996 from her home at New Lalyaghona under Baghaichari Upazila in Rangamati District. It has been 20 years since Kalpana Chakma was abducted. Still none of the perpetrators has been brought to justice. The update of the Kalpana Chakma’s case was scheduled is for 8 May 2016. The Investigating Officer was scheduled to submit, on this day, an investigation report to the court for the 30th time since her abduction. However, as the investigating officer failed to submit the report, a new date 12 July 2016 was fixed. But the scheduled date came and went by without submitting any investigating reports. It was learnt from the assigned lawyer Advocate Juwel Dewan of BLAST that many such dates were, in the meantime, fixed up and as usual they went by before a date on 8 May 2016 was once again fixed. Unfortunately, even on that set date the court did not receive any investigation report. A new date 12 July 2016 was again set for producing the investigation reports.


Kalpana Chakma, the then organizing secretary of Hill Women’s Federation, was allegedly abducted on 12 June 1996 at mid-night from her home at New Lalyaghona in Baghaichari Upazila under Rangamati District by a group of army and Village Defense Party (VDP) men. On the same night, when Kalpana was kidnapped, the perpetrators also allegedly tried to shoot two of her elder brothers dead in front of their house. Lal Bihari Chakma, one of the elder brothers of Kalpana, was able to identify Lt. Ferdous Kaisar Khan, the then Commander of Kajoichari army camp and Md. Nurul Haque and Md. Saleh Ahmmed, VDP Platoon Commanders. In the face of a tremendous protest, the government formed a 3-member inquiry committee headed by retired justice Abdul Jalil after three months of the incident. The other two members of the committee were Dr. Anupam Sen, professor of Sociology Department of Chittagong University and the then Divisional Commissioner of Chittagong division. The committee failed to rescue Kalpana Chakma and even to identify the perpetrators.


Kalindi Kumar Chakma (Kalicharan), elder brother of Kalpana Chakma along with Diptiman Chakma, local UP Chairman, informed the Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Baghaichari Upazila of the incident on the same day. After dilly-dallying for long, the police finally accepted the complaint as a case (no 2, dated 12/06/1996, Section 364). On 17 January 1997 the case was transferred to the District Special Branch. Later the case was again transferred to Baghaichari Police Station on 26 December 2004. After 14 years, on 21 May 2010, police submitted the final probe report replete with deliberately misleading contents, allegedly, to save the perpetrators from being accused. Kalicharan, complainant, protested against the flawed probe report of the police. Later on 2 September 2010, the court ordered the Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Police for further investigation of the case. On 26 September 2012, a final report was submitted on behalf of the CID, Chittagong Zone. In that report, the CID argued that they could not find the victim. The complainant again expressed his disagreement with the inquiry report and demanded once again for further investigation. On 16 January 2013, the court handed over the case to the Superintendent of Police of Rangamati district. On 22 December 2013 the court ordered to collect DNA of Kalindi Kumar Chakma and Lal Bihari Chakma, both elder brothers of Kalpana Chakma claiming it as a part of the investigation. This directive is a deliberate harassment to the Kalapana’s family to mislead the case. After a hearing on 8 May 2016, the court again set the date of hearing on 12 July 2016.Thecourt hearings of the case of Kalpana Chakma have been continuing for years together without showing any significant progress in sight.



Kapaeeng Foundation

(A Human Rights Organization for Indigenous Peoples of Bangladesh)

Shalma Garden, House # 23/25, Road # 4, Block # B, PC Culture Housing, Mohammadpur, Dhaka-1207, Telephone: +880-2-8190801

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Web:

They also advocated for the empowerment of girls, young and indigenous women in the world as agents of change.

The International Indigenous Women's Forum (FIMI) in conjunction with the participation of 21 indigenous women from six regions of the world (North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia, Arctic and Pacific), participants of the Indigenous Women's Global Leadership School, attended the fifteenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on indigenous Issues(UNPFII by its acronym in English) held in New York City to discuss and advocate on this year's theme "indigenous peoples: conflict resolution and peace"

FIMI actively supported the articulation and coordination between indigenous women and other strategic actors for the positioning of indigenous women's political statement related to their role, participation and contribution in peace processes and conflict resolution. It is of great concern the critical conflict situations that indigenous communities still face, where children, youth and indigenous women are daily exposed to multiple expressions of violence because of the defense of their individual and collective rights. 

In this context, FIMI developed, for the fourth consecutive year, the face-to-face session of the International Program on Human Rights and International Advocacy Skills from the Indigenous Women's Global Leadership School; which parts from the intersectionality of processes, combining capacity building, participation and advocacy, empowerment and the strengthening of indigenous women's movement. The program took place from May 2nd to May 13th in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of Human Rights(ISHR) from Columbia University.

The first week of the face-to-face workshop was focused on the strengthening of knowledge and experiences, preparing the participants for the second week of the program that coincides with the beginning of the session of the Permanent Forum, important platform to carry out advocacy. The participants organized a side event as part of the implementation and sharing of knowledge that they acquired. They spoke on behalf of their regional organizations through interventions in interactive dialogues and sessions with a list of speakers.

For the third consecutive year, FIMI promoted a coordination meeting of indigenous women, held a day before starting the session of the Permanent Forum, bringing together 46 indigenous women from different regions of the world, in order to exchange information, get to know the participation methodology for the Forum and generate articulations and support on their political statements.

In addition, with the aim to strengthen the partnerships with local, regional and international networks of indigenous women, a discussion with strategic partners such as the Ford Foundation, the International Funders for Indigenous Peoples (IFIP), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and MADRE was developed; focusing the analysis and debate on the challenges and progress in the empowerment of indigenous women.

FIMI envisions that the empowerment of indigenous women is possible through continuous horizontal dialogues between decision-making stakeholders. In this sense, a side event was organized on March 16th addressing "Peace, justice and dignity", with the purpose of providing guidelines and make commitments to implement strategies on conflict resolution and achieve a dignified life and social justice.

The panel began with a spiritual reflection by Rosalina Tuyucof Conavigua, Guatemala, moderated by Mirna Cunningham, First Vice President of the Indigenous Fund and integrated by the Ambassadors of Brazil and Canada, the Section of Women, Peace and Security of UN Women, the Alliance of Indigenous Women of Central America and Mexico, the President of the Indigenous Fund and renowned women's leaders in peace processes such as Aida Quilcue of Colombia; Sandra Creamer of Australia; Winnie Kodi of Sudan, and the intervention of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.

One of the recommendations emphasized by indigenous women at the Permanent Forum was the inclusion of the issue of empowerment of indigenous women in the next session of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2017, the in-depth analysis of the Declaration of the Rights of indigenous Peoples, the Final Document of the World Conference and the States' commitment on the implementation of the Development Agenda 2030 with the full participation of indigenous women.

The indigenous women's leaders took advantage of the Forum to urge States to promote actions for the reparations of indigenous women victims of armed conflicts and put to an end the militarization of the indigenous territories. They also demanded justice and protection for the criminalization of human rights indigenous peoples' women defenders, who daily, and in various regions of the world are victims of violations of their human rights, where impunity for these actions still remains. 

They also added, that the processes of conflict resolution and peace will only be possible when the right to free, prior and informed consent is respected, both by States and by large corporations, materializing this practice in plans and programs aimed to strengthen the role of indigenous women as agents of change.

"One of the main conclusions as indigenous women, brothers and sisters, is that women and indigenous peoples want peace in our territories, peace in our homes, and we want peace and respect in our bodies, in our public lives, private, spiritual and physical", added Tarcila Rivera Zea, FIMI's President, a well-known Quechua leader from Peru.

United Nations, 20 May 2016 — The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues concluded its 15th session today with the adoption of a report, including recommendations for States, UN bodies and indigenous peoples. The report adopted by the expert members of the Permanent Forum, as orally revised (unedited), is available below, with the official document expected in June. The report will be presented to the Economic and Social Council in July 2016.

More than 1,000 indigenous peoples’ representatives attended the session, which took place from 9 to 20 May 2016 at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Forum heard statements from indigenous peoples, UN Member States, UN agencies and other stakeholders. The discussions covered the main theme of “Indigenous peoples: conflict, peace and resolution” as well as other pertinent topics for indigenous peoples, including their participation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the upcoming ten-year anniversary of the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2017.

“After two weeks of dialogue with indigenous peoples, Member States and UN entities, the Permanent Forum has today made strong recommendations to ensure indigenous peoples’ rights in times of conflict which is increasingly affecting them on their lands and territories,” said Mr. Alvaro Pop, the Chairperson of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. He added that, “the statements made during the 2016 session show a worrying trend of increased threats and violations against indigenous human rights defenders – and that there is an urgent need to ensure indigenous peoples’ access to justice and to address impunity.”

At the closing of the session, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for indigenous peoples’ participation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and said that “States must be held accountable for implementing the 2030 Agenda, with full respect for the rights and minimum standards guaranteed for indigenous peoples in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

See the report adopted by the expert members of the Permanent Forum, as orally revised (unedited) here:









Delivered by: Eleanor P. Dictaan – Bang-oa

18 May 2016

Today, we see the destruction of mother earth because of the continuing aggression of consumerism and cash economy within and outside   our communities. Most of us are resisting because we still hold on to our notion of stewardship.  And this has cost us lives as it will cost us the lives of our children if we do not do something about it.  Enough of these human rights violations!


In the light of the full and effective implementation of the UNDRIP and state commitments to the SDGs, Paris Agreement, the CBD, the UN Agencies’ System- Wide Action Plan resulting from the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples of 2014, and human rights, in general, we recommend the following for consideration under “Future Work”  :

1.   The SDGs  or Agenda 2030 and the System-Wide Action Plan  be part of the outstanding issues under the “Follow-Up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples” theme;

2.   Particularly under the SWAP, that there be a special session  assessing the implementation of the UNDRIP marking its 10 years of adoption;

Mr. Chairman, members of the UNPF, member states and concerned agencies of the UN, conflict is not just about arms nor is peace its absence. The culture of impunity grossly attacking indigenous peoples rights has to stop.  The manipulation of indigenous peoples rights to free prior and informed consent and self-determination by state and business interest has to stop! Sustainable development can only be pursued in an atmosphere of peace where the rights and well-being of indigenous peoples and their communities are secured. And peace comes with healing; healing with justice.


Given the magnitude of human rights issues with high probability of being galvanized in the race to Agenda 2030, we recommend that a full day session be allotted for  the UNSRIP to facilitate a dialogue with indigenous peoples and states under the Human Rights agenda item.


Further, we would like to recommend that the theme for the 16th Session of the UNPFII next year be  on “Protection of indigenous peoples’ rights defenders and access to justice”. We support earlier recommendations to invite other specific human rights mandate holders, in this regard.



In 2014, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues decided to review its own methods of work in order to become a more effective mechanism within the UN system. In order for the Permanent Forum to be more responsive to its mandate which includes economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights, there must be an examination of, and reform in the way the Forum conducts its work.

The reform initiative is designed to involve all aspects of the Permanent Forum, ranging from its annual sessions, the role of the Expert Members and their inter-sessional work, the secretariat, and engagement with indigenous peoples, NGOs, UN agencies, member states and others.

1.   The Permanent Forum has chosen to focus upon three areas for reform:  Expanding and strengthening the work of the independent Expert Members of the Forum;

2.   Increasing the effectiveness of the secretariat of the Forum; and

3.   Enhancing the various inter-sessional activities and work of the Permanent Forum Expert Members, including their relationship with UN agencies through the Inter-Agency Support Group. There is the need to ensure close coordination with the other Indigenous specific UN mechanisms (UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples; Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) to avoid duplication and where possible to seize upon opportunities to advance urgent agenda items collectively within the UN system.

Previous organisation of work of the annual session

The previous organization of work during the annual sessions of the Permanent Forum included discussions on special themes or from the six mandated areas of the Forum; high-level panels on specific issues; dialogue with UN Agencies; and a regional focus. In addition, a large number of side-events are organized during the annual sessions by Governments, UN Agencies, Indigenous Peoples and others on a wide range of issues that are relevant to indigenous peoples.

A new way of working

In regard to reforming the work of the annual sessions, the Forum has identified the following options to improve its methods of work:

1. Identify specific issues/themes to be explored in a more comprehensive fashion at the annual sessions. This entails advance notice to all participants by posting brief concept notes on the Permanent Forum’s website and requesting participants to focus upon these issues and the corresponding questions set out in the concept notes.

2. Dividing the two-weeks of the annual session. One option is to hold open sessions for all the participants to the Permanent Forum in the first week and dedicate the second week to interactive sessions with each group, e.g. one day with member states, two days with UN agencies, funds and programmes, and two days as closed door meetings of the Forum to deliberate on its report and other urgent matters.

3. Sharpening focus on, and limiting the number of recommendations that the Permanent Forum adopts as well as limit the number of studies to be concluded by the members. This would involve creating clear and strict criteria for the adoption of recommendations. For example, they should be time bound, actionable, and with specific targets. This would streamline interventions and produce recommendations that avoid repetition and duplication. In addition, this would require a cultural change in the conduct of the session. A change in conference room dynamics also requires participants to limit their interventions and recommendations.

4. Urge indigenous peoples, member states, and interested UN agencies, NGOs, etc. to hold regional preparatory meetings (and national meetings, if possible) or thematic indigenous caucuses.

5. Explore the potential of such regional meetings to be held during times when the Permanent Forum members are in closed session in order for regional groups to dialogue and potentially reach consensus on recommendations for joint interventions (see paras 26 -29 of E.C.19/2006/10).

6. Ensuring equity in relation to indigenous peoples present at the annual session to have the opportunity to speak including the development of an advance speaker’s list

7. Improve upon the ways and means that the Permanent Forum report is adopted.

Changes for the Fifteenth Session

The Programme of Work for the fifteenth session of the Permanent Forum outlines some of the changes.

1. There will be an oral report on the follow-up to the recommendations of the Permanent Forum’s (previous) fourteenth session on the first day of the session.

2. There will one primary agenda item, Item 4 (Implementation of the six mandated areas of the Permanent Forum with reference to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).

3. The major change is the introduction of a half-day closed meeting where the Permanent Forum will hold separate dialogues with:

  • Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations,
  • UN Agencies, programmes and Fund and
  • Members States.

Each of these dialogues will provide the opportunity to focus on specific issues and identify ways forward and ways the Permanent Forum members are able to address such matters.

4. The thematic panels will be conducted in a true interactive style. This requires panellists to speak for no longer than 5-10 minutes. There is no speaker’s list and no interventions will be sought from the floor. Instead there will be true interaction between the panellists and the participants.

5. The theme of the Permanent Forum’s fifteenth session is Indigenous Peoples: conflict, peace and resolution. As this is such an important topic for indigenous peoples, a whole day has been devoted to the theme. As in previous sessions, the Programme of Work also includes Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Future Work.

6. The biggest change will be Speakers arrangements during the plenary. The Programme of Work lists both Speaker’s Lists and Interactive Dialogues.

The Speaker’s Listsare open to all those who are registered to attend the Permanent Forum as observers. These include representative from Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations, National Human Rights Institutions and Indigenous Members of Parliament. The indigenous women’s caucus and the indigenous youth caucus will be able to make statements however this does not necessarily mean they will have priority over other speakers. All speakers from these categories must put their name on the advanced speaker’s list. Speakers are only allowed to speak once under an agenda item. Speaker’s List opened on the Permanent Forum’s website in April 2016.

ForInteractive Dialogues, speakers can inscribe to the speaker’s list at the beginning such session simply by pressing the microphone button on their desk, or where desks have been set aside for this purpose – especially for those who do not have access to a microphone button. You may be asked your name and organization by staff assisting the Chairperson.

At the beginning of each meeting, Permanent Forum members will introduce the agenda item. They will also ask questions and make statements whenever they judge appropriate. Time constraints are considerable given the great number of observers who ask for the floor. The Chairperson will explain the procedure to follow at the beginning of each plenary session regarding the list of speakers and also sets time limits for interventions (3 to 5 minutes is the usual practice).

The order of speakers is determined by the Chair of the Permanent Forum

You need to provide 10 copies of your statement to translators (to be given to Conference Room Officer). You should also send your statement to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. where it will be uploaded on website after your presentation.

We hope that you will be able to participate in a meaningful way during the fifteenth session of the UN Permanent Forum.