Jul 21, 2004

Statement by Ambassador Ronald Barnes, Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition


Untitled Document
Statement by Ambassador Ronald Barnes
Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition

We are near the end of the "only" international decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples. The Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition supports the initiative for a second decade of the World's Indigenous Peoples. As we end this decade we have yet to realize a United Nations instrument that gives substantive recognition and protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples to protect the violations of their human rights.

As an attribute to combat impunity, implementation procedures must be discussed to develop concrete methods to insure that there is a substantive following-up plan for the recommendations that are the result of Indigenous meetings. It would be helpful if Member States, UN agencies and Indigenous Peoples work on a substantive plan to provide a mechanism to realize the aspirations and needs of Indigenous Peoples.

Such a discussion would include ways and means to overcome the obstacles such as the territorial integrity principle and the non-interference principle that States invoke as a means of evading obligations under the Charter of the United Nations or the obligations undertaken as signatories of international treaties.

This is an issue that probably needs to be studied at the Sub-Commission level bearing in mind that Indigenous Peoples are virtually denied remedy for human rights violations. We need to make a clear distinction of where Article 2(7) of the UN Charter regarding the non-interference principle and the territorial integrity principle can be invoked.

The territorial integrity principle and the non-interference principle are used loosely by States to evade international obligation both under the Charter of the United Nations and under international human rights obligations. This has been detrimental for resolving legal and political conflicts that States assert are only within the sphere of their domestic jurisdiction. It would be helpful to all parties if there were a guideline to assist in determining what is domestic and what is of international concern and what can be invoked to bar States from claiming the principle of "interference within a state".

Ambassador Ronald Barnes
Indigenous Peoples and Nations Coalition
P. 0. Box 111
Dillingham, Alaska 99576
Email: rfbipnc@hotmail.com