Permanent Forum member speaks at international conference on indigenous peoples and political participation

Senior Guatemalan officials held a press conference today on a new era in Mayan culture known as B’aktun, to begin on 21 December 2012, according to the Mayan calendar. The date, which also holds astrological significance, coincides with when the UN will begin making preparations for its 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe On 18 September, Member of the Permanent Forum Alvaro Pop participated at a conference on political participation and indigenous peoples in Latin American and the Caribbean. The conference was organized by the Supreme Electoral Tribunal of Bolivia in anticipation of referendums for the approval of autonomous statutes and organizational charters within autonomous indigenous and campesino regions in the country, to take place on 19 and 20 September. Mr. Pop shared information on political processes in multi-cultural democracies and examples of electoral laws and policies within the Latin American region that facilitate the political participation of indigenous peoples. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples affirms the right of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their distinct political institutions and self-governments, while retaining their rights to participate fully in the political life of the State (articles 4 and 5).