Previous Chairpersons of the Permanent Forum

Former Chairpersons of the Permanent Forum

Ms. Mariam Wallet Mohamed Aboubakrine

PFII 2017  & 2018 Sessions

Mariam  Aboubakrine is a medical doctor from Tombouctou in Mali. She holds a degree from University of Tizi-Ouzou (Algeria) with several researches in ophthalmology, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics and general medicine. She also holds a Masters in Humanitarian Action from the University of Geneva, focusing on interventions in crisis: armed conflict, marginalization/exclusion and natural disasters. The latter part of her studies focused on “The role of traditional medicine in Tuareg Mali. Mariam is a member of Tin Hinan, a women association working for the defence, promotion and development of indigenous peoples in Africa, in particular the Tuareg. Mariam has been a very active member of this organization since she was young and has worked on many issues related to health such as nutrition, malaria prevention, and education on sexual and reproductive health among the Tuareg. She participated in training on ILO Convention 169 and several times in the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. She also volunteered with African NGOs for advocacy on Human Rights at the regular sessions of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations and the Universal Periodic Review in Africa. She is also an independent consultant on gender issues, health, and conflict resolution / peace agreement in indigenous communities.


Mr. Alvaro Esteban Pop
PFII 2016 Session

Álvaro Esteban Pop Ac, Maya Q’eqchi. Independent expert and Vice Chair of the PFII in 2012 and 2015. Autodidact. Political Science and international relations URL-Guatemala.

Mr. Pop led the First global assessment of the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Guatemala (2012). He prepared the Report on the reality of indigenous children in Mesoamerica (Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua), the Report on the study on democracy and indigenous peoples in Latin America (Mexico, Guatemala and Ecuador) and the Report on Truth Commissions and indigenous peoples in America (Guatemala, Peru and Canada).

Mr. Pop developed the Institutional Policy Proposal for Cultural Relevance 2014 for the Supreme Court of Guatemala. Prepared a study for the Organization of American States (OAS) on Indigenous peoples in the electoral observation in Latin America 2014. Member of the Global Dialogue Forum with Indigenous Peoples of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Professor of Interculturality, Multiculturality and Indigenous Peoples of the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy.

Mr. Pop is a president of the Naleb Organization. Head of the Indigenous Electoral Observation Mission in Guatemala 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011. OAS Ecuador electoral observer. Has been host of the TV Maya talk show Espacio Público con Álvaro Pop (2011 -2013). He has conducted radio programmes, has been print media columnist, editorial director of the magazine BAQ’TUN and columnist of the magazine CHRONICLE.


Ms. Megan Davis
PFII 2015 Session

Megan Davis (Cobble Cobble – South East Queensland) is currently Associate Professor and Director of the Indigenous Law Centre, Faculty of Law at the University of New South Wales and is a Commissioner of the New South Wales Land and Environment Court, and an Australian member of the International Law Association’s Indigenous Rights Committee.  Megan has previously held the position of Director, Bill of Rights project, Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law, Faculty of Law, UNSW.  Megan Davis is from Queensland and has Aboriginal and South Sea Islander background.

Megan was a UN Indigenous Fellow of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva in 1999 (with Kristina Nordling, Ferry Marisan and Konstantin Roebeck).

Megan is an international human rights lawyer and has participated for over a decade in UN expert seminars and working groups including UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Commission on Human Rights working group elaborating a Declaration on the rights of Indigenous peoples from 1998-2004.

Currently Megan teaches, researches and writes in the area of Indigenous peoples in  Public Law, particularly Australian constitutional law, democratic theory and governance – and  – and international law, especially that concerning the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  She currently lectures in the Faculty of Law, UNSW in Public Law,International Human Rights Law, Indigenous Peoples in International Law andIndigenous Peoples and the Law.

Megan’s main area of research focus is Aboriginal women’s rights including Aboriginal women’s political participation and violence against Aboriginal women. Megan is currently leading a national research project at the Indigenous Law Centre on the experiences of Aboriginal women and children before the courts in sexual assault cases. Megan’s doctoral thesis, to be published in a book, argues that the right to self-determination as it is recognised in international law does not pay adequate attention to the situation of Indigenous women and explores in particular one aspect of Martha Nussbaum’s theory of capabilities, a constitutional guarantee to equality.
Megan is currently the female co-Chair of the Ethics Committee, Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.  Megan is a board member of the Diplomacy Training Program (DTP), a member of Ngara Yura Judicial Commission of NSW, the NSW Sentencing Council and has been an expert trainer with UNITAR.  Megan is the 2010 NAIDOC Scholar of the Year.  In 2010, she was appointed by the Federal government as an expert to the Expert Panel on the Recognition of Indigenous Australians in theConstitution.


Ms. Dalee Sambo Dorough
PFII 2014 Session

Dalee Sambo Dorough (Inuit-Alaska) holds a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Law (2002) and a Master of Arts in Law & Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University (1991). Dr. Dorough is currently an Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Alaska Anchorage; Alaska Member of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Advisory Committee on UN Issues; and Member of the International Law Association Committee on Implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Dr. Dorough has a long history of direct involvement in the discussion, debate, and negotiation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). She was an active participant in this work from 1985 up to adoption of the UNDRIP by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007. Dr. Dorough was also a direct participant in the two-year revision process of International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 107, which resulted in the adoption of C169 Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries on June 27, 1989 by the ILO. She specialises in public international law, international human rights law, international relations, and Alaska Native self-determination. In addition, she has experience in the administration, management and coordination of statewide, national and international organizations as well as estimating and oversight of federal, state and private construction contracts.

In the summer of 1977, Dr. Dorough assisted in the organising of the first Inuit Circumpolar Conference, which took place in Barrow, Alaska and was hosted by the North Slope Borough. During her tenure at the ICC, Dr. Dorough was responsible for not only the international human rights standard setting work but also for the coordination of the Alaska Native Review Commission (ANRC), which is regarded as one of the most important, comprehensive reviews of the impact of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971. The Commission’s work was led by former British Columbia Supreme Court Justice, Thomas R. Berger, who published his findings in the volume entitled Village Journey: The Report of the Alaska Native Review Commission.


Paul Kanyinke SenaMr. Paul Kanyinke Sena
PFII 2013 Session

Paul Kanyinke Sena is a Law lecturer from Egerton University, Kenya and a Kenya Advocacy Officer. He is a former, member and chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Mr. Sena, a Lead Activist of the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (www.ipacc.org.za). He is also a committee member of the REDD+ Social and Environmental Standards and Conservation International’s Indigenous Advisory Group. Currently, he is spearheading the inclusion of indigenous peoples rights and interests in the Africa Development Bank’s Integrated Safeguards System. He has extensive experience in REDD+ both at the international, national and local levels. Kanyinke is a lawyer.


Ed JohnGrand Chief Edward John (Akile Ch’oh)
PFII 2012 Session

Grand Chief Edward John is a Hereditary Chief of Tl’azt’en Nation located in northern British Columbia (BC). He is an Indigenous leader who has dedicated his life to the pursuit of social and economic justice for Canada’s Indigenous people, having worked as a leader in Indigenous politics, business and community development.
Grand Chief John has been a lawyer for over 30 years. He holds a B.A. from the University of Victoria (UVIC), an LL.B from the University of British Columbia and Honorary Degrees from UVIC and the University of Northern BC.
Grand Chief John has served in many leadership roles at the local, provincial, national and international levels. He is a long serving elected member of the First Nations Summit political executive, which is mandated to carry out specific tasks related to Aboriginal Title and Rights negotiations with the governments of BC and Canada and other issues of common concern to First Nations in BC. He participated in the development of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2007.  He is currently serving a three-year term as a North American Representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) (January 2011 – December 2013) which is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations, with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.
In May 2012, Grand Chief John was appointed to serve a one year term (May 2012 – May 2013) as Chair of the UNPFII.


Myrna CunninghamMs. Myrna Cunningham
PFII 2011 session

Myna Cunningham Kain is an Indigenous Miskita woman from the community of Waspam, located on the banks of the Wangki River in Nicaragua.

With the victory of the Sandinista Revolution, she began work in the Ministry of Public Health, assuming different responsibilities as director of research and planning, among others. Nevertheless, when the armed conflict began Ms. Cunningham Kain once again returned to Waspam as a community health organizer, and later, to become the first female Miskita governor of the autonomous region’s regional government. As governor she played an important role in the consultation process on the autonomy of the multi-ethnic region and the negotiation of peace agreements that resulted in the approval of the Law of Autonomy of the Indigenous Peoples and Ethnic Communities from the Atlantic Coast of Nicaragua (1987) and the establishment of the first autonomous regional governments.

In the 90’s, Ms. Cunningham Kain became the founding director of the newly established University of the Autonomous Regions of Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast, otherwise known as URACCAN. URACCAN was one of the first Latin American institutions of indigenous and intercultural higher education with a focus on gender, and has been an inspiration for many Indigenous peoples around the continent. Ms. Cunningham Kain has also served as the coordinator of the Intercultural Indigenous Council (CII), formed by 60 indigenous scholars from 18 Latin American countries.

Ms. Cunningham Kain has extensive experience on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. She has been Secretary General of the Indigenous Inter-American Institute and has worked as a consultant to various multilateral, bilateral, governmental and nongovernmental organizations on health, education, land, environment and natural resources, racial discrimination, evaluation mechanisms and international human rights instruments on Indigenous Peoples, among others. She coordinated the Continental Campaign of 500 Years of Indigenous, Black and Popular Resistance in 1992 and in recent decades has been an activist for individual and collective rights of women and men in the Indigenous communities in her country, the OAS and the UN.

On the global level, Ms. Cunningham Kain is a member of the Board of Directors of the Global Fund for Women. She serves as an Advisor to three international Indigenous groups: the Alliance of Indigenous Women of Mexico and Central America, the Continental Network of Indigenous Women and the International Indigenous Women’s Forum (FIMI). Ms. Cunningham Kain is President of the Center for Autonomy and Development of Indigenous Peoples (CADPI), which is an organization working in areas of intercultural communication, cultural revitalization, Indigenous women’s Rights and climate change and its impact on Indigenous communities.

In September 2010, Ms. Cunningham Kain was awarded with an Honorary Doctorate by the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), thereby becoming the first Indigenous woman to receive such recognition from the UNAM.


Carlos Mamani CondoriMr. Carlos Mamani Condori
PFII 2010 Session

Carlos Mamani is an aymara professor, researcher and activist for the rights of indigenous peoples. He has a History Degree of University of San Andrés as well as an International Master’s Degree in Andean History, FLACSO-Ecuador (Quito).

He became know during the 1990s for his work promoting the ayllu system governance in Bolivia, and indigenous land-management method which existed in the pre-Inca era. Carlos has continued to work tirelessly to discover and disseminate knowledge about indigenous cultures and is regarded as a world expert on the topic.

Publications: “Memoria y Reconstitución” En: Intelectuales indígenas piensan América Latina, Zapata, Claudia, comp. Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar 1997;
“History and prehistory in Bolivia: What about the Indians”, En: Robert W Preucel and Ian Hodder, edit. Contemporary archaeology in theory, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford UK, 1996;
Los aymaras frente a la historia: dos ensayos metodológicos, pp. 1-16, Chukiyawu: Aruwiyiri, 1992;
Taraqu 1866-1935. Masacre, guerra y “renovación” en la biografía de Eduardo L. Nina Quispe, THOA, 1991.

Professional experience: Professor of the Archaeology and Anthropology Degree, University of San Andrés, La Paz;
Founding member and director (between 1992-2002) of the Andean Oral History Workshop;
Supported the foundation and institutionalization of the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qullasuyu Ayllus.


Ms. Victoria Tauli-CorpuzMs. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
PFII 2005 Session to 2010 Session

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz is an indigenous leader from the Kankanaey Igorot people of the Cordillera Region in the Philippines. Is a social development consultant, indigenous activist, civic leader, human rights expert, public servant, and an advocate of women’s rights in the Philippines.

She was the former Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (2005-2010). As an indigenous leader she got actively engaged in drafting and adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007. She helped build the indigenous peoples’ movement in the Cordillera as a youth activist in the early 1970s. She helped organize indigenous peoples in the community level to fight against the projects of the Marcos Dictatorship such as the Chico River Hydroelectric Dam and the Cellophil Resources Corporation. These communities succeeded in stopping these.

She is the founder and executive director of Tebtebba Foundation (Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education). Ms. Tauli-Corpuz has founded and managed various NGOs involved in social awareness raising, climate change, the advancement of indigenous peoples’ and women’s rights. A member of the Kankana-ey Igorat peoples, she was the chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. She is an Expert for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and has served as the chairperson-rapporteur of the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations. She is also the indigenous and gender adviser of the Third World Network and a member of United Nations Development Programme Civil Society Organizations Advisory Committee.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz was appointed as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples by the Human Rights Council in 2014.

In the fulfilment of her mandate, she conducts fact-finding missions and reports on the human rights situation in specific countries, addresses cases of alleged violations of the rights of indigenous peoples through communications with Governments and others, promotes good practices to implement international standards concerning the rights of indigenous peoples and conducts thematic studies on topics of special importance to the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples.

In her capacity as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Ms. Tauli-Corpuz has provided expert testimony before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and policy advice to inter alia the World Bank and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).


Ole Henrik MaggaMr. Ole Henrik Magga
PFII 2002 Session to 2004 Session

Mr. Ole Henrik Magga is a Sámi linguist and politician from Kautokeino, Norway. As a linguist, Ole Henrik Magga is best known for his work on syntax. His master’s thesis at the University of Oslo, “Lokative læt-setninger i samisk” (Locative “to be” sentences in Sámi), discussed the structure of existential and habitive sentences, whose structures in many of the Uralic languages are similar to each other. His doctoral dissertation in 1986 discussed the structure of Sámi verbal phrases, in particular, the interaction between modal verbs and infinitives. Mr. Magga became professor of Finno-Ugric languages at the University of Oslo in 1997, after Knut Bergsland, but relinquished his post to work as professor of Sámi Linguistics at the Sámi University College in Kautokeino. He became a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 1993 and in 2006, was made Commander of the Order of St. Olav.

Mr. Magga was a delegate to the World Council of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) when it was founded in Canada in 1975. He led the Norwegian Sami Association from 1980 to 1985 and was the first president of the Sami Parliament of Norway from 1989 to 1997. From 1992 to 1995, he was a member of the Worlds Commission on Culture and Development. In 2002, He became the first chairman of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.[1]