United Nations

A/51/616


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

27 November 1996

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                        A/51/616
                                                              

General Assembly
Fifty-first session
Agenda item 107


              PROGRAMME OF ACTIVITIES OF THE INTERNATIONAL DECADE
                       OF THE WORLD'S INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

                         Report of the Third Committee

                  Rapporteur:  Ms. Victoria SANDRU (Romania)


                               I.  INTRODUCTION

1.   At its third plenary meeting, on 20 September 1996, the General
Assembly, on the recommendation of the General Committee, decided to
include in the agenda of its fifty-first session the item entitled
"Programme of activities of the International Decade of the World's
Indigenous People" and to allocate it to the Third Committee.

2.   The Third Committee considered the item at its 29th, 31st, 40th
and 42nd meetings, on 8, 11, 15 and 18 November 1996.  An account of
the Committee's discussion of the item is contained in the relevant
summary records (A/C.3/51/SR.29, 31, 40 and 42).

3.   For its consideration of the item, the Committee had before it the
following documents:

     (a) Report of the Secretary-General on a review of the existing
mechanisms, procedures and programmes within the United Nations
concerning indigenous people (A/51/493);

     (b) Report of the Secretary-General on progress made at the
national, regional and international levels in accomplishing the
objectives of the Decade and the programme of activities for the
Decade (A/51/499);

     (c) Report of the Secretary-General on status of the United
Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations (A/51/565);

     (d) Note verbale dated 5 August 1996 from the Permanent
Representative of the Philippines to the United Nations addressed to
the Secretary-General (A/51/293).

4.   At the 29th meeting, on 8 November, the Assistant Secretary-
General for Human Rights made an introductory statement.


             II.  CONSIDERATION OF DRAFT RESOLUTION A/C.3/51/L.30

5.   At the 40th meeting, on 15 November 1996, the representative of
Australia, on behalf of Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia,
Australia, Bhutan, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa
Rica, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland,
Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua,
Norway, Peru, Solomon Islands, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay, introduced a
draft resolution entitled "International Decade of the World's
Indigenous People" (A/C.3/51/L.30).  Subsequently, the Congo,
Kyrgyzstan, the Netherlands and the Philippines joined in sponsoring
the draft resolution.

6.   At the same meeting, the representative of Australia orally
revised the draft resolution as follows:

     (a) In operative paragraph 5, the word "meetings" was replaced
with "sessions";

     (b) In operative paragraph 15, the words "in order to assist
indigenous representatives in participating in the Working Group on
Indigenous Populations and the Working Group charged with elaborating
a draft declaration on the rights of indigenous people" were added at
the end of the paragraph;

     (c) A new operative paragraph 20 was added, reading as follows:

         "20. Encourages Governments to consider contributing, as
     appropriate, to the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples
     in Latin America and the Caribbean, in support of the achievement
     of the Decade"

and the subsequent paragraphs were renumbered accordingly.

7.   At its 42nd meeting, on 18 November, the Committee adopted draft
resolution A/C.3/51/L.30, as orally revised, without a vote (see para.
10).

8.   Before the adoption of the draft resolution, the representatives
of the Russian Federation and the United States of America made
statements (see A/C.3/51/SR.42).

9.   After the adoption of the draft resolution, the representative of
Japan made a statement (see A/C.3/51/SR.42).


                  III.  RECOMMENDATION OF THE THIRD COMMITTEE

10.  The Third Committee recommends to the General Assembly the
adoption of the following draft resolution:


             International Decade of the World's Indigenous People

     The General Assembly,

     Bearing in mind that one of the purposes of the United Nations, as
set forth in the Charter, is the achievement of international
cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social,
cultural or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without
distinction as to race, sex, language or religion,

     Recalling its previous resolutions on the International Decade of
the World's Indigenous People, as well as those of the Commission on
Human Rights,

     Recalling also that the goal of the Decade is to strengthen
international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by
indigenous people in such areas as human rights, the environment,
development, education and health, and that the theme of the Decade is
"Indigenous people:  partnership in action",

     Recognizing the importance of consultation and cooperation with
indigenous people in planning and implementing the programme of
activities for the Decade, the need for adequate financial support
from the international community, including support from within the
United Nations and the specialized agencies, and the need for adequate
coordination and communication channels,

     Taking note of Economic and Social Council decision 1992/255 of
20 July 1992, in which the Council requested United Nations bodies and
specialized agencies to ensure that all technical assistance financed
or provided by them was compatible with international instruments and
standards applicable to indigenous people, and encouraged efforts to
promote coordination in this field and greater participation of
indigenous people in the planning and implementation of projects
affecting them,

     Recalling its resolution 50/156 of 21 December 1995,

     1.  Affirms its conviction of the value and diversity of the
cultures and forms of social organization of indigenous people, and
that the development of indigenous people within their countries will
contribute to the socio-economic, cultural and environmental
advancement of all the countries of the world;

     2.  Notes that the programme of activities for the International
Decade of the World's Indigenous People may be reviewed and updated
throughout the Decade and that at the mid-point of the Decade the
Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly should review the
results of the activities in order to identify obstacles to
achievement of the goals of the Decade and to recommend solutions for
overcoming those obstacles;

     3.  Takes note of the report of the Secretary-General on the
implementation of the programme of activities for the Decade; 1/

     4.  Welcomes the resolve of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to strengthen efforts to achieve the goals of the
programme of activities for the Decade; 2/

     5.  Reaffirms as a major objective of the Decade the adoption of
a declaration on the rights of indigenous people, and notes that there
have been two sessions of the open-ended inter-sessional Working Group
of the Commission on Human Rights established pursuant to Commission
resolution 1995/32 of 3 March 1995 3/ with the sole purpose of
elaborating a draft declaration, considering the draft United Nations
declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples, annexed to resolution
1994/45 of 26 August 1994 of the Subcommission on Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities;

     6.  Underlines the importance of effective participation by
indigenous representatives in the Working Group, and encourages
organizations of indigenous people that are not already registered to
participate and wish to do so to apply for authorization in accordance
with the procedure set out in the annex to Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1995/32;

     7.  Welcomes the Secretary-General's review of the existing
mechanisms, procedures and programmes within the United Nations
concerning indigenous people, 4/ and requests the Secretary-General
to transmit the review, prior to the fifty-third session of the
Commission on Human Rights, to Governments, indigenous people and
relevant international organizations for their comments;

     8.  Recognizes amongst the objectives of the Decade, as listed in
the programme of activities, the consideration of the establishment of
a permanent forum for indigenous people in the United Nations system;

     9.  Recalls its recommendation as contained in General Assembly
resolution 50/157 of 21 December 1995 that the Commission on Human
Rights, drawing on the results of the Copenhagen workshop 5/ and the
Secretary-General's review, consider the convening of a second
workshop on the possible establishment of a permanent forum for
indigenous people;

     10. Recommends in the light of the review that efforts be made to
ensure that relevant United Nations bodies and agencies, as well as
other relevant United Nations organizations, take part in any further
consultations on the issue, and welcomes the offer of the Government
of Chile to host a second workshop;

     11. Emphasizes the important role of international cooperation in
promoting the goals and activities of the Decade and the rights,
well-being and sustainable development of indigenous people;

     12. Reaffirms the importance of strengthening the human and
institutional capacity of indigenous people to develop their own
solutions to their problems and, for these purposes, its
recommendation that the United Nations University consider the
possibility of sponsoring, in each region, one or more institutions of
higher education as centres of excellence and the diffusion of
expertise, and invites the Commission on Human Rights to recommend
appropriate means of implementation;

     13. Emphasizes the importance of action at the national level for
the implementation of the goals and activities of the Decade;

     14. Encourages Governments to support the Decade by:

     (a) Contributing to the United Nations Trust Fund for the Decade;

     (b) Preparing relevant programmes, plans and reports in relation
to the Decade, in consultation with indigenous people;

     (c) Seeking means, in consultation with indigenous people, of
giving indigenous people greater responsibility for their own affairs
and an effective voice in decisions on matters that affect them;

     (d) Establishing national committees or other mechanisms
involving indigenous people to ensure that the objectives and
activities of the Decade are planned and implemented on the basis of
full partnership with indigenous people;

     15. Encourages Governments and other donors to contribute to the
United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations in order to
assist indigenous representatives in participating in the Working
Group on Indigenous Populations and the Working Group charged with
elaborating a draft declaration on the rights of indigenous people;

     16. Appeals to Governments and intergovernmental and
non-governmental organizations to support the Decade by identifying
resources for activities designed to implement the goals of the
Decade, in cooperation with indigenous people;

     17. Invites the United Nations financial and developmental
institutions, operational programmes and specialized agencies, in
accordance with the existing procedures of their governing bodies:

     (a) To give increased priority and resources to improving the
conditions of indigenous people, with particular emphasis on the needs
of those people in developing countries, including by preparation of
specific programmes of action for the implementation of the goals of
the Decade, within their areas of competence;

     (b) To launch special projects, through appropriate channels and
in collaboration with indigenous people, for strengthening their
community-level initiatives, and to facilitate the exchange of
information and expertise amongst indigenous people and other relevant
experts;

     (c) To designate focal points for coordination with the Centre
for Human Rights of the Secretariat of activities related to the
Decade;

     18. Recommends that the Secretary-General ensure coordinated
follow-up to the recommendations concerning indigenous people of
relevant world conferences, namely, the World Conference on Human
Rights, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,
the International Conference on Population and Development, the Fourth
World Conference on Women and the World Summit for Social Development;

     19. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human
Rights when developing programmes within the framework of the Human
Rights Education Decade to give due regard to the dissemination of
information on the situation, cultures, languages, rights and
aspirations of indigenous people;

     20. Encourages Governments to consider contributing, as
appropriate, to the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples in
Latin America and the Caribbean, in support of the achievement of the
goals of the Decade;

     21. Decides to include in the provisional agenda of its
fifty-second session the item entitled "Programme of activities of the
International Decade of the World's Indigenous People".


                                     -----


                                     Notes

1/   A/51/499.

2/   Resolution 50/157, annex.

3/   Official Records of the Economic and Social Council, 1995,
Supplement No. 3 and corrigenda (E/1995/23 and Corr.1 and 2), chap.
II, sect. A.

4/   A/51/493.

5/   E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1995/7 and Add.1-3.

 

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