25 September 2014

Pacific Caucus at World Conference on Indigenous Peoples calls for implementation of international commitments on decolonisation

World Conference on Indigenous People

Statement of the Pacific IP Caucus

High Level Plenary Meeting of the 69th Session
of the United Nations General Assembly

World Conference
on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP)
United Nations Headquarters
 New York, New York, 
September 22-23, 2014

Roundtable 2: Implementing the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
at the national and local level


"The U.N. has the responsibility and obligation to intervene, to be active facilitators in movement towards decolonization..."

The Pacific Caucus supports the implementation of all actions and commitments made by states as put forth on the WCIP Outcome Document and looks forward to the role of the senior U.N. official for raising at the highest possible level increased awareness of the rights of indigenous peoples.  

Nonetheless, we also implore the United Nations to hold member states accountable for honoring its commitments to indigenous peoples as agreed upon in the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  

For example, Guahan in the Marianas Islands of Micronesia has been on the U.N. list of Non-Self Governing Territories (NSGTs) since it was created in 1946.  The island’s administering power, the United States, has yet to facilitate the opportunity for Chamorros to exercise their right to self-determination and achieve a full measure of self-government. 

While the U.N. Committee on Decolonization or the C-24 has heard testimony by Chamorros for three generations, the United States has not participated in the process and is absent for all meetings on the Question of Guam. 

In this case, the U.N. has the responsibility and obligation to intervene, to be active facilitators in movement towards decolonization, to sanction the United States for failing to honor its commitments as set forth in U.N. Resolution 1514, and ultimately to uphold Chamorros' most sacred Right to Self-Determination. Other Pacific NSGTs also trapped in this process include the lands of Tokelau, Maohi Nui, and the Kanaky.

A second recommendation as we move towards the implementation of the WCIP Outcome Document is for the United Nations to consider the broader inclusion of issues and rights that are not explicitly detailed in the UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) or the WCIP (World Conference on Indigenous Peoples) Outcome Document. 

For example, the issue of the militarization of our lands, territories, and resources has been a long standing struggle impacting the lives of indigenous peoples. Living alongside military presence has resulted in land dispossession, poor health outcomes, and genocide.  

Free prior and informed consent was not given by Pacific peoples, as in the case of Chamorros in the Mariana Islands and the Kanaka Maoli of Hawai'i. This is especially dangerous in the context of the United States' Pacific Pivot towards our region as it postures against China. The heavy military presence in our lands, waters, and air has compromised our very ways of life and sustainability on this planet. So while states turn their heads away from the issue of militarization; they must still consider it in the broader context of the protection of lands, territories, and resources.

In addition, the Pacific Caucus calls upon the U.N. to require states to develop plans of action to implement the WCIP Outcome Document.  We also recommend that the United Nations schedule a follow-up conference to this effort within the next few years to receive updates on the implementation process from states and indigenous peoples.   

In closing, the Pacific Caucus is grateful for participation in this historic process and looks forward to future movement towards the realization of our indigenous rights at the local, national, and global levels.