From April 23-27, 2007, 193 representatives from
15 member states, 66 indigenous organizations, and the OAS assembled
in La Paz, Bolivia for the Tenth Meeting of Negotiations in the Quest
for Points of Consensus of the Working Group to Prepare the Draft
American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The meeting
concluded with the proclamation by Ambassador Juan León Alvarado, Chair
of the Working Group, that significant progress had been accomplished,
particularly in the area of cultural identity.
the participants, twenty indigenous representatives were funded through
the Specific Fund to Support the Elaboration of the American Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which covered the cost of airfare
tickets and hotel accommodations. Representatives were selected by the
Selection Board of the Specific Fund which took into account gender
equity, national representation, previous experience, and expertise.
Discussion at the Tenth Meeting focused on cultural identity, the third
section of the Draft Declaration. More specifically, delegates strove
to reach consensus in the areas of Education, Indigenous Spirituality,
Indigenous Family, Health, and Protection of a Healthy Environment. The
Working Group reached agreement on six paragraphs of these articles and
achieved notable progress on others. All modifications to the Draft
Declaration are reflected in the
“Record of the Current Status of the Draft American Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
the Closing Session, the representative for the Indigenous Caucus, Ms.
Noeli Pocaterra, expressed her satisfaction with the progress achieved
during the meeting. She did convey some disappointment, however, on the
lack of consensus on certain indigenous rights. Ms. Pocaterra also
encouraged the continued support by the OAS and the further inclusion of
indigenous peoples’ leaders in the Declaration of Indigenous Rights
negotiation process. Ambassador Juan León Alvarado, Chair of the
Working Group, and Ambassador Reynaldo Cuadros, Co-Vice Chair of the
Working Group, also communicated their approval of the progress achieved
at the meeting. Mr. Hugo Fernandez, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Bolivia, recommitted the will of his government to involving indigenous
people in the negotiation process.
consensus-building process will continue later this year at a special
session of the Working Group to be held at OAS headquarters in
Washington, D.C. in advance of the Eleventh Meeting of Negotiations in
the Quest for Points of Consensus. The special session will serve as an
opportunity for reflection regarding the Draft American Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Chair of the Working Group and
leaders of the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus
will also present the outcomes and recommendations to a special meeting
of the OAS Permanent Council for their consideration.
information on the Tenth Meeting of Negotiations in the Quest for Points
of Consensus is available on the
OAS Civil Society website and
the Working Group website.