Thanks to the institutional support of the FILAC and CICA
From April 24 to May 5, the headquarters of the UN in New York was the location were the top leaders of the indigenous peoples of the planet gathered to discuss determining issues for the development and protection of their rights and cultural and ancestral identity, during the 16th session of the Permanent Forum of the United Nations on Indigenous Issues.
The permanent forum is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which was establish in 2000 to examine indigenous issues related to the economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health, and human rights.
The opening ceremony was held at the UN General Assembly Hall, on April 24, with a vast participation and representation of indigenous peoples, Governments, and other organizations linked to the work of the Permanent Forum. Thanks to the support of the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC) and the Central American Indigenous Council (CICA), a delegation of the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace, led by their executive president, Dr. William Soto Santiago, were present during said ceremony.
The official act initiated with the ceremonial sound of a traditional instrument executed by Monica Michelena Diaz, from the Charrua people from Uruguay. Next, the declaration of the opening of the sessions was made by Mr. Lenni Montiel, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development (DESA); and the spiritual leader of the Onondaga nation, Tadodaho Sid Hill, offered a welcoming indigenous ceremony.
Then, the election of the chair of the 16th session of the Permanent Forum of the United Nations on Indigenous Issues was made, among the indigenous representatives of the world. Dr. Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine was unanimously chosen.
The vice president of the General Assembly and permanent representative of Nepal before the UN, Durga Prasad Bhattari, read a message sent by the president of the Assembly, Peter Thompson, and the vice president of the ECOSOC, H. E. Ambassador Cristian Barros Melet, also participated during the opening ceremony with special messages and remarks. Afterwards, Mr. Lenni Montiel, assistant secretary general for Economic Development (DESA); Mrs. Carolyn Bennett, minister of Indigenous Affairs and of Northern Canada; and Mrs. Lakshmi Puri, deputy executive director of UN Women, participated in the opening ceremony.
International debates on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples
The debates of the Permanent Forum under the topic: “10th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: adopted measures to apply the Declaration”, began after the opening ceremony.
Dr. Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine was in charge in said discussion space, where representatives from the government and organizations that represent the indigenous people spoke on the advances, difficulties and proposals of these first ten years since the adaptation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC) and the Central American Indigenous Council (CICA) institutionally supported the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace, so that Dr. William Soto Santiago could present the work carried out in the Encounters of the Children of Mother Earth, which were held from 2015 to 2017, with a total of 64 encounters.
“The purpose of all of this work that the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace is presenting to you today is simple: Contribute towards the strengthening of the rights of the indigenous people, and along with you, promote a universal system of protection for Mother Earth. Count with the heart, mind and body of thousands of Activists in more than 20 countries in America, Europe and Africa, to help you defend your cultural identity, to safeguard your understandings and ancestral knowledge, and make them known to the entire world; because you are the ones who have the wisdom of how to protect the only home we have.” – Dr. William Soto Santiago, executive president of the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace
The participation of Dr. Soto was well received by the members of the Permanent Forum, who approached the delegation of the GEAP to exchange information and obtain more information on the proposals presented during the lecture. The delegation also approached indigenous leaders from other countries, members of the Expert Committee of the Permanent Forum and with the Chair of the Permanent Forum, Dr. Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine.
Celebrating 25 years of the FILAC
A high level event was organized by the authorities of the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC), who are celebrating 25 years since their creation, and they presented their new strategies and policies of this international organizations.
The event was held in one of the conference rooms of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, as part of the activities of the 16th session of the Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues, and they honored Dr. Rodolfo Stavenhagen, founder and first president of the FILAC.
Dr. William Soto Santiago was invited to present the work of the Encounters of the Children of Mother Earth and the proposals of the Inter American Environmental Charter, the Proclamation of the Constitution of the Rights of Mother Earth, and the International Agreement for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Ecocide.
“The general objective of the Encounters of the Children of Mother Earth is to promote and establish open spaces of dialogue and reflection on important subjects proposed by the indigenous peoples. During these encounters, they had the opportunity to express and exchange their opinions and proposals on diverse environmental subjects, the strengthening of their rights, and the protection of their cultural identity, understandings and ancestral knowledge… These documents that we are also presenting are aimed at contributing towards the strengthening of the rights of the indigenous peoples, and along with you, promote a universal system of protection for Mother Earth.” – Dr. William Soto Santiago, executive president of the GEAP.
Representatives from the Mexican government, the president of the Council Board of the FILAC, Pedro Santiago Posada Arango; Mrs. Victoria Tauli Corpus, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations on the fundamental rights of the indigenous peoples; Dr. Myrna Cunningham, second vice president of FILAC; Guatemalan leader and political scientists, Alvaro Esteban Pop; and Mr. Jesus Amadeo Martinez Guzman, high advisor of the Central American Indigenous Council, and representative of the indigenous peoples of El Salvador before FILAC, were all present during the act.
The participation of the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace in these events supports the work carried out in the institution to strengthen the rights of the indigenous peoples, leaving a commitment to continue socializing and presenting the results of the Encounters of the Children of Mother Earth before different international organizations and the governments of each country, along with the active participation of the indigenous people as the protagonists of the indispensable processes for the complete recognition and compliance of their international rights.