Statement by Continental Network for Indigenous Women in the Americas—North America and the European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD) at the EMRIP 10th Session, UN Geneva 12th July 2017

Thank you Chair,

This is a joint statement by the Continental Network for Indigenous Women in the Americas—North American Region and the European Network of People of African Descent (ENPAD). I am Dr Michael McEachrane and I address you as a representative of ENPAD.

We would like to congratulate the Expert Mechanism on its 10th Anniversary of working towards implementing the Declaration. The Declaration, the work of the Expert Mechanism and other Indigenous Peoples’ rights processes in the UN have served as models for similar processes for the rights of people of African descent. Since 2002, there is a Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent, 2015 to 2024 is the International Decade for People of African Descent and recently the Human Rights Council decided that there is going to be a Declaration for the Rights of People of African Descent.

Indigenous Peoples and People of African Descent have shared—often even deeply entwined—histories and present situations of suppression, discrimination, marginalisation, lack of self-determination and exploitation of human and natural resources. Also, we share a history of solidarity movement building around the world.

Given our many shared interests, we make two recommendations. First, that the Expert Mechanism includes in its report a recommendation to the Human Rights Council of annual or bi-annual events to strengthen collaborations between, and mainstream the common voices and interests of, Indigenous Peoples and People of African Descent in the UN system.

Second, that towards this end, the Expert Mechanism collaborate with the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent to co-author a joint public statement on the dire need for climate justice for the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, in November.

The escalation of climate change induced humanitarian disasters that especially affect Indigenous Peoples, People of African Descent and Africans—for instance, the intensified environmental situation in Latin America and the current extreme droughts in Africa—call out for such joint efforts in the UN. The realisation of the Declaration hinges on the reversal of this development.

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