TEGUCIGALPA / GENEVA (12 November 2015) – United Nations human rights expert Victoria Tauli-Corpuz warned about the critical situation faced by indigenous peoples in Honduras regarding their land and natural resources rights, as well as their lack of access to justice, education and health. She also expressed concern about the general environment of violence and impunity affecting many indigenous communities.
"A fundamental problem faced by indigenous peoples is the lack of full recognition, protection and enjoyment of their rights to ancestral lands, territories and natural resources," said the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples at the end of her first official visit [*] to the country.
Tegucigalpa, 10 November 2015. "I am now concluding my visit to Honduras in my capacity as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. Over the last nine days, I have met with national, departmental and municipal government authorities, indigenous peoples, civil society organizations and the private sector in several parts of the country. I held meetings with representatives of indigenous peoples, communities and organizations in Tegucigalpa, Puerto Lempira, Auka, Rio Blanco, La Esperanza and La Ceiba. This included meetings with representatives of the Lenca, Maya Chorti, Nahua, Tolupan, Garifuna, Pech, Tawahka and Miskito peoples."
"Over the past several days, I have collected a significant amount of information from indigenous peoples and Government representatives. "
"In the following weeks, I will be reviewing the extensive information I have received during the visit in order to develop a report to evaluate the situation of indigenous peoples in Honduras and to make a series of recommendations. This report will be made public, and will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council. I hope that it will be of use to the indigenous peoples, as well as to the Government of Honduras, to help find solutions to ongoing challenges that indigenous peoples face in the country. In advance of this report, I would like to now provide some preliminary observations and recommendations on the basis of what I have observed during my visit. These do not reflect the full range of issues that were brought to my attention, nor do they reflect all of the initiatives on the part of the Honduras government. "
GENEVA / TEGUCIGALPA (30 October 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, will carry out her first official visit to Honduras from 2 to 10 November 2015 to study the situation of indigenous peoples in the country.
“During my mission, I will explore the issue of land rights and access to natural resources, the impact of conservation, extractive, energy and development initiatives on indigenous peoples’ lands, as well as issues related to violence, access to justice and social and economic development,” said Ms. Tauli-Corpuz.
"I hope this visit will help raise awareness of the problems that indigenous peoples living in Honduras face on a daily basis and which remain largely ignored,” said Ms. Tauli-Corpuz, who also noted that this will be the first time that an independent expert tasked by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor, report and advise on indigenous peoples' rights will be visiting the country.
“My visit is also about promoting solutions so indigenous peoples can effectively enjoy their collective and individual human rights,” she said.
During her nine-day visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with Government officials, indigenous representatives and civil society organizations in Tegucigalpa. She will also travel to the Puerto Lempira, Auka, La Esperanza, Rio Blanco and La Ceiba where she will meet local government representatives and indigenous organizations to explore issues related to the protection of their lands, natural resources and livelihoods.
At the end of her mission, on Tuesday 10 November, Ms. Tauli-Corpuz will present her preliminary findings at a press conference that will be held in the morning (time to be confirmed) in Hotel Plaza del Conquistador, Plaza San Martin, in Tegucigalpa.
The Special Rapporteur will submit a full report to the UN Human Rights Council with her conclusions and recommendations on the issues studied during her mission in March 2016.
La Relatora Especial de las Naciones Unidas Sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, realizará una visita oficial a Honduras del 2 al 10 de noviembre de 2015 para estudiar la situación de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas en el país. Se trata de la primera visita que realiza a Honduras una experta independiente encargada por el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU de monitorear, informar y asesorar sobre los derechos de los pueblos indígenas en todo el mundo.
Durante su visita la Relatora Especial se reunirá con representantes de los pueblos indígenas, con autoridades y funcionarios del Estado de Honduras, y organizaciones de la sociedad civil.
Al final de su misión, el martes 10 de noviembre, la Sra Tauli-Corpuz presentará sus conclusiones preliminares en una conferencia de prensa. La Relatora Especial presentará en 2016 un informe al Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU con sus conclusiones y recomendaciones sobre los temas estudiados durante la misión.
GENEVA (22 October 2015) – In anopen statement (*) published today, a group of United Nations human rights experts have expressed their strong support for the efforts by governments in Latin America and the Caribbean to agree on a regional legal instrument on rights of access to information, participation, and justice in environmental matters.
“Sustainable development and human rights are interrelated,” said the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John Knox, as 20 country members of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), representing more than 500 million people, prepare for the next round of negotiations from 27-29 October in Panama City.
[New York, October 20, 2015.] "I have the honor to present today my second report to the General Assembly." "I dedicate the thematic section of the present report to an analysis of international investment agreements and investment clauses of free trade regimes and their impacts on the rights of indigenous peoples."
"The present report also highlights my analysis of the unjust elements of the prevailing system of global economic and financial governance and the constriction of the protective capacity of States and local governance systems. It discusses how indigenous peoples, as some of the most marginalized in the world, bear a disproportionate burden of a system that contains systemic imbalances between the enforcement of corporate investors’ rights and human rights."
The present report is submitted to the General Assembly by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples pursuant to her mandate under Human Rights Council resolution 27/13.In the report, the Special Rapporteur provides a summary of her activities since her last report to the General Assembly.
She dedicates the thematic section of the present report to an analysis of international investment agreements and investment clauses of free trade regimes and their impacts on the rights of indigenous peoples. She views the present report as the starting point for that issue, which she intends to be of continuing importance throughout the course of her mandate.
The Special Rapporteur contends that investment clauses of free trade agreements and bilateral and multilateral investment treaties, as they are currently conceptualized and implemented, have actual and potential negative impacts on indigenous peoples' rights, in particular on their rights to self-determination; lands, territories and resources; participation; and free, prior and informed consent.
"This year marks the continuation of a historic year for indigenous peoples. It is the year in which negotiations for the post-2015 development agenda and a new agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will be finalized. Today we celebrate the first anniversary of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples and the Outcome Document adopted by consensus by Member-States of the UN General Assembly. The report I present before you is my contribution in elaborating further what needs to be done to better implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which is the main goal of the WCIP Outcome Document. This document asked for a study on the root causes and consequences of violence against indigenous women and girls, which is why I made an initial study on this and I will be presenting on shortly."
GENEVA (22 September 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, and on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst, today called on the Philippines Government to launch a full and independent investigation into the killings of three human rights defenders in Surigao del Sur, Mindanao, which is currently affected by armed conflicts.
One of the human rights defenders killed was the director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Development (ALCADEV), a school providing education to indigenous youth who live in the mountains and service communities in the CARAGA region. He was found murdered in one of the ALCADEV classrooms in the town of Sitio Han-ayan on 1 September.
The present report is submitted to the Human Rights Council by the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples pursuant to her mandate under Council resolutions 15/14 and 24/9. The Special Rapporteur provides a summary of her activities since her previous report to the Council (A/HRC/27/52) and undertakes a thematic analysis of violations against indigenous women and girls.
Indigenous women experience a broad, multifaceted and complex spectrum of mutually reinforcing human rights abuses. The present report is a study on the situation of indigenous women globally. It focuses on the common themes and patterns experienced by indigenous women across all regions.
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz's report to the Human Rights Council examines the state of indigenous women's rights around the world.
A new report by UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz concludes that indigenous women experience extremely high rates of sexual violence, trafficking, domestic violence, and gender based killings. It has been estimated that one in three indigenous women are raped during their lifetimes.
States are sometimes complicit in these violations. The report states that "military officials may perpetrate sexual violence as a weapon to weaken the resolve of indigenous communities in militarized disputes over land and resources." In Fiji, India, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and Timor-Leste, militarized conflict over indigenous land has led to gang-rape, sexual enslavement, and the murder of tribal women. In both Canada and the United States, indigenous women are significantly more likely to be raped or murdered than non-indigenous women.
HEMAVAN / GENEVA (28 August 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, today expressed concern at the land rights situation of the Sami people in Finland, Norway and Sweden, given the increased drive to extract and develop minerals and set up renewable energy projects in the Sápmi region.
"For the Sami people, securing rights over their land and natural resources is fundamental to their self-determination and a prerequisite for them to be able to continue to exist as a distinct people," the human rights expert said at the end of a special conference organized by the Sami Parliamentary Council and hosted in Hemavan, Sweden from August 25-27.
Ms. Tauli-Corpuz's participation at the conference was considered an official visit to the traditional region of the Sami people, who continue to live within their territories spanning the formal boundaries of several States.
GENEVA (24 August 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, will assess the human rights situation of the Sami people in Finland, Sweden and Norway at a three day conference organized by the Sami Parliamentary Council and hosted in Hemavan, Sweden from August 25-27, 2015.
Ms. Tauli-Corpuz's participation at the conference is considered an official visit to the traditional region of the Sami people, who continue to live within their territories spanning the formal boundaries of several States.
"This visit offers a unique opportunity to assess key issues affecting Sami people across the Sápmi region, including their rights to self-determination and to land, water and natural resources, as well as matters involving children and youth, such as education and language," she said.
GINEBRA (24 de agosto de 2015) – La Relatora Especial de la ONU para los derechos de los pueblos indígenas, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, exhortó a la calma y al diálogo en Ecuador ante los violentos enfrentamientos que se vienen produciendo desde el 10 de agosto, cuando se iniciaron las movilizaciones sociales convocadas por la Confederación de las Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE), que aglutina a todas las nacionalidades y pueblos indígenas del país.
"Es necesario que se restablezca la calma en Ecuador", señaló la Sra. Tauli-Corpuz. "Hago un llamado a todas las partes involucradas a generar un espacio institucional de diálogo en el que se pueda analizar las demandas que originaron la convocatoria del paro nacional, de forma constructiva, en profundidad y de buena fe".
Según se ha informado, los enfrentamientos comenzaron tras la declaración de un paro nacional convocado por la CONAIE en defensa de una serie de demandas de las comunidades indígenas, entre las que se incluye la educación intercultural bilingüe.
GENEVA (11 August 2015) – United Nations independent expert Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has urged the Government of Brazil “to ensure that the human rights of the Guarani and Kaiowá indigenous people are fully respected, in strict compliance with international standards protecting the rights of indigenous peoples.”
The Special Rapporteur on the rights of the indigenous peoples expressed deep concern about reports that police are poised to forcibly evict Guarani and Kaiowá indigenous people from their Tekohas (traditional lands), in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul, in Western Brazil. Some 6,000 indigenous people are refusing to leave their Tekohas, and have warned they plan to resist the eviction ‘until death.’
International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, 9 August 2015. Statement of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
"As we celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples this 9th of August 2015, we look back into what has been achieved the past years and envisage what can be done for the future."
"Let us all celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples by demonstrating our collective political will to address the serious implementation gap in relation to the UN Declaration and the ILO Convention No. 169. Long live the indigenous peoples all over the world!"
The UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples Rights, Ms Victoria Tauli Corpuz, addresses the 8th session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) under Agenda item 3: Follow-up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, including the review of the mandate of the Expert Mechanism.
She said, "After the historic World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) held last year, this year's session is a good opportunity to visit the Outcome Document and see which among the commitments agreed to are moving or have great potentials of being implemented at the national and global levels."
"It is almost going to be a year since its adoption and this is an opportune time to see the trends as far as its implementation is moving. One other reason for revisiting this historic document is that this year, 2015, the UN is going to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals. The contributions and operationalization of the WCIP Outcome Document will be very important in ensuring that indigenous peoples will not be left behind in the implementation of these SDGs"
The Special Rapporteur, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, will hold individual meetings with representatives of indigenous peoples and organizations during the eighth annual meeting of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva. Representatives of indigenous peoples and organizations may request a meeting with her with regard to matters that fall within her mandate, including allegations of human rights violations.
The meetings will be held on the afternoons of Tuesday 21 July and Thursday 23 July.
GENEVA (7 July 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, today urged the Government of Belize to ensure respect for the rights of the country's Maya people to non-discrimination and traditional property.
"Under international human rights standards, indigenous peoples have the right to use, develop and also to control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership," Ms. Tauli-Corpuz emphasized.
The independent expert's call comes after the arrest of 12 Maya people and local leaders charged with unlawful imprisonment for their actions to remove a non-Maya individual, Rupert Myles, from their village lands. Mr. Myles was allegedly building a housing structure on ancient Maya ruins in the village of Santa Cruz, in violation of Maya customary law and apparently despite repeated requests for the removal of the structure.
"Indigenous peoples have been at the forefront of discussions regarding the human rights abuses committed by corporations since the 1970s. For decades, indigenous peoples have been victims of corporate activities in or near their traditional territories, which have depleted and polluted their traditional territories without their consent, putting many peoples at the verge of cultural or physical extinction. Today, little has changed in relation to this situation."
"The adoption by the Human Rights Council Resolution 26/9, establishing this Working Group represents a significant development. The United Nations responded to calls from around the world, including the persistent appeals of indigenous peoples, to strengthen the architecture of international human rights law in order to adapt further to the challenges posed by corporate-related human rights abuses."