Nordic Statement on Indigenous Peoples

Item 3 & 5: Clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP). Nordic statement delivered on 20 September 2017.

| 20 Sep 2017

As delivered by Ambassador Terhi Hakala, Permanent Representative of Finland.

Mr. President,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries: Denmark together with Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. 

We welcome the reports presented by both the Special Rapporteur and the Expert Mechanism.

As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, renewed attention should be given to violations and abuses committed against indigenous peoples all over the world. We welcome the new mandate of the Expert Mechanism (EMRIP) as an achievement in the follow-up to the World Conference and to reaching the ends of the Declaration.  We hope to see it leading to strengthened support to the realization of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. 

We encourage the Special Rapporteur and EMRIP, as well as the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to continue coordination with each other to ensure a comprehensive approach, avoid unnecessary duplication of work and maximize the use of resources. It’s crucial to ensure complementarity in the best interest of achieving the ends of the UN Declaration.

The proposal by EMRIP that the Human Rights Council make further efforts to facilitate the participation in its work of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions is timely.  As these reprensentatives and institutions are not  NGO’s, we must seek for other ways to ensure their participation in the Council. The General Assembly has also encouraged UN bodies to faciliate participation and the Human Rights Council should live up to this call.

Indigenous peoples’ human rights defenders working to protect their social and economic rights are particularly vulnerable to violence and killings. We call on all states to protect the rights of indigenous peoples, but also to defend those promoting these rights from attacks and to ensure their safety, whether the threat comes from state or non-state actors.

A question to both the Special Rapporteur and the Chair of EMRIP: both your mandates work closely with representatives of Indigenous Peoples and ensure that their voices are heard. What is your assessment of the scope of intimidation and reprisals against Indigenous Peoples trying to cooperate with you? And what further support would you need from the Human Rights Council to address reports of intimidation and reprisals?

Thank you for your attention.