Preparing for UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

In preparation for its 12th session, members and the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues met in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo on 11 – 15 March

UN Photo/Kibae Park

Hosted by the Government of Congo and opened with a statement from the President, H.E. Mr. Denis Sassou Nguesso, delivered by the State Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation, the meeting provided an opportunity for Permanent Forum members to meet with local ministries, diplomatic missions, the UN Country Team, as well as indigenous peoples organizations and civil society organizations. 

During their consultations with indigenous peoples, Forum members were informed on the continuing problems of discrimination and marginalization. Indigenous representatives described the problems they face in accessing schools and universities and getting jobs. Indigenous women spoke of the lack of maternal and child care, and difficulties encountered while giving birth in forests. 

The Forum members met with parliamentarians, and with government officials, including the Minister of Forests, and offered different examples to overcome the persistent challenges faced by the indigenous peoples.  

They also met with UN agencies and other partners who provided information on various projects and programmes developed within the framework of the national action plan on the improvement of the quality of life of indigenous peoples. 

The Forum members also highlighted the upcoming World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, to be organized by the UN General Assembly in September 2014, as an opportunity to define a global action plan to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  They encouraged the Republic of Congo to be engaged in this process.  

“The Republic of Congo has taken a key step in adopting Law No 5-2011 on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Indigenous Populations”, said Grand Chief Edward John, UNPFII Chair, “your country is a leader in Africa on indigenous peoples’ rights. We hope other countries will be inspired to follow this good practice.” The key challenge now is to implement the law, he added. 

The 12th session will take place on 20 – 31 May 2013.

For more information:
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues