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Rights of Indigenous Peoples not “sincerely” implemented in ASEAN

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apf.jpgDespite adoption
of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in
September 2007 by all ASEAN countries, civil society organisations claim that
there is a lack of "sincere implementation" of the declaration in the region.

governments do not recognise the existence of indigenous peoples, even if they
voted for the adoption of the UNDRIP. But we (indigenous peoples) should be
recognised as a community of peoples with rights over our lands", said Jose
Molintas, a member of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples.

Molintas added that
the declaration contains the rights of all indigenous peoples, such as the
right to self determination.

The issue was
highlighted at the workshop "Promoting Indigenous Peoples Rights in the ASEAN"
during the ASEAN Peoples' Forum, held in Bangkok from 20-22 February 2009. It
was organised by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact Foundation (AIPP) <>, in cooperation with FORUM-ASIA
and the Network of Indigenous Peoples in Thailand (NIPT).

The five panelists
also discussed about indigenous people's resolution for the ASEAN human rights body
during the workshop. The resolution was drafted in October last year by experts
and representatives of indigenous peoples from the ASEAN countries. The
resolution proposes the establishment of a Sub-Committee on Indigenous Peoples
to promote the rights of indigenous peoples in accordance to the UNDRIP, and
conduct relevant studies on the concept of indigenous peoples in the ASEAN,
among other tasks.

"This human
rights mechanism should have members that represent the interest of the
indigenous peoples and the implementation of its programmes should be done on
the ground through the conduct of on-site visits", said Daniel Collinge, Office
of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Some of the recommendations
made in the workshop were included in the statement submitted to ASEAN government
leaders during their summit after the forum.

The Asia
Indigenous Peoples Pact Foundation (AIPP) is a regional member-based network of indigenous
peoples' organisations. It was established in 1988 to strengthen cooperation
and solidarity among indigenous peoples in Asia.