29 April 2008

Indigenous Pacific Expresses Views on Decolonisation

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII) was established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 2000 to address a range of concerns affecting indigenous peoples in economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights. The Seventh Session of the Permanent Forum convened from 21st April to 2nd May 2008 at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

A half-day session on Issues Related to Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific was held on 23rd April which focused on a number of themes including climate change and the Pacific, migration, urbanization, development and human rights. A comprehensive paper was presented by Ms. Mililani B. Trask, Director of the Indigenous World Association, on behalf of a coalition of Pacific and Caribbean indigenous organisations. The presentation addressed the present crisis stemming from the lack of implementation by the United Nations of its international obligations in decolonising the remaining non self-governing territories.

It is to be recalled that the U.N. General Assembly by Resolution 62/118 of 17 December 2007 for the third consecutive year:

“Request(ed) the Special Committee to collaborate with the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, within the framework of their respective mandates, with the aim of exchanging information on developments in those Non-Self-Governing Territories which are reviewed by those bodies.”
No action on this resolution has thus far been taken. OTR has consistently observed, with much regret, the lack of implementation of the U.N. mandate on decolonisation. We are therefore pleased to reprint the collective views of the Pacific indigenous community, supported by organisations in the Caribbean including Puerto Rico, in the May, 2008 edition of our publication Overseas Territories Review OTR. Copies are available by contacting the editors at overseasreview@yahoo.com .