Report of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations on its Fourteenth Session to the Commission on Human Rights Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities - July-August 1996
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DOCUMENT: REPORT14.TXT


                    U N I T E D    N A T I O N S

     Economic and Social Council            ENGLISH
     Distr.                                 Original: ENGLISH
     GENERAL
     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21                   GE. 96-13447 (E)
     16 August 1996


     COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

     Sub-Commission on Prevention of
     Discrimination and Protection of Minorities

     Forty-eighth session
     Agenda item 14


               DISCRIMINATION AGAINST INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

         Report of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations
                       on its fourteenth session
                   (Geneva, 29 July - 2 August 1996)

            Chairperson-Rapporteur: Ms. Erica-Irene A. Daes

                               CONTENTS

                                                PARAGRAPHS   PAGE

     Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    1 - 17      3

     I.   GENERAL DEBATE  . . . . . . . . . . .   18 - 25     10

     II.  EVOLUTION OF STANDARDS CONCERNING
          THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES  . .   26 - 45     12

     III. REVIEW OF DEVELOPMENTS PERTAINING TO
          THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN
          RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS OF
          INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS . . . .  . . .   46 - 108    16

          A. General  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   46 - 76     16
          B. Health . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   77 - 108    22

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21
     page 2

                         CONTENTS (continued)
                                                PARAGRAPHS   PAGE

     IV.  CONSIDERATION OF A PERMANENT FORUM 
          FOR INDIGENOUS PEOPLE . . . . . . . .  109 - 121    31
     
     V.   INTERNATIONAL DECADE OF THE WORLD'S 
          INDIGENOUS PEOPLE . . . . . . . . . .  122 - 136    33
     
     VI.  STUDY ON TREATIES, AGREEMENTS AND 
          OTHER CONSTRUCTIVE ARRANGEMENTS 
          BETWEEN STATES AND INDIGENOUS 
          POPULATIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . .  137 - 145    36

     VII. OTHER MATTERS . . . . . . . . . . . .  146 - 150    37
     
          A. Meetings and seminars  . . . . . .  146 - 149    37
          B. Voluntary Fund for Indigenous 
             Populations  . . . . . . . . . . .     150       38
     
     VIII. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS. . .  151 - 180    38
     
           A. Standard-setting  . . . . . . . .  151 - 155    38
           B. Review of developments  . . . . .  156 - 163    39
           C. Permanent Forum . . . . . . . . .  164 - 166    40
           D. International Decade of the 
              World's Indigenous People . . . .  167 - 172    40
           E. Treaty study  . . . . . . . . . .  173 - 175    41
           F. Meetings, conferences and 
              other matters . . . . . . . . . .  176 - 180    42


     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 3  

                             INTRODUCTION

     MANDATE

     1. The creation of the Working Group on Indigenous 
     Populations was proposed by the Sub-Commission on Prevention 
     of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in its 
     resolution 2 (XXXIV) of 8 September 1981, endorsed by the 
     Commission on Human Rights in its resolution 1982/19 of 10 
     March 1982, and authorized by the Economic and Social 
     Council in its resolution 1982/34 of 7 May 1982. In that 
     resolution the Council authorized the Sub-Commission to 
     establish annually a working group to meet in order to:  

          (a) Review developments pertaining to the promotion and 
     protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of 
     indigenous populations, including information requested by 
     the Secretary-General annually from Governments, specialized 
     agencies, regional intergovernmental organizations and non-
     governmental organizations in consultative status, 
     particularly those of indigenous peoples, to analyse such 
     materials, and to submit its conclusions to the Sub-
     Commission, bearing in mind in particular the conclusions 
     and recommendations contained in the report of the Special 
     Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission, Mr. Jose R. Martinez Cobo, 
     entitled "Study of the problem of discrimination against 
     indigenous populations" (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1986/7 and Add. 1-4);  

          (b) Give special attention to the evolution of 
     standards concerning the rights of indigenous populations, 
     taking account of both the similarities and the differences 
     in the situations and aspirations of indigenous populations 
     throughout the world.  

     2. In addition to the review of developments and the 
     evolution of standards, which are separate items on the 
     Working Group's agenda, the Group has over the years 
     considered a number of other issues relating to indigenous 
     rights. The Commission on Human Rights in its resolution 
     1996/40 of 19 April 1996 welcomed the proposal of the 
     Working Group to highlight at its fourteenth session the 
     question of indigenous people and health as a sub-item of 
     the item dealing with the review of developments. In the 
     same resolution, the Commission requested that a discussion 
     on the concept of indigenous people take place during the 
     fourteenth session of the Working Group and also invited the 
     Working Group to include in its future work the review of 
     international activities undertaken during the International 
     Decade of the World's Indigenous People and to receive 
     information from Governments on the implementation of the 
     goals of the Decade in their respective countries, in 
     accordance with paragraph 16 of the annex to General 
     Assembly resolution 50/157 of 21 December 1995. Furthermore, 
     the Commission on Human Rights, in resolution 1996/41 of 19 
     April 1996, requested the Working Group to continue to give 
     priority consideration to the possible establishment of a 
     permanent forum for indigenous people and to submit its 
     further comments and suggestions, through the Sub-
     Commission, to the Commission at its fifty-third session. 
     Finally, in decision 1996/109 of 19 April 1996, the 
     Commission requested the Special Rapporteur on the study on 
     treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements 
     between States and indigenous populations, 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 4  

     Mr. Miguel Alfonso Martinez, to submit a third report to the 
     Working Group at its fourteenth session. All these questions 
     were included in the provisional agenda prepared by the 
     Secretariat.  

     PARTICIPATION IN THE SESSION 

     3. In its decision 1995/119 of 25 August 1995, the Sub-
     Commission decided on the following composition of the 
     Working Group at its fourteenth session: Mr. Miguel Alfonso 
     Martinez, Mr. Volodymyr Boutkevitch, Ms. Erica-Irene A. 
     Daes, Mr. El-Hadji Guisse and Mr. Ribot Hatano.  

     4. The session was attended by Mr. Alfonso Martinez, Mr. 
     Boutkevitch, Ms. Daes, Mr. Guisse and Mr. Hatano.  

     5. The following States Members of the United Nations were 
     represented by observers: Algeria, Argentina, Australia, 
     Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, 
     Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, 
     Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Greece, Guatemala, 
     India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Japan, Kenya, Libyan 
     Arab Jamahiriya, Malaysia, Mexico, Myanmar, Nepal,  
     Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, 
     Philippines, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Sri 
     Lanka, Sweden, Ukraine, United States of America.  

     6. The following non-member States were represented by 
     observers: Holy See and Switzerland.  

     7. The following United Nations bodies and specialized 
     agencies were also represented by observers: Joint United 
     Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS  (UNAIDS), Secretariat of the 
     Convention on Biological Diversity, Office of the United 
     Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, United Nations 
     Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, 
     United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural 
     Organization, United Nations Human Rights Verification 
     Mission in Guatemala, International Labour Office, World 
     Health Organization and World Bank.  

     8. The following regional and intergovernmental 
     organizations were represented by observers: European 
     Parliament and Pan American Health Organization.  

     9. The following national institution was also represented 
     by an observer: Human Rights and Equal Opportunity 
     (Australia).  

     10. The following indigenous non-governmental organizations 
     in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council 
     were also represented by observers:  

     (a) ORGANIZATIONS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES 

          Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, Grand 
     Council of the Crees  (Quebec), Indian Law Resource Center, 
     Indigenous World Association, International Indian Treaty 
     Council, International Organization of Indigenous  

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 5  

     Resource Development, Inuit Circumpolar Conference, National 
     Aboriginal and Islander Legal Services Secretariat, Saami 
     Council and World Council of Indigenous Peoples.  

     (b) OTHER ORGANIZATIONS 

     GENERAL CONSULTATIVE STATUS 

     International Movement ATD Quart Monde World Conference on 
     Religion and Peace, World Wide Fund for Nature International.  

     SPECIAL CONSULTATIVE STATUS 

          African Commission of Health and Human Rights Promoters, 
     Amnesty International, Anti-Slavery International, Baha'i 
     International Community, Commission of the Churches on 
     International Affairs of the World Council of Churches, 
     Friends World Committee for Consultation, Human Rights 
     Advocates, International Centre for Human Rights and 
     Democratic Development, International League for the Rights 
     and Liberation of Peoples, International Organization for 
     the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 
     International Service for Human Rights, International Work 
     Group for Indigenous Affairs, Minority Rights Group, North 
     South XXI, Oxfam, Society for Threatened Peoples, Women's 
     International League for Peace and Freedom, World Alliance 
     of Young Men's Christian Associations, World Student 
     Christian Federation and World University Service.  

     ROSTER 

          Foodfirst Information and Action Network - FIAN, 
     International Association of Educators for World Peace, 
     International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination 
     and Racism.  

     11. The following indigenous peoples' organizations and 
     nations, as well as other organizations and groups, were 
     represented at the session and provided information to the 
     Working Group with its consent:  

     Aborigen Kamchathi, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance 
     Northern Territory, Aboriginal Provisional Government, 
     Aboriginal Work Committee of the Presbyterian Church, 
     Agencia Internacional de Prensa Indigena, Akhil Bharatiya 
     Adivasi Vikas Prishad, Ainu National Congress, All Buryat 
     Association for Culture Development, Alliance of Taiwan 
     Indigenous Culture, American Indian Law Alliance, Anti-
     Racism Information Service, Anyinginyi Congress Aboriginal 
     Corporation, Arravalli Adarsha Adivasi Farmers, Asamblea 
     Nacional Indigena Plural por la Autonomia, Asia Indigenous 
     Peoples Pact, Asociacion Aucan - Pueblo Mapuche, Asociacion 
     Indigena de la Republica Argentina, Asociacion Indigena 
     Urbana Pacha-Aru, Asociacion Napguana de Panama, Asociacion 
     Programa de Salud Indigena, Assembly of First Nations, 
     Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Association Aymara People, 
     Association des Femmes Touareg Refugiees au Burkina Faso, 
     Association de Soutien aux Nations Amerindiennes, 
     Association d' Information et Documentation sur l'Amerique 
     Indienne, Association Germe, Association Nouvelle pour la 
     Culture et des Arts Populaire (Amazigh), Association Mapuche 
     People, Association Mondiale des Scientifiques Autochtones, 
     Association of Indigenous Peoples of Chukotka, Association 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 6  

     of Indigenous Small Peoples of the North Yamal-Nenets 
     Autonomous District, Association of Protestant Churches and 
     Missions, Association of Taiwan Plains Aborigines, 
     Association of the Shorski People, Association Tohil Morales 
     Quech Le Maya Ac'alabri, Associazione Culturale l'Altro 
     Baobab, Atoka Diffusions, Big Mountain Action Group, Boro 
     Women Justice Forum, Bowie State University, Bureau of 
     Indigenous and Minorities, Cactus Valley/Redwillow Spring 
     Communities, Canadian Friends Service Committee, Canadian 
     Indigenous Womens Resource Institute, Carib Committee for 
     Justice, Central Land Council, Central Zone, Centro Afro-
     Brasileiro de Estudos e Pesquisas Culturales, Centro de 
     Documentazione Etnie, Centro de Estudios Juridicos e 
     Investigacion Social, Centro de Estudios Pluriculturales, 
     Centro de Informacion y Derechos de los Pueblos Indigenas, 
     Chinese Public Television Service, Chin Human Rights 
     Organization, Chin National Front - Chinland, Chittagong 
     Hill Tracts Organization, Civic United Front, Comision de 
     Asuntos Indigenas de la Camara de Diputadas, Comision de 
     Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos del Pueblo Maya, 
     Comision Internacional de Derechos Indigenas de Sudamerica, 
     Comision Juridica de los Pueblos de Integracion 
     Tawantinsuyana, Comite Belge - Amerique indienne, Comite de 
     Defensa de los Derechos del Pueblo, Comite Social des 
     Chagossiens, Common Ground, Comunidade Indigena Tremembe de 
     Almofala, Confederacion Indigena de Sud America, Confederacy 
     of Treaty Six First Nations, Congres Mondial Amazigh,  
     Conseil des Bandes, Consejo de Mallkus y Amantas de 
     Qollasuyo, Consejo de Todas las Tierras Mapuche Wali 
     Mapuche, Consejo Guerrerense 500 Anos de Resistencia 
     Indigena, Consejo Inter-Regional Mapuche, Consejo Nacional 
     de Medicos Indigenas Tradicionales, Consejo Pueblo Indigena, 
     Consejo Tradicional de Pueblos Indios de Sowora, Cooperativa 
     Tecnico Scientifica di Base, Coordinacion de Organizaciones 
     Mapuches Newuen-Mapu, Coordinacion de Pueblos Indigenas de 
     Centro y Sud America, Coordinadora Ayllu, Coordinadora de 
     Organizaciones y Naciones Indigenas del Continente, 
     Coordinadora Kaqchikel de Desarrollo Integral, Cordenacao 
     das Organizacoes Indigenas da Amazonia, Cordillera Peoples 
     Alliance, Consejo Regional Indigena del Cauca, Dakota Tipi 
     First Nations, Democratic Progressive Party Taiwan, 
     Demarcation, Dene Nation, Documentation Centre on Indigenous 
     Peoples (DOCIP), Earth Action, Education International, 
     Elder's Council of Shorski People, Ermineskin Cree Nation, 
     Escuela Maya de Derechos Humanos Ixem-Che, Espacio 
     Afroamericano, Ethnic Conflicts Research Programme,  
     European Alliance with Indigenous People, Faira Aboriginal 
     Corporation, Federacion Indigena y Campesina de Imbanbura, 
     Federacion Interprovincial de Centros Shuar-Achuar, 
     Federation des Organisations Amerindiennes de Guyane,  
     Finno-Ugric People's Consultation Committee, Fondation 
     Cabinda Libre, Fondazione Internazionale Lelio Basso per il 
     Diritto e la Liberazione dei Popoli, Foundation Temereng 
     Surinam Indigenous Council, Four Nations of Hobbema, Fourth 
     World Indigenous Youth Conference, Free Kurdistan, Friends 
     of People Close to Nature, Fundacion Iriria, Fundacion de 
     Pueblos Indigenas, Fundacion Raices, Goteborgs 
     Stadsbibliotek, Gran Fraternidad Universal, Griqua National 
     Conference of South Africa, Grupo Mulher Indigena, 
     Guatemalteca Indigena Promotora de Salud, Guyanese 
     Organization of Indigenous Peoples, Hmong People  - Lao 
     Human Rights Council, Homeland Mission 1950 Maluku, 
     Humanitarian Law Project, Humanity Foundation, Humanity 
     Protection Forum, Ikatan Cendekiawan Tanimbar Indonesia, 
     Incomindios, Indian Confederation of Indigenous and Tribal 
     Peoples, Indigenous Knowledge Programme, Indigenous Peoples 
     Program - Bank Information Center, Indigenous Women 
     Aboriginal Corporation, Innu Nation, Insaf, Institute for 
     Ecology and Action Anthropology, Instituto pare el 
     Desarrollo y Apoyo a las Secciones del Sur, International 
     Alliance of Indigenous Tribal Peoples of  

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 7  

     the Tropical Forests, International Human Rights Association 
     for American Minorities, International Scholars for 
     Indigenous Americans, International Third World Legal 
     Studies Association, Intworlsa, Tonantzin Land Institute 
     Jharkhand Organisation for Human Rights, Jumma Peoples 
     Network, Ka la-Hui Hawai'i, Kanaka Maoli, Kashmir Democratic 
     Forum, Kimberley Land Council, Kanaka Maoli Tribunal Komike, 
     Kinnapa Development Programme, Kirat Koyu Rais' Uplifting 
     Association, Kula Inc. Society for Cooperative Cultural 
     Science, Kwanlin Dun First Nation, Kwia Flemish Support 
     Group for Indigenous People, Kyushu Women's University & Jr. 
     College, Lakota Nation, Lauravetl'an Foundation, League of 
     Indigenous Sovereign Nations, Leonard Peltier Defense 
     Committee, Louis Bull Cree Nation, Maa Development 
     Association, Mandat International, Mapuche International 
     Link, Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Mena Nuria 
     Foundation, Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs, Montagnard 
     Foundation, Montagnard Dega Association, Movement for the 
     Survival of the Ogoni People, Movimiento de la Juventud 
     Kuna, Movimiento Indio Tawantinsuyu, Movimiento Indio Tupay 
     Amaru, Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights, Naga Vigil 
     Human Rights Group, National Aboriginal Community Controlled 
     Health, National Chicano Human Rights Council, National 
     Democratic Front, National Socialist Council of Nagaland, 
     Nenets People, Nepal Federation of Nationalities, 
     Netherlands Centre for Indigenous Peoples, New South Wales 
     Aboriginal Land Council, Nitassinan Csia, Northern Land 
     Council, Nyae-Nyae Farmers Co-operative, Office of Tibet, 
     Organizacion Amaro Runa, Organizacion de Mujeres Aymaras del 
     Kollasuyo, Organization for Survival of Il-Laikipiak 
     Indigenous Maasai Group Initiatives, Organizacion Indigena 
     de Antioquia, Organizacion Regional de las Mujeres 
     Indigenas, Organization of Indigenous Peoples in Suriname, 
     Pacific Asia Council of Indigenous Peoples, Pa-o Peoples 
     Liberation Organization, Peabody Watch Arizona, Pemuda 
     R.M.S. Maluku, Pro-Kanaka Madi Independence, Pueblos Indios, 
     Rehab Hope Fund, Rehoboth Community of Namibia, Ricerca e 
     Cooperazione, Rio Negro Komitee, Samson Cree Nation, Sasi, 
     Secretariat of National Aboriginal Islander Child Care, 
     Service Toureyho Temoust, Servicios del Pueblo A.C. Mixe, 
     Shan State Organization, Shimin Gaikou Centre, Sioux Nation, 
     Societe Internationale de Linguistique, Society of Pitcairn 
     Descendants Norfolk Island, Southern Kalahari Bushman Group, 
     Summer Institute of Linguistics, Susila Dharma 
     International, SSO, Tebteba Foundation, Temoust-Survie 
     Touaregue, Terra Nuova, Teton Sioux Nation Treaty Council, 
     Third World Movement Against the Exploitation of Women, 
     Torres Strait Regional Authority, Traditions pour Demain, 
     Tribal Act, Tribal Council - Treaty Four First Nations, 
     United Liberation Front of Asom, United National Liberation 
     Front of Manipur, Universite de Strasbourg/Centre de 
     Recherches Interdisciplinaires en Anthropologie, Universite 
     de Toulouse, Universite Laval, University Centre for 
     Development Cooperation, University of Copenhagen, 
     University of Keele, University of New Mexico, University of 
     Tromso, University of Victoria, University of Zurich, 
     Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organizations (UNPO), 
     Wannyala-Aetto Foundation, Washitaw de Dugdah Moundyah New 
     Iyet Oldest Indigenous People on Earth, West Papua Peoples' 
     Front, Wimsa, World Sindhi Congress, World Tamil's 
     Federation and Youth Resource Center on Human Rights.  

     12. In addition to the above-mentioned participants, 24 
     individual scholars, human rights experts and observers 
     attended the meetings. More than 721 people attended the 
     fourteenth session of the Working Group. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 8  

     DOCUMENTATION 

     13. The following documents were prepared for the fourteenth 
     session of the Working Group:  

          Provisional agenda (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/1);  

          Annotations to the provisional agenda 
          (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/1/Add.1);  

          Agenda (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/1/Rev.1);  

          Working paper by the Chairperson-Rapporteur, Ms. Erica-
          Irene A. Daes, on the concept of "indigenous people" 
          (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/2 and Add.1);  

          Note by the Secretariat on health and indigenous 
          peoples (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/3);  

          Information received from indigenous peoples' 
          organizations (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/3/Add.1-5) 

          International Decade of the World's Indigenous People: 
          Activities of the Centre for Human Rights, July 1995-
          June 1996 (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/4);  

          Consideration of a permanent forum for indigenous 
          people: note by the Secretariat 
          (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/5);  

          Compilation of extracts of declarations and programmes 
          of action pertaining to indigenous people from high-
          level United Nations conferences 
          (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/5/Add.1);  

          Conclusions and recommendations of United Nations 
          meetings of experts on issues relating to indigenous 
          people (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/5/Add.2);  

          Information received from indigenous peoples' 
          organizations (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/5/Add.4);  

          Report of the Expert Seminar on Practical Experience 
          Regarding Indigenous Land Rights and Claims, 
          Whitehorse, Canada, 24-28 March lg96 
          (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/6);  

          Report of the Expert Seminar on Practical Experience 
          Regarding Indigenous Land Rights and Claims, 
          Whitehorse, Canada, 24-28 March 1996, Background papers 
          (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/6/Add.1);  

          Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations: Note by the 
          Secretariat (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/7);  

          Review of developments pertaining to the promotion and 
          protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of 
          indigenous peoples: Information received from 
          indigenous peoples' and non-governmental organizations 
          (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/8); 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 9 

          Extracts from the Habitat Agenda, the Global Plan of 
          Action adopted by the second United Nations Conference 
          on Human Settlements (Istanbul, 3-14 June 1996) 
          (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/CRP.1);  

          A short guide to environmental and intellectual 
          property issues relating to indigenous peoples 
          (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/CRP.2);  

          List of organizations, prepared by the Secretariat 
          (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/CRP.3).  

     14. The following background documents were made available 
     to the Working Group:  

          Draft declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples 
          as agreed upon by the members of the Working Group at 
          its eleventh session (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/2/Add.1);  

          Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/38 on the 
          Working Group to elaborate a draft declaration in 
          accordance with paragraph 5 of General Assembly 
          resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994;  

          Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/39 on the 
          International Decade of the World's Indigenous People;  

          Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/40 on the 
          Report of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations 
          of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination 
          and Protection of Minorities;  

          Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/41 on a 
          permanent forum for indigenous people in the United 
          Nations system;  

          Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/63 on 
          Protection of the Heritage of Indigenous People;  

          Report of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations 
          on its thirteenth session (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/24);  

          Final report of the Special Rapporteur, Ms. Erica-Irene 
          Daes, on the protection of the heritage of indigenous 
          people (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/26);  

          Study on treaties, agreements and other constructive 
          arrangements between States and indigenous populations: 
          second progress report submitted by Mr. Miguel Alfonso 
          Martinez, Special Rapporteur (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/27);  

          Report of the Working Group established in accordance 
          with Commission on Human Rights resolution 1995/32 of 3 
          March 1995 (E/CN.4/1996/84);  

          General Assembly resolution 50/157 on the Programme of 
          activities for the International Decade of the World's 
          Indigenous People;  

          The Habitat Agenda: Goals and Principles, Commitments 
          and Global Plan ofAction: Report of Committee I, 
          Istanbul Declaration on Human Settlement 
          (A/CONF.165/L.6/Add.10). 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 10  

     ORGANIZATION OF WORK 

     15. At its 1st meeting, the Working Group considered the 
     provisional agenda, contained in document 
     E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/1. Following a proposal by Mr. 
     Alfonso Martinez, item 6 of the provisional agenda was 
     amended by changing the title to "Study on treaties, 
     agreements and other constructive arrangements between 
     States and indigenous populations" and was moved to become 
     item 8. Subsequently, item 8 "Consideration of a permanent 
     forum for indigenous people" became item 6. The provisional 
     agenda as amended was adopted.  

     16. The Working Group held nine public meetings, from 29 
     July to 2 August 1996. It decided to devote its 2nd and part 
     of the 3rd meeting to standard-setting activities including 
     a discussion on the concept of "indigenous peoples". Part of 
     the 3rd, the entire 4th, 5th and 6th, and part of the 7th 
     meeting were devoted to the sub-item on health and 
     indigenous peoples of the item on review of developments. 
     During the remaining part of its 7th and part of its 8th 
     meeting the Working Group held a general debate on the 
     review of developments. Also during the 8th meeting the 
     working group considered the establishment of a permanent 
     forum. During its 9th meeting the Working Group considered 
     the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, 
     the study on treaties, agreements and other constructive 
     arrangements between States and indigenous populations, and 
     other matters. The 9th meeting was extended for three hours. 
     In accordance with established practice, the Working Group 
     met in private during its fourteenth session and the 
     subsequent session of the Sub-Commission for the purpose of 
     discussing pertinent matters and finalizing its report and 
     adopting the recommendations therein.  

     ADOPTION OF THE REPORT 

     17. The report of the Working Group was adopted on 15 August 
     1996.  

                          I. GENERAL DEBATE 

     18. The Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights and 
     Coordinator of the International Decade of the World's 
     Indigenous People, Mr. Ibrahima Fall, opened the fourteenth 
     session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations. He 
     reported on the progress made by the Working Group 
     established in accordance with Commission on Human Rights 
     resolution 1995/32 of 3 March 1995 and reiterated the need 
     for the participation of indigenous peoples. He also 
     informed the Working Group of the establishment of an 
     advisory group for the Voluntary Fund for the International 
     Decade of the World's Indigenous People and the work it had 
     undertaken so far to assist the Coordinator of the Decade. 
     The members of the Advisory Group were: the members of the 
     Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous 
     Populations, the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group 
     on Indigenous Populations, Ms. Erica-Irene A. Daes, 
     representatives of three donor Governments, namely Canada, 
     Denmark and Japan, and a representative from the United 
     Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Mr. Fall referred to 
     the review currently being carried out by the Secretariat of 
     Activities undertaken by the United Nations system for 
     indigenous peoples to facilitate the discussion on the 
     establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous peoples 
     within the United Nations. He noted that the Commission on 
     Human Rights had decided to create a separate agenda item on 
     indigenous 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 11  
     
     issues. He also referred to the ceremony and round table 
     organized by the Centre for Human Rights at the Habitat II 
     conference within the framework of the International Decade.  

     19. In her opening statement the Chairperson-Rapporteur, Ms. 
     Erica-Irene Daes, gave an overview of the developments that 
     had taken place with regard to indigenous issues in the past 
     year. She stated that, in her opinion, the three critical 
     issues to be resolved by the Working Group established in 
     accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 
     1995/32 of 3 March 1995, were self-determination, 
     representation and definition. Those important and complex 
     issues should be considered at a later stage. During the 
     next session of the Working Group on the draft declaration 
     on the rights of indigenous peoples, therefore, less 
     controversial issues should be considered. With regard to 
     self-determination and representation, Governments' fears 
     for their territorial integrity and their resulting 
     disinclination to grant indigenous people internal self-
     government were short-sighted; the only way for Governments 
     to ensure the territorial integrity of their States was to 
     share power at all [eve's through accommodation, 
     participation and compromise. She referred to her working 
     paper on the concept of "indigenous people" 
     (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/2) and repeated her conclusion that 
     it was neither possible nor useful to define indigenous 
     peoples because of their diversity.  

     20. She reminded the participants of the different approach 
     that the Working Group had adopted this year by choosing 
     health as the focus of the discussions under the agenda item 
     entitled "review of developments". She reiterated the 
     importance of the issue for the survival of indigenous 
     peoples and hoped that the cooperation initiated with the 
     World Health Organization would continue within the 
     framework of the International Decade and beyond. Speaking 
     of the International Decade, she emphasized that there was a 
     need for more operational action and cooperation between the 
     relevant United Nations agencies, more contributions to the 
     Voluntary Fund for the International Decade, and more 
     political commitment by the United Nations for the 
     establishment of a permanent forum.  

     21. At the 5th meeting, the High Commissioner for Human 
     Rights, Mr. Jose Ayala Lasso, welcomed the participants. He 
     praised the Working Group for its achievements over the last 
     years, in particular for its work in preparing the draft 
     declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and for 
     having inspired the International Year and Decade of the 
     World's Indigenous People. He expressed his gratitude to the 
     Government of Canada for its initiative in hosting the 
     Expert Seminar on Practical Experiences relating to 
     Indigenous Land Rights and Claims, held in Whitehorse in 
     March 1996. He also spoke of the importance of health for 
     indigenous peoples and expressed his appreciation to the 
     World Health Organization for participating in the Working 
     Group. The High Commissioner affirmed his support for the 
     proposed permanent forum for indigenous people. In closing, 
     the High Commissioner reiterated his support for the Working 
     Group and wished the members success in their work.  

     22. In her closing statement the Chairperson-Rapporteur 
     reported that the 1995 session had been extremely well 
     attended: 44 observer Governments, 12 United Nations and 
     intergovernmental organizations, 232 indigenous nations, 
     organizations and communities, non-governmental 
     organizations and a large number of individual experts and 
     scholars had participated. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 12  

     23. The indigenous representatives attending the Working 
     Group had sent a clear message to the Working Group on the 
     question of definition: they considered that a "scientific" 
     definition of indigenous peoples was difficult. Ms. Daes 
     agreed with the view of some Governments that the concept of 
     indigenous people should be universal and flexible. The 
     Working Group would continue its discussion on the issue to 
     obtain a better understanding of the concept of indigenous 
     people. The new approach of the Working Group to address the 
     issue of health as the focus of the discussion under the 
     agenda item review of developments had been a success which 
     she attributed in large part to the commitment and 
     cooperation of the World Health Organization. The Human 
     Genome Diversity Project appeared to be of great concern to 
     indigenous representatives. The Working Group should reflect 
     on whether it would be desirable to adopt the same approach 
     at its next session.  

     24. The Chairperson-Rapporteur reiterated the importance of 
     a permanent forum for indigenous peoples within the United 
     Nations and thanked the Government of Chile for its 
     willingness to host a second workshop on that issue. She 
     expressed the hope that the International Decade of the 
     World's Indigenous People would be a springboard for an 
     agenda for indigenous sustainable development in all areas: 
     human rights, environment, development, education, culture 
     and health. The study on treaties, agreements and other 
     constructive arrangements between States and indigenous 
     populations was a highly complex task and she thanked the 
     Special Rapporteur, Mr. Miguel Alfonso Martinez, for the 
     work undertaken so far.  

     25. She expressed her gratitude and deep appreciation to the 
     Secretariat, to the volunteers who had assisted during the 
     session, and to the Documentation Centre on Indigenous 
     Peoples (DOCIP) and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples 
     Organization (UNPO) for providing substantive technical 
     support to indigenous peoples. She also expressed her 
     gratitude and appreciation to the United Nations Department 
     of Public Information and in particular to its Director, 
     Mrs. T. Gastaut, for their press releases and the 
     organization of a press interview with the Chairperson-
     Rapporteur, three indigenous persons and two representatives 
     of the World Health Organization.  

          II. EVOLUTION OF STANDARDS CONCERNING THE RIGHTS OF 
              INDIGENOUS PEOPLES 

     26. At its thirteenth session, the Working Group on 
     Indigenous Populations decided to recommend to the Sub-
     Commission that the Chairperson-Rapporteur, Ms. Erica-Irene 
     A. Daes, be entrusted with the preparation of a working 
     paper on the concept of "indigenous people". The 
     recommendation of the Working Group was subsequently 
     approved by the Sub-Commission in resolution 1995/38 and by 
     the Commission on Human Rights in its resolution 1996/40. In 
     introducing the item on the evolution of standards 
     concerning the rights of indigenous peoples at the 
     fourteenth session of the Working Group, the Chairperson-
     Rapporteur presented her working paper on the concept of 
     "indigenous people" contained in document 
     E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/2.  

     27. The Chairperson-Rapporteur gave a brief overview of her 
     working paper which gives a historical review of 
     international practice, provides a critical legal analysis, 
     and offers some conclusions and recommendations. The 
     Chairperson-Rapporteur said that her analysis of the concept 
     of "indigenous people" was of a preliminary nature and had 
     the principal aim of promoting 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 13  

     continued discussion of the question at the Working Group on 
     Indigenous Populations as well as at the open-ended inter-
     sessional working group of the Commission on Human Rights on 
     the draft declaration.  

     28. No single definition could capture the diversity of 
     indigenous peoples worldwide, and all past attempts to 
     achieve both clarity and restrictiveness in the same 
     definition had resulted in greater ambiguity. Furthermore, 
     it was not desirable or possible to arrive at a universal 
     definition.  29. The only immediate solution, based on the 
     experience of the Working Group, was a procedural one. In 
     certain cases the working definition proposed by Special 
     Rapporteur Martinez Cobo should be used. The eventual 
     implementation of the United Nations declaration on the 
     rights of indigenous peoples, when proclaimed by the General 
     Assembly, should be entrusted to a body which was fair-
     minded and open to the views of indigenous peoples and 
     Governments, so that there was room for the reasonable 
     evolution and regional specificity of the concept of 
     "indigenous" in practice.  

     30. At the 2nd meeting, Mr. Juma, Executive Director of the 
     Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity, made 
     a statement regarding the Convention. He gave an overview of 
     the objectives of the Convention, which are the conservation 
     of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its 
     components and the fair and equitable sharing of the 
     benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic 
     resources. He drew attention to article 8 (j), 10 (c), 17, 
     paragraphs 2 and 18, paragraph 4 of the Convention, which 
     were of particular relevance for indigenous peoples. The 
     Convention was not an international agency with its own 
     implementation mechanism; rather, the Convention was to be 
     implemented directly by the Contracting Parties. Mr. Juma 
     also informed the Working Group about two important meetings 
     concerning the Convention and invited the participants to 
     take part.  

     31. The indigenous peoples present at the indigenous peoples 
     preparatory meeting which was held prior to the fourteenth 
     session of the Working Group presented a joint resolution on 
     the concept and definition of indigenous peoples: The text 
     read as follows:  

          "We, the Indigenous Peoples present at the Indigenous 
          Peoples Preparatory Meeting on Saturday, 27 July 1996, 
          at the World Council of Churches, have reached a 
          consensus on the issue of defining Indigenous Peoples 
          and have unanimously endorsed Sub-Commission resolution 
          1995/32. We categorically reject any attempts that 
          Governments define Indigenous Peoples. We further 
          endorse the Martinez Cobo report (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1986/Add.4) 
          in regard to the concept of 'indigenous'. Also, we 
          acknowledge the conclusions and recommendations by 
          Chairperson-Rapporteur Madame Erica Daes in her working 
          paper on the concept of indigenous peoples  
          (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/2)."  

     32. Many indigenous representatives made statements in which 
     they reiterated and endorsed the consensus statement, and 
     said that it was neither desirable nor necessary to arrive 
     at a universal definition of indigenous peoples. 
     Furthermore, many indigenous representatives pointed out 
     that there was no definition of the terms "minorities" and 
     "peoples" in international law, and that indigenous rights 
     therefore also could be implemented without a definition of 
     "indigenous peoples". 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 14 

     33. Many indigenous representatives, as well as some 
     government representatives, stated that it was not necessary 
     to arrive at a universal definition of indigenous peoples in 
     the context of the draft declaration. Although some 
     Governments said that they recognized the concerns of 
     countries with complex ethnic and historical circumstances, 
     they also considered that the criteria of the Martinez Cobo 
     report and ILO Convention No. 169 were adequate to determine 
     whether a person or community was indigenous or not. Some 
     indigenous representatives also expressed the view that if 
     an explicit definition were included in the draft 
     declaration, it could be used to prevent some indigenous 
     peoples from benefiting from the moral, political and legal 
     impact of the declaration.  

     34. The observers for Bangladesh, India and Nigeria said 
     that a definition of indigenous people was essential if the 
     cause was to move forward. The observer for Bangladesh said, 
     inter alia, that a definition was an essential step in 
     institutionalizing guarantees for safeguarding the rights of 
     indigenous people. He also stated that ambiguity or absence 
     of criteria could be a convenient cover for States to deny 
     or grant recognition of indigenous status, since there would 
     be no international standard to go by. He also referred to 
     the opening statement of the Assistant Secretary-General for 
     Human Rights who had spoken of an estimated 300 million 
     indigenous people in the world and recalled his query made 
     last year concerning the basis for the figure and the 
     criteria on which it had been calculated. He also stated 
     that since Bangladesh's population of 120 million were all 
     indigenous, based on the quoted figure, the Secretariat only 
     had to account for the remaining 180 million indigenous 
     people. The Chairperson-Rapporteur explained that the 
     estimate had been made some years ago by the World Bank 
     which had considerable statistical resources and the 
     Secretary-General himself had used this number in almost all 
     of his relevant statements and, in particular, in his 
     address to the General Assembly on the occasion of the 
     International Year of the World's Indigenous People. The 
     observer for India expressed the view that the Working 
     Group, by avoiding the critical issues of identifying 
     through a definition the actual beneficiaries of the 
     concept, would lose its focus on the human rights questions 
     of the truly indigenous peoples. The observer for Nigeria 
     said that a clear-cut definition was necessary to identify 
     the essential distinction between indigenous peoples and 
     minorities.  

     35. Many indigenous representatives stated that indigenous 
     peoples' self-identification as a distinct people or 
     collectivity was the fundamental element in the 
     determination of who were indigenous. Integral to their 
     right to self-determination was the right to determine who 
     they were without outside interference. They had the right 
     to identify themselves as indigenous peoples for the 
     purposes of international standards and domestic law without 
     interference from States. Some indigenous representatives 
     said that States which continued to deny them the right to 
     identify themselves would be continuing the oppression and 
     colonization of indigenous peoples.  

     36. Many indigenous representatives made references to the 
     criteria in the Martinez Cobo report and to the working 
     paper on criteria which might be applied when considering 
     the concept of indigenous peoples (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/3) 
     which contained adequate guidelines for the identification 
     of indigenous peoples. Factors such as clear indigenous 
     self-identity, distinct culture and social organization, 
     antecedence, and attachment to a particular territory were 
     essential in this regard. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 15 

     37. The observer for India said that there was no reason why 
     a definition which distinguished "tribals" from "indigenous" 
     should lack scientific or logical credibility. For his 
     delegation "tribal" referred to a social structure while 
     "indigenous" did not. Furthermore, the logical extension of 
     any attempt to equate "tribals" with "indigenous" would be 
     equivalent to saying that all "non-tribals" were "non-
     indigenous".  

     38. The observer for the International Labour Organization 
     made references to the two relevant ILO Conventions, No. 107 
     and No. 169, in which the term "indigenous and tribal" is 
     used in order to avoid the restricted literal sense of the 
     word "indigenous". He said that the term "indigenous and 
     tribal" included all peoples in a similar situation, 
     wherever they may be found and whether or not their 
     ancestors inhabited an area before others did. The ILO would 
     prefer that a statement of coverage similar to that 
     contained in article 1 of Convention No. 169 should be 
     adopted. However, it might prove necessary to include in the 
     text of the declaration a statement of coverage, which 
     should be consistent with existing international law but 
     which should not consist of a definition in the strict 
     sense.  

     39. The observer for Bangladesh said that it would be 
     erroneous to look for indigenous people worldwide based on a 
     Native American stereotype. Recalling Commission resolution 
     1996/40 which referred to the diversity of the world's 
     indigenous people, he said that their situation ranged from 
     marginalization to mainstream, from non-recognition of 
     traditional identity to recognition as a sovereign people, 
     and that vulnerability and marginalization should not 
     automatically be read into the indigenous model.  

     40. An indigenous representative from Asia said that the 
     view of the Government of India expressed at the Working 
     Group was not consistent with its position in its dealings 
     with the World Bank, with which it acknowledged the 
     existence of indigenous people in the country.  

     41. Some indigenous representatives said that some 
     Governments opposed the use of the term "indigenous peoples" 
     owing to the specific reference to self-determination in the 
     draft declaration. Some Governments refused to recognize 
     that indigenous peoples possessed the right of self-
     determination because they were afraid that it would give 
     rise to the justification in international law to a right of 
     secession and independence for indigenous peoples. There 
     were many provisions and conditions in international law 
     that prevented the abuse of the right to self-determination, 
     in particular limiting the use of the right of self-
     determination to dismember States that respected the right. 
     On the contrary, continued denial of the right could be a 
     source of instability in a State.  

     42. Mr. Alfonso Martinez referred to his second progress 
     report on the study on treaties, agreements and other 
     constructive arrangements between States and indigenous 
     populations (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/27), in which he reflected on 
     "the minority/indigenous people dichotomy". Mr. Alfonso 
     Martinez said that he did not have any problems with 
     accepting that indigenous peoples had the right to identify 
     themselves. However, at the international level, self-
     identification could not be reserved as an exclusive right 
     of indigenous peoples. That criterion would not make much 
     sense with regard to situations in Africa and Asia and could 
     create very serious conceptual and practical problems. He 
     said that the immediate challenge was to define groups which 
     were not indigenous peoples. It was nevertheless 
     unacceptable to argue that no progress could be 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 16 

     made in the process of drafting the declaration until a 
     definition of "indigenous peoples" was accepted by the 
     United Nations. Mr. Guisse also expressed the view that a 
     definition of indigenous peoples would be useful, and should 
     be developed for the sake of clarity. However, there existed 
     no definition of the term "peoples" in international law. 
     What might be achieved is a set of criteria rather than a 
     precise definition of "indigenous peoples". The concepts 
     "self-identification" and "self-determination" were 
     different and should not be confused.  

     43. The observer for Australia considered that it was not 
     necessary for the purposes of advancing the rights of 
     indigenous peoples to try to arrive at an all-purpose 
     definition of indigenous peoples. The observer for Chile 
     stated that a definition of indigenous peoples was not 
     necessary in the Latin American region nor was it 
     indispensable for the debate on the indigenous theme. Any 
     difficulties related to the question of definition should 
     not cause delays for other activities for indigenous 
     peoples, such as the proposal to establish a permanent 
     forum. The observer stressed the importance of self-
     identification as a determining factor.  

     44. A representative of some of the indigenous peoples of 
     Central and South America referred to numerous statements 
     made on the question of definition by indigenous 
     organizations and stated that it would be an error and 
     discriminatory for one group of human beings to try to 
     define another. The identity of a people was not definable 
     but should be recognized and respected.  

     45. The observer for Finland stated that his Government was 
     open to all constructive solutions to the question of the 
     concept of indigenous peoples. He was prepared to accept a 
     pragmatic solution not to define the term legally but to 
     leave the question to be resolved by indigenous peoples 
     themselves with their respective Governments. The observer 
     for Brazil agreed with the Chairperson-Rapporteur that a 
     definition was not possible or useful and that the concept 
     should have a universal application.  

        III. REVIEW OF DEVELOPMENTS PERTAINING TO THE PROMOTION 
             AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL 
             FREEDOMS OF INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS  

     
                              A. GENERAL 

     46. In opening this agenda item, the Chairperson-Rapporteur 
     reminded all participants that the Working Group was not a 
     chamber of complaints and asked all participants to speak to 
     the point, to be as brief as possible, to respect the right 
     of others to speak and to avoid making any accusations 
     against Governments.  

     GENERAL PRINCIPLES 

     47. As in previous years, several indigenous representatives 
     reported on situations of assimilation and oppression and 
     the continued denial to their peoples of the right to self-
     determination. Other indigenous representatives informed the 
     Working Group on progress made with regard to this issue.  

     48. An indigenous representative from Canada reported that, 
     a few days prior to a referendum held by the province his 
     people resided in on the issue of secession from a 
     federation, his people had also organized a referendum in 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 17 

     which 96 per cent of them had voted to keep their own 
     territory in the federation. He said that leaders of the 
     province had declared that the province had a right to self-
     determination but that such a right did not belong to his 
     people. He saw that as a demonstration of the existence of a 
     double standard based on race with regard to the recognition 
     of the right to self-determination. An indigenous 
     representative from Russia stated that his national 
     Government had failed to adopt a federal law for the 
     protection of the indigenous peoples of his country.  

     49. Several indigenous representatives from the Pacific 
     reported on a State-organized native vote meant as a means 
     to exercise the right to self-determination. One of the 
     representatives stated that the vote was State-orchestrated, 
     did not provide his people with a real choice, and that its 
     outcome was predetermined. Another representative referred 
     to a fact-finding mission by a non-governmental organization 
     that had called for cancellation of the ballot because of a 
     lack of awareness by voters of what they were voting for, a 
     lack of real choice, flaws in the mail-in balloting systems 
     that could lead to fraud, lack of verification that non-
     indigenous people did not vote and lack of neutrality on the 
     part of the organizing agency.  

     50. The observer for Canada informed the Working Group of a 
     new federal policy for the implementation of the inherent 
     right of Aboriginal self-government which was based on an 
     analysis of constitutional factors, past experience and 
     consultations with Aboriginal people, provincial and 
     territorial Governments, and other interested parties. He 
     gave some examples of elements of that policy, among which 
     were: Aboriginal self-government must operate within the 
     constitutional framework of Canada and was best implemented 
     through negotiation; self-government in matters that were 
     internal to Aboriginal communities and integral to their 
     distinct cultures was recognized by the Government of 
     Canada; and the policy was designed to be flexible, to meet 
     the diverse needs and circumstances of Metis, Inuit and 
     First Nations Peoples, with and without land. He also 
     reported on negotiations that had been initiated and 
     agreements signed.  

     LIFE, INTEGRITY AND SECURITY 

     51. An indigenous representative from Latin America stated 
     that his people were subject to State interference despite 
     constitutional guarantees and were under threat of the use 
     of military violence to enforce a new law affecting 
     indigenous peoples. Another representative from the same 
     region stated that a civil war had destroyed the social 
     cohesion of the indigenous communities, forcing indigenous 
     peoples to become refugees but that, with the help of some 
     non-governmental organizations, they were now slowly 
     rebuilding their communities.  

     52. An indigenous representative from North America reported 
     on the forced relocation of his people under his country's 
     laws, and the physical and mental impact on his people 
     caused by that relocation. He also reported on certain 
     regulations which extended police powers of enforcement. 
     Another representative from North America informed the 
     Working Group that a governmental plan to use the military 
     to collect taxes from indigenous peoples had been exposed. 
     Thus, indigenous peoples felt they were now negotiating with 
     a gun at their heads on that issue. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 18 

     53. An indigenous representative from Asia reported on grave 
     human rights violations, such as abductions, torture and 
     beatings, committed by the military with impunity. Another 
     representative from the same region stated that indigenous 
     peoples were displaced to make way for development projects, 
     with hardly any relocation projects. Yet another indigenous 
     representative informed the Working Group that indigenous 
     activists were targeted by authorities in the region, 
     leading to people becoming refugees, incarceration, 
     kidnapping and murder.  

     54. An indigenous representative from Africa informed the 
     Working Group of governmental oppression leading her people 
     to become refugees, which made it difficult for them to 
     maintain their identity and traditions. An indigenous 
     representative from Oceania reported that the indigenous 
     peoples of her country were facing a new period of political 
     uncertainty following the national elections held earlier in 
     the year that had brought to office a Government with a 
     hostile attitude to indigenous affairs.  

     CULTURE, RELIGIOUS AND LINGUISTIC IDENTITY 

     55. An indigenous representative from Africa informed the 
     Working Group that the denomination used to identify his 
     people was a colonial denomination and that the non-
     recognition of a separate status for his people under their 
     own name led to the creation of two classes of citizen with 
     different rights, which facilitated genocide. Another 
     representative from Africa stated that the leadership of his 
     people was negotiating with the national Government to 
     obtain equal recognition and treatment with other 
     traditional people.  

     56. An indigenous representative from Asia reported that 
     under national law his people were now allowed to adopt 
     their own name and to set up organizations. An indigenous 
     representative from North America stated that a recent poll 
     had shown that the people in the country where he lived 
     thought that the indigenous peoples of that country had a 
     standard of living at least equal to that of the average 
     citizen. He believed that that was a deliberate government 
     policy to create the circumstances to reduce programmes for 
     indigenous peoples.  

     57. The observer for the United States of America informed 
     the Working Group that his President had signed an executive 
     order directing all land management agencies to accommodate 
     Indian religious practices to the extent permitted by law, 
     including ensuring access to sacred sites and avoiding 
     negative effects on the physical integrity of the such 
     sites.  

     EDUCATION AND PUBLIC INFORMATION 

     58. The representative of a non-governmental organization 
     working in the field of education informed the Working Group 
     that at the first congress held by her organization a 
     resolution had been adopted which had been-promoted by 
     indigenous teachers, members of the organization. She stated 
     that the resolution provided direction to teachers' 
     organizations at the national and international levels 
     concerning respect for the rights of indigenous peoples. The 
     members of the organization, through the resolution, had 
     stated their support for the right to self-determination of 
     indigenous peoples, the establishment of a permanent forum 
     and the involvement of the organization in 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 19 

     the Working Group, and had directed the organization to 
     promote education that recognized and supported indigenous 
     peoples' identities and to work with intergovernmental 
     organizations and United Nations specialized agencies to 
     ensure that education systems used curricula that accurately 
     reflected the history, culture and contemporary lifestyles 
     of indigenous peoples.  

     59. An indigenous representative from Asia said that, in the 
     country where he resided, a national committee headed by the 
     Prime Minister had been set up within the framework of the 
     United Nations Decade of Human Rights Education, but no 
     indigenous person had been accepted as a member of that 
     committee. Another representative from Asia said that the 
     children of his people had been sent to schools where they 
     were taught in English and had to learn about an alien 
     religion; they also had to wear uniforms.  

     60. The representative of the United Nations Human Rights 
     Verification Mission in Guatemala (MINUGUA) informed the 
     Working Group that MINUGUA had launched a major programme to 
     disseminate the Agreement on the Identity and Rights of 
     Indigenous Peoples among indigenous communities and other 
     sectors of society in Guatemala, and had supported the 
     efforts of the Academy of Mayan Languages to have the 
     agreement translated into nine Mayan languages. He also 
     reported that, at the specific request of indigenous 
     organizations in Guatemala, indigenous professionals had 
     been recruited from Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Panama. He 
     also informed the Working Group that MINUGUA had recently 
     embarked on a series of radio programmes ensuring that 
     aspects of the Agreement were broadcast in indigenous 
     languages in all areas of the country.  

     61. The observer for New Zealand stated that education was 
     an area in which her Government was seeking to address the 
     disparity gap in achievement and participation between Maori 
     and non-Maori. She reported that, at the preschool level, 
     New Zealand now had nearly 700 Maori "language nests" 
     providing for half of all Maori preschool children enrolled 
     in early childhood centres. She informed that Working Group 
     that the 1990 Education Act had given legislative 
     recognition to the establishment of tertiary institutions 
     based on the application of knowledge regarding Maori 
     tradition and culture, called wananga. Two of those 
     institutions were currently operating, with a third likely 
     to attain wananga status in 1997. Recently, her Government 
     had also focused on the development of the final curriculum 
     written in Maori for Maori Language, Mathematics and Science 
     and the curricula for Social Studies and Technology were in 
     the process of completion. Lastly, she stated that her 
     Government was developing a Maori Language Strategic Plan 
     and an Education Strategy for Maori.  

     ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL RIGHTS 

     62. An indigenous representative from the Far Eastern Arctic 
     region informed the Working Group that the Government of the 
     country in which he lived had established an employment 
     programme in conjunction with an enterprise development 
     scheme. His people were now trying to develop their own 
     mining initiatives. An indigenous representative from Asia 
     said that 10 years previously both foreign and local 
     enterprises had started pearl farms in his region, using 
     modern diving equipment and bringing in large groups of 
     transmigrants as divers. This had made the local indigenous 
     divers redundant and forced them into poverty. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 20 

     63. An indigenous representative from South America pointed 
     out that the globalization of markets, capital and business 
     as promoted by the World Bank, the International Monetary 
     Fund and the international development agencies had resulted 
     in increased poverty and unemployment, as well as exclusion, 
     hunger and disease, for indigenous peoples.  

     64. The observer for Norway said that it appeared that the 
     Sami had special health and social problems that might be 
     linked to their ethnic and socio-cultural status in Norway. 
     The causes of that situation identified in the Plan for 
     Health and Social Services for the Sami Population in Norway 
     included pollution of the natural environment and the 
     process of adjustment due to changes in the Sami's 
     industrial base, which had a particular impact on reindeer 
     husbandry. That adjustment had led to increased unemployment 
     and social upheaval, with increased risk of health and 
     social problems. The findings of the report would strengthen 
     programmes to improve social services for the Sami people.  

     LAND AND RESOURCES 

     65. Several indigenous representatives informed the Working 
     Group of situations involving the loss of their lands, 
     displacement from or denial of access to their lands and 
     degradation of their lands through mineral extraction and 
     logging activities without benefit-sharing.  

     66. An indigenous representative from South America stated 
     that the newly elected Government of the country in which he 
     lived did not recognize a land settlement agreement 
     concluded between his people and the former Government and 
     had taken the case to court. Another representative from 
     South America stated that the land demarcation process in 
     the country in which he lived had been amended by a decree 
     whereby third parties could appeal decisions to demarcate 
     land for which the regularization procedures had not yet 
     been completed. That had created great unrest among the 
     indigenous peoples living in the country.  

     67. An indigenous representative from Oceania stated that 
     the newly elected Government of the country in which she 
     lived had responded to the demands of industry and critics 
     within its own ranks and had moved to amend, on the basis of 
     lack of workability, an act dealing with native title under 
     which indigenous communities made claims for title to 
     traditional lands. She said that the workability of the act 
     had never been properly tested and that the proposed 
     amendments would diminish the rights of indigenous peoples, 
     especially the right to negotiate the use of their lands. 
     However, the principle of native title had recently received 
     a boost when a big multinational mining company had 
     withdrawn its request for legislative support from State and 
     federal Governments to override the said legislation and had 
     subsequently announced that it would now negotiate with 
     indigenous communities affected by its intended mining 
     activities.  

     68. An indigenous representative from Asia reported that a 
     mining operation in the region where her people lived had 
     not only led to environmental degradation, but also to 
     rioting among the indigenous peoples affected, which in turn 
     had led to killing and torture by security forces. An 
     indigenous representative from North America stated that 
     federal courts had denied a 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 21 

     mining company a concession on indigenous territory. Another 
     indigenous representative from the same region reported that 
     the lands of his people were used as a dumping site for 
     toxic waste.  

     69. The observer for Brazil explained to the Working Group 
     that the administrative procedure for demarcation of 
     indigenous lands in Brazil had been questioned before the 
     Supreme Court for not taking into account what was known as 
     the principle of administrative contradiction. In order to 
     bring the procedure into line with legal and constitutional 
     arrangements and to avoid further questioning before the 
     courts, some modifications had been made to the procedure 
     through Decree 1.775 of 8 January 1996. It had been the 
     intention of the Government of Brazil to increase the 
     transparency of and expedite the procedure for demarcation 
     by establishing deadlines and strengthening the legal basis 
     for implementation. Furthermore, that Decree provided the 
     opportunity to appeal decisions to demarcate indigenous 
     lands whose regularization procedures had not yet been 
     completed. Such appeals had to be filed within 90 days of 
     the issuance of the Decree, which meant that the deadline 
     had expired on 8 April 1996. On 10 July 1996, the Minister 
     of Justice of Brazil had decided to reject all 535 appeals 
     which had been received, concerning 34 indigenous lands.  

     70. The observer for Australia reported that, despite high 
     expectations, no title had been recognized yet under the 
     Native Title Act, causing widespread concern in both the 
     indigenous and the wider community. His Government was 
     committed to ensuring the workability of the Act, while 
     respecting the principles of the Racial Discrimination Act. 
     He also said that changes to the Native Title Act were a 
     priority, but would be preceded by wide consultations. His 
     Government was conscious of the need to balance the 
     recognition and protection of native title with the economic 
     development of Australia.  

     71. The observer for Canada informed the Working Group of 
     the signing of a historic framework agreement on land 
     management, in February 1996, between Canada and 13 First 
     Nations from across the country, which would enable the 
     communities to manage and control their lands and resources. 
     Furthermore, the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern 
     Development had announced that negotiators had initialled an 
     agreement-in-principle on treaty land entitlement with 19 
     Manitoba First Nations, which was a milestone in the 
     resolution of long-standing treaty land entitlement issues 
     in Manitoba.  

     72. The observer for New Zealand recalled that the previous 
     year the New Zealand delegation had explained the 
     Government's draft proposals for the settlement of Treaty of 
     Waitangi claims, proposals that responded to a need for a 
     consistent approach by the Government to the large number of 
     individual claims lodged with the Waitangi Tribunal. The 
     proposals were currently being reviewed in the light of 
     submissions received. Those submissions tended to be 
     critical of the settlement proposals, but provided much 
     valuable comment. While the process of policy review was 
     under way, discussions were continuing between the Crown and 
     several tribal groups regarding their claims. She informed 
     the Working Group that earlier in the year an on-account 
     settlement had been reached with the Ngai Tahu tribe of the 
     South Island and formal negotiations were under way 
     regarding the settlement of the remainder of their claim, 
     following the historic settlement concluded in 1995 with the 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 22 

     Waikato-Tainui people, in which the equivalent of 170 
     million dollars in land and cash was paid as compensation 
     for lands confiscated in the nineteenth century.  

     73. A number of indigenous representatives called for the 
     protection of indigenous heritage and intellectual property. 
     In that respect, the representative of a non-governmental 
     organization said that a group of Spanish intellectuals and 
     artists had adopted a declaration in which they pledged to 
     respect the intellectual property rights of the indigenous 
     peoples of Latin America.  

     INDIGENOUS INSTITUTIONS 

     74. Several indigenous representatives stated that 
     programmes and projects developed to improve the situation 
     of indigenous peoples had to be culturally appropriate and 
     to respect indigenous institutions.  

     IMPLEMENTATION 

     75. The representative of the International Labour 
     Organization (ILO) stated that ILO Convention No. 169 
     concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent 
     Countries had now been ratified by 10 countries (Bolivia, 
     Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, 
     Norway, Paraguay and Peru), while several countries were 
     considering ratifying it, some of them with a view to 
     orienting their programmes of foreign assistance. The 
     influence of that Convention went well beyond the number of 
     ratifications; she referred to inter-agency coordinating 
     meetings and technical assistance projects. Among other 
     activities, ILO had assisted the Government of the Russian 
     Federation in adopting legislation for the indigenous 
     peoples of the country, had assisted the United Nations in 
     the drafting of the component of the Guatemala peace plan 
     entitled "Identity and rights of indigenous peoples", had 
     promoted the Interregional Programme to Support Self-
     Reliance of Indigenous and Tribal Communities through 
     Cooperatives and other Self-Help Organizations (INDISCO) and 
     the Community-based Environment Impact Assessment (CEIA).  

     76. The representative of MINUGUA stated that it had been 
     given the important task of verifying the implementation in 
     Guatemala of the Agreement on the Identity and Rights of 
     Indigenous Peoples. The Agreement covered a number of the 
     most important demands and claims of the indigenous peoples 
     of Guatemala, among which the most important aspect was that 
     the Agreement empowered indigenous organizations to 
     negotiate their future legal rights on an equal footing with 
     the Government. To that effect the Agreement provided for 
     the creation of several joint commissions to make the 
     necessary proposals for educational reform, indigenous 
     participation, indigenous land rights, official recognition 
     of indigenous languages and the identification of sacred 
     Mayan sites.  

                              B. HEALTH 

     77. In her statement on this item, the Chairperson-
     Rapporteur thanked warmly the World Health Organization for 
     the support and enthusiasm with which it had welcomed the 
     Working Group's initiative to include a sub-item on health 
     on its 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 23 

     agenda. She continued by highlighting four general policy 
     considerations she believed to be important. She stated that 
     the close relationship indigenous peoples had with their 
     land should be taken into account because the loss of land 
     could, for example, lead to a change in nutrition. In her 
     opinion, dispossession might therefore be regarded as an 
     indirect threat to life, and should be recognized as such by 
     the international community. She also said that the exposure 
     of indigenous peoples to hazardous industrial and military 
     activities was a form of racism, because she considered it 
     to be a deliberate policy. Furthermore, she referred to the 
     fact that indigenous peoples did not have equal access to 
     national health-care systems, mainly because of language 
     difficulties, poverty, geographical isolation, and their 
     differing notion of illness and cure. Finally, she addressed 
     the role traditional medical practices could play in 
     national primary health-care systems and the need to protect 
     those practices from exploitation.  

     78. Based on these four points, the Chairperson-Rapporteur 
     suggested six specific, concrete actions the international 
     community - perhaps with the leadership of WHO - could take 
     to address the principal threats to the health of indigenous 
     peoples: it could finance and organize a programme of 
     research on the nutritional and health impacts of 
     development projects; establish an effective procedure for 
     identifying, publicizing and responding medically to new 
     health emergencies created by destruction, contamination or 
     expropriation of indigenous lands; identify organizations 
     controlled by indigenous peoples which had expertise in 
     medical research, training and health care, and provide them 
     with technical and financial assistance to enable them to 
     share their experiences with indigenous people and 
     Governments in other regions of the world; develop and 
     promote, in cooperation with indigenous people, model 
     national legislation for the recognition and protection of 
     traditional medicinal knowledge; develop and promote, in 
     cooperation with indigenous peoples, strict ethical 
     standards governing medical research that involves 
     indigenous peoples or their traditional knowledge; and 
     establish, if possible, a unit within WHO to audit national 
     health programmes.  

     79. At the 4th meeting, Mr. Eric Goon, Director of the WHO 
     Division of Organization and Management of Health Systems, 
     presented a speech on behalf of the World Health 
     Organization and in particular on behalf of the Assistant 
     Director-General, Dr. A. Kone Diabi. He recalled the World 
     Health Organization's goal of "Health for all" and stated 
     that WHO priority lay with those that had little or no 
     access to health care. He said that one of the 
     constitutional principles of WHO included the precept that 
     health was a state of complete physical, mental and social 
     well-being and not merely the absence of disease or 
     infirmity. He explained that today the universal concern was 
     about costs, value and resource constraints and that, at a 
     time when demands for expanded services and high quality 
     were expanding, the result was an increasing gap between 
     demand and response which could not be ignored. He 
     identified the strategies to overcome the gap as including: 
     overcoming inertia; establishing priorities; ensuring 
     community and broad-based intersectoral participation; 
     global solidarity; improving solidarity; improving 
     efficiency; learning-by-doing; and global solidarity. 
     Furthermore, the Governing Body of WHO subscribed to the 
     goals of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous 
     People. He also stated that for the coming decade there was 
     no challenge more compelling than that of improving the 
     health of 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 24 

     vulnerable and high-risk groups and that ingenuity and 
     innovative thinking would be needed to find new ways of 
     overcoming "entrenched" problems.  

     80. An indigenous representative of WHO reported on a global 
     indigenous peoples and substance use project. She stated 
     that the aim of the project was to assist in the healthy 
     development of indigenous peoples and communities through 
     the prevention and minimization of problems related to 
     psychoactive substances. The latter term was the term used 
     by WHO to describe alcohol, tobacco, other drugs and various 
     substances that people used, which, when ingested, affected 
     the mental processes and behaviour. She further said that 
     the project had been developed in close cooperation with 
     indigenous peoples. Three action documents had been prepared 
     in connection with the project: "Community development 
     strategies"; "Policy guide for Governments"; "Community 
     monitoring"; and "Evaluation methods". The project would 
     eventually become part of the WHO Programme on substance 
     abuse and WHO would welcome seconded indigenous persons, 
     like herself, to assist in the implementation of the 
     project.  

     81. A representative from the Pan-American Health 
     Organization (PAHO) stated that PAHO, in 1993, the 
     International Year of the World's Indigenous People, had 
     embarked on a joint venture with the region's indigenous 
     peoples to consider what PAHO and its member Governments 
     should do about the health situation of the indigenous 
     peoples of the region. She said that, in cooperation with 
     indigenous peoples, the Health of Indigenous Peoples 
     Initiative had been established, resulting in the 
     development of five principles to guide, monitor and 
     evaluate the work; the need for a holistic approach to 
     health; the right to self-determination of indigenous 
     peoples; the right to systematic participation; respect for 
     and revitalization of indigenous cultures; and reciprocity 
     in relations. By 1995 a plan of action had been developed, 
     dividing the work into four areas: to establish criteria, 
     methodologies and training programmes to enable the 
     development of national and local plans, policies and 
     processes to benefit the indigenous peoples of the country; 
     to design and mobilize resources for projects which address 
     priority health problems and vulnerable populations; to 
     develop and strengthen traditional health systems; and to 
     identify and develop efficient mechanisms to coordinate, 
     promote, disseminate and exchange scientific and technical 
     information. She concluded by referring to partners and 
     programmes with which PAHO would implement the Initiative, 
     which included cooperation with indigenous organizations and 
     internship programmes for indigenous people.  

     82. To illustrate the imbalance in health standards between 
     indigenous and non-indigenous people and their overall 
     health situation, many indigenous representatives provided 
     the Working Group with relevant statistics. For example, an 
     indigenous representative from North America stated that, in 
     his country, non-indigenous people lived 10 years longer 
     than indigenous people, that the incidence of diabetes was 
     four and half times greater among indigenous people than 
     among non-indigenous people and that of tuberculoses nine 
     times greater, and that their rate of disability was twice 
     as high and their suicide rate two and a half times as high. 
     Similarly, an indigenous representative from South America 
     reported that the infant mortality rate among indigenous 
     people in a certain region of his country was 300 per 1,000, 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 25  

     life expectancy between 35 and 40 years and that 82.9 per 
     cent of the indigenous people in that region were infected 
     with viral hepatitis B, while 17.1 per cent are carriers.  

     83. An indigenous representative from Oceania reported that 
     babies born to indigenous mothers had an average birth 
     weight over 200 grammes less than the national average, that 
     the maternal mortality rate for indigenous women was over 
     five times greater than that for non-indigenous women, that 
     the tuberculosis rates among indigenous people were 10 times 
     higher, as were the leprosy and hepatitis A rates, and that 
     only two out of every five indigenous men in his country 
     were expected to live beyond their sixty-fifth birthday, 
     compared to three out of every four non-indigenous men.  

     84. Several other indigenous representatives, without giving 
     numbers, also spoke about the high incidence of diseases 
     like malaria, tuberculosis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, 
     emphysema, infectious diseases, including HIV and AIDS, and 
     risk factors such as malnutrition, obesity, hypertension and 
     drug and alcohol abuse. In addition, an indigenous 
     representative from Africa stated that diseases and health 
     problems among the children of his people lead to 
     absenteeism from school, poor school performance and 
     deprivation of better opportunities in later life.  

     85. A number of indigenous representatives were of the 
     opinion that the health situation of indigenous people could 
     not be separated from the dispossession from lands and 
     territories, the destruction of traditional, social and 
     economic structures and denial of human rights indigenous 
     peoples have faced in the past and were still facing. In 
     that respect, an indigenous representative from Oceania 
     stated that the dispossession of his people and the 
     marginalization of and discrimination against the cultural 
     heritage of his people made it obvious that the ill-health 
     of his people was largely a by-product of the processes that 
     had denied them their rights and freedoms over the past 
     centuries.  

     86. An indigenous representative speaking about the 
     situation in Eastern Europe explained that the cultural 
     collapse of an indigenous society through discrimination, 
     colonialism and lack of strategies to respect indigenous 
     peoples' rights had had a severe impact on the health of 
     indigenous peoples. An indigenous representative from Latin 
     America stated that current Governments had taken over the 
     role of the initial colonizers, who had brought indigenous 
     peoples to the verge of extinction, by denying indigenous 
     peoples access to their lands and resources and implementing 
     policies of assimilation and structural adjustment, making 
     indigenous peoples dependent on Western systems of economy, 
     health, education, etc., but then failing to deliver equal 
     services and opportunities. Several indigenous 
     representatives considered that in one way or the other the 
     practical exercise of self-determination was the necessary 
     foundation for any real and sustainable improvement in the 
     health situation of indigenous peoples. An indigenous 
     representative from Africa stated that loss of their 
     ancestral territories and resources lead to the breakdown of 
     his people's food production system, resulting in lower food 
     intake, as well as nutritional deficiencies, and creating a 
     dependence on cheaper, inequitable and unhealthy foodstuffs 
     from outside. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 26 

     87. Many indigenous representatives highlighted the 
     relationship between the environment indigenous peoples live 
     in and their health situation. An indigenous representative 
     from Asia stated in that respect that indigenous peoples 
     looked upon themselves as an integral part of nature and 
     that indigenous communities managed to sustain an ecological 
     balance through practicing certain habits and living by 
     certain norms, thus creating a "tribal ecosystem". However 
     with the total change brought about in the wake of 
     development and modernization, there had been a near total 
     disintegration of the "tribal ecosystem" and the 
     accompanying health-care system owing to changes in food 
     procurement, care and prevention of diseases, protection 
     from animals, nurturing and child care, sanitation and 
     psychological satisfaction.  

     88. Another indigenous representative from the same region 
     underlined that the symbiotic relationship with the forest, 
     along with convivial living conditions, had enabled her 
     people to evolve progressively and develop a complex and 
     sophisticated health care management system that went beyond 
     the big-medical sphere into the social, cultural and 
     environmental spheres in a holistic sense. She continued by 
     stating that systematic and intensified internal 
     colonization, both national and global, rapidly eroded the 
     conditions of life and the environment, brutalizing their 
     health care systems.  

     89. An indigenous representative from Northern Europe spoke 
     about the secrecy surrounding the statistics on the effects 
     of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster and nuclear 
     testing in the 1960s on the environment and health of the 
     indigenous peoples of the region. An indigenous 
     representative from Latin America spoke of the transnational 
     effects of mercury poisoning caused by gold prospecting, 
     while another described the effects of a project whereby 
     water was diverted to satisfy the needs of agriculture and 
     urban centres, threatening the health and existence of 
     45,000 people and their livestock in three countries through 
     a process of desertification of the land. An indigenous 
     representative from the Pacific spoke about how State 
     policies of unlimited transmigration and massive tourism had 
     brought about a dangerous level of overpopulation in her 
     people's fragile island ecosystems. An indigenous 
     representative from North America reported on the health 
     risks his people was subjected to through uranium mining and 
     nuclear waste dumping.  

     90. With respect to the link between the environment and 
     health, many indigenous representatives spoke about the 
     direct effect of loss of biodiversity and the health 
     situation of indigenous peoples. In that regard, an 
     indigenous representative from Oceania stated that 
     indigenous people's long and intimate connection with their 
     lands was being recognize as a source of rich and diverse 
     knowledge and understanding of biodiversity that was 
     invaluable to any strategy to achieve ecological 
     sustainability, which had obvious ramifications for their 
     health.  

     91. Several indigenous representatives stated that they 
     considered the lack of a health infrastructure for 
     indigenous peoples to be one of the main causes for the 
     current health situation indigenous peoples faced. An 
     indigenous representative from Oceania stated in that 
     respect that the diseases suffered by indigenous peoples 
     were overwhelmingly diseases of poverty, resulting from 
     appalling living conditions and poor nutrition, inadequate 
     housing, unclean or insufficient water supplies and poor 
     sewerage. An indigenous representative from Latin America 
     stated that 80 per cent of the indigenous women in her 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 27  

     country lived without basic services and that 50 per cent of 
     indigenous women in urban areas and 81 per cent of 
     indigenous women in rural areas had no access to medical 
     treatment. An indigenous representative from North America 
     stated that poverty was one of the main causes of health 
     problems; the indigenous people in his country earned 46 per 
     cent less income than average and that 32 per cent of their 
     housing lacked a bathroom, which created obvious health 
     problems.  

     92. An indigenous representative from Africa noted with 
     sadness that traditional practices, skills and knowledge 
     were being overtaken by modern medicine, which indigenous 
     peoples could not afford because of socio-economic 
     constraints and, more importantly, because of privatization 
     processes promoted by the Bretton-Woods institutions.  

     93. Several indigenous representatives referred to the 
     impact the processes of colonization, marginalization and 
     discrimination, and the resulting physical and socio-
     economic situation had on the mental health of indigenous 
     peoples. In that regard an indigenous representative from 
     North America stated that he had been requested by his 
     community to tell the Working Group about a sickness that 
     existed in his homeland, a sickness caused by colonization, 
     oppression and militarization; he referred to a broken 
     spirit, which manifested itself in alcoholism and suicide.  

     94. An indigenous representative from Oceania talked about 
     the forcible removal of indigenous children from their 
     families, culture, identity, land, language and 
     spirituality, which created what she referred to as "a 
     stolen generation" with obvious mental stress to deal with. 
     Another indigenous representative from the same region 
     recalled that almost half the indigenous people who had died 
     in custody were from that "stolen generation". An indigenous 
     representative from Asia referred to post trauma stress 
     disorders among indigenous peoples stemming from 
     displacement, destruction of habitat, suppression of 
     traditional health systems and torture by security forces.  

     95. Several indigenous representatives stated that they 
     considered the only solution for the problem of the health 
     situation of indigenous peoples was the restoration, 
     promotion and protection of autonomous, holistic health-care 
     systems. An indigenous representative from Asia stated that 
     that could only be done with the involvement of indigenous 
     peoples in the planning and implementation of the health 
     care system.  

     96. An indigenous representative from Latin America 
     underlined the importance of a healthy environment and 
     therefore of environmental protection for the health 
     situation of indigenous peoples, while another indigenous 
     representative from Latin America stated that research into 
     self-sufficient indigenous health care systems should be 
     based on the continuation and the protection of biodiversity 
     as the only way to preserve traditional medical knowledge.  

     97. An indigenous representative from Latin America stated 
     that traditional medicines were used as raw material for 
     synthetic medicines, without the indigenous peoples having a 
     share of the profits and while they suffered loss of 
     knowledge. As in previous years, several indigenous 
     representatives spoke about the human genome diversity 
     project, nicknamed the vampire project 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 28  

     because its aim was to collect and patent genetic materials 
     from indigenous peoples, and called for an immediate stop to 
     it. An indigenous representative from North America reported 
     on unsuccessful formal attempts undertaken by her 
     organization to obtain information about the project 
     directly from one of its directors. In addition, an 
     indigenous representative from Asia suggested that the 
     Special Rapporteur of the Sub-Commission, Ms. Erica-Irene A. 
     Daes, continue her study on the protection of the heritage 
     of indigenous people with a special focus on the human 
     genome diversity project.  

     98. The indigenous peoples present at the Indigenous 
     People's Preparatory Meeting on Sunday 28 July at the World 
     Council of Churches presented a consensus statement in which 
     they reiterated that the health of indigenous peoples was 
     related to the spiritual, mental, emotional and physical 
     health of indigenous peoples. They called, among other 
     things, for a moratorium on big-prospecting and patenting of 
     life forms, a suspension of structural adjustment programmes 
     and the development of several programmes by WHO including 
     the recovering, strengthening and development of health 
     rights for indigenous peoples, recognition and respect for 
     traditional medicine and medicinal practices of indigenous 
     peoples, and a global survey to determine the health 
     conditions of indigenous peoples, and called for WHO to 
     convene a conference on the health situation of indigenous 
     peoples.  

     99. Mr. Guisse, member of the Working Group, stated that 
     health was not just a matter of physical, but also of mental 
     and social well-being and that more and more the link 
     between traditional practices and health was being 
     recognized. He added that, considering the problem of the 
     high costs of medicine and treatment, traditional practices 
     were a good alternative.  

     100. The observer for New Zealand pointed out the need for 
     strengthened international cooperation to improve the health 
     of indigenous peoples. WHO should play a central role and 
     assist in developing comprehensive national plans to 
     ameliorate the health situation of indigenous peoples. She 
     informed the Working Group that her country's national 
     health system had recently been restructured, which had 
     given rise to some optimism among the Maori. The observer 
     for Australia stated that much indigenous ill-health was 
     preventable and could be blamed on the poor state of public 
     health infrastructure - water quality, housing and sewerage 
     - and the poor understanding of basic health concepts, such 
     as nutrition, in some indigenous communities. He also said 
     that the overlap in responsibility for public health 
     infrastructure between various levels of government and 
     agencies had as a consequence the lack of a cohesive 
     strategy in that respect. He reported that his Government 
     had established the 16-member Aboriginal and Torres Strait 
     Islander Health Council to advise the Minister for Health 
     and Family Services on strategies, priorities and policies. 
     Furthermore, he stated that his Government recognized the 
     key roles of regional councils, community-controlled health 
     organizations and indigenous health workers in ensuring 
     effective health delivery to indigenous people.  

     101. The observer for Canada, the Deputy Minister of Health, 
     stated that aboriginal peoples in Canada had access to the 
     same health services as other Canadians. In addition, the 
     federal Government paid for the transportation of Aboriginal 
     people living in remote areas and many hospitals employed, 
     on a regular basis, translators and Aboriginal liaison 
     workers to overcome language 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 29  

     and culture barriers. He reported that the national health 
     care system was at present being reformed, with health care 
     delivery being shifted from hospitals into the home and 
     local community, resulting in the closure of a number of 
     small, rural hospitals, thus complicating access. The reform 
     also included the establishment of regional health 
     authorities with the responsibility of taking the majority 
     of decisions with regard to health care in their areas. He 
     stated that Governments at all levels in Canada had 
     developed policies for the provision of health services to 
     Aboriginal people, focused on the direction set by them that 
     their health care was holistic and under community control, 
     and responding to community needs and priorities. He 
     reported that, to date, his Government had transferred 
     community health programmes to 25 per cent of all 
     communities.  

     102. The observer for Colombia stated that his Government, 
     in developing policies aimed at indigenous peoples, took 
     into account three aspects central to the notion of 
     indigenous health systems: the holistic vision of the world 
     of indigenous peoples; the effective interaction between 
     indigenous and non-indigenous health systems; and the need 
     to ensure that globalization did not affect free health care 
     for indigenous peoples. He reported that his Government had 
     developed several strategies with regard to indigenous 
     health based on education for indigenous youth in 
     traditional medicines; ensuring the cultural appropriateness 
     of health centres; ensuring access to remote indigenous 
     communities; a subsidy scheme, and the inclusion of all 
     indigenous people in that scheme.  

     103. The observer for Brazil said that his Government had 
     taken the lead at the WHO Executive Board and at the World 
     Health Assembly in proposing resolutions aimed at the 
     establishment of a structured framework for international 
     cooperation on indigenous health. The health of Brazilian 
     indigenous people was among the highest priorities of his 
     Government, together with the demarcation of their lands, 
     because of the inextricable link of their health with the 
     maintenance of their habitat and have resulted in the 
     establishment of a special coordination unit for indigenous 
     health in the Ministry of Health, the organization of two 
     national meetings with wide participation of indigenous 
     people to define priorities, the creation of an inter-
     institutional health commission, including four 
     organizations of indigenous people, to advise the Brazilian 
     National Health Council, and the establishment of local 
     indigenous health councils. All those activities were based 
     on the concept of integral attention to health, comprising 
     both medical care and sustainable development, a model also 
     based on the recognition, respect and maintenance of 
     traditional health practices and knowledge, with a view to 
     promoting harmonious and synergic coexistence with Western 
     medicine. In addition, he reported on the health situation 
     of the Yanomami who, since 1991 had their own health 
     district. It had already caused a drop in the rates of 
     mortality and malaria.  

     104. The observer for Denmark and representative of the 
     Greenland Home Rule Government pointed out that in Greenland 
     there were a range of health problems despite access to free 
     health care and treatment of a high standard. She reported 
     that the Home Rule Government, inspired by the International 
     Year of the World's Indigenous People, had launched a 
     campaign in 1993 called "A stronger life" to raise and 
     create awareness of every individual's potential for 
     creating healthier lives. As a consequence of that growing 
     awareness, an 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 30 

     alcohol-rehabilitation centre had been opened in Greenland 
     in 1995 and many community-based activities like self-help 
     groups, telephone help-lines, etc., had been set up 
     voluntarily, strengthening the philosophy of the Home Rule 
     Government that the causes of health problems were closely 
     related to control over land, resources, identity as a 
     people and culture. She pointed out that, the primary food 
     source of the people of Greenland was the meat of marine 
     mammals the consumption of which, based on findings in 
     Greenland and the Arctic, prevented coronary diseases and 
     the clogging of arteries. She stated that her Government 
     found it difficult to accept the intense pressure by some of 
     the industrial countries to limit their right to hunt sea 
     mammals and develop a sustainable economy and trade base. 
     She called upon WHO to designate a focal point for the 
     International Decade and requested WHO to create a programme 
     of action on indigenous health. 

     105. The observer for the United States of America stated 
     that his country maintained an entire health care system 
     called the Indian Health Care Service for American Indians 
     and Alaska Natives. Improvements made to the service through 
     the 1986 Indian Health Care Improvement Act had resulted in 
     a continuous rise in Indian life expectancy, which now 
     approached that of the average American, and a substantial 
     decrease in infant mortality rates. Specific problems 
     remained with regard to the higher incidence of diseases 
     such as diabetes, tuberculosis and heart disease. 

     106. The observer for Norway said that in 1991 the Ministry 
     of Health and Social Affairs had appointed a committee to 
     examine the issue of health and social services for the Sami 
     population in Norway which had presented its report, 
     entitled "Plan for Health and Social Services for the Sami 
     Populations in Norway" in 1995. The plan was based on the 
     principle of integrated, coordinated health and social 
     services for the Norwegian Sami population, taking into 
     account their specific needs. The report had emphasized that 
     it would be necessary to adopt a cross-sectoral approach in 
     order to improve the health and social situation of the 
     Sami, in particular with regard to preventive measures. The 
     report had been circulated to relevant bodies for comments; 
     the Sami Parliament had provided comprehensive comments, 
     including proposals for follow-up to several of the report's 
     proposals. The report was an important measure aimed at 
     acquiring more systematic knowledge of health and social 
     welfare services for the Sami and it was hoped that it would 
     serve as a basis for improvements in the health and social 
     services schemes for the Sami. 

     107. Dr. Eric Goon, Director of the Division of Organization 
     and Management of Health Systems of WHO stated that WHO had 
     taken careful note of the comments put forward by the 
     Chairperson-Rapporteur and all the participants and would 
     study them carefully to see how best to incorporate them in 
     the programme the Director-General would submit to the WHO 
     Executive Board in January 1997. He considered that some of 
     the proposals were feasible while others were not, but that 
     most of them reflected the ideals and principles of health 
     for all and primary health care as such and were already 
     incorporated in WHO health policies and programmes. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 31 

     108. A large number of indigenous representatives, as well 
     as government observers, welcomed the decision of the 
     Working Group to focus the deliberations under this agenda 
     item on the issue of health and expressed appreciation for 
     the participation of WHO. 

              IV. CONSIDERATION OF A PERMANENT FORUM FOR 
                  INDIGENOUS PEOPLE 

     109. In introducing this item the Chairperson-Rapporteur 
     pointed out the importance and usefulness of a permanent 
     forum for the world's indigenous peoples. She also mentioned 
     her working paper prepared for the workshop on the 
     establishment of a permanent forum 
     (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1995/7/Add.2) and expressed her support 
     and appreciation to the Government of Chile for having 
     offered to host the second workshop on the permanent forum. 

     110. The observer for Chile said that his delegation 
     considered the establishment of a permanent forum to be a 
     high priority issue. Furthermore, the question should be 
     resolved as soon as the review of existing procedures and 
     programmes within the United Nations concerning indigenous 
     people, to be undertaken by the Secretary-General, had been 
     carried out in accordance with the mandate given by the 
     General Assembly in its resolution 50/157 of 21 December 
     1995. The observer for Chile also emphasized that that 
     process, which was now under-way, should not be stopped, and 
     that new and greater efforts should be given to the 
     constitution of the permanent forum. He referred to 
     Commission on Human Rights resolution 1996/41, in which the 
     Commission had taken note of the recommendation of the 
     General Assembly that it consider the convening of a second 
     workshop on the possible establishment of a permanent forum, 
     and reiterated his Government's offer to host the second 
     workshop at the beginning of 1997. 

     111. The observer for Denmark, who also spoke on behalf of 
     Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the Greenland Home Rule 
     Government, said that progress had been achieved in the 
     discussion on many of the issues relating to the 
     establishment of a permanent forum. She referred to the 
     report of the first workshop, which indicated that many 
     Governments and all indigenous representatives present at 
     the workshop supported the idea that the permanent forum 
     should have a broad mandate, as well as a wide scope 
     covering such issues as development, the environment, 
     culture and human rights. Furthermore, he said that the 
     permanent forum, because of its broad mandate, should be 
     placed at a high level within the United Nations, at the 
     level of the Economic and Social Council. The observer for 
     Denmark also drew attention to the ongoing review of the 
     existing United Nations mechanisms, procedures and 
     programmes concerning indigenous people, and urged the 
     relevant United Nations agencies to facilitate the 
     completion of the review. Furthermore, she believed that, 
     drawing on the results of the review, a second workshop on 
     the establishment of a permanent forum should be convened. 

     112. The observer for Australia said that his Government 
     supported the establishment of the permanent forum and that 
     it should be linked to the Economic and Social Council at a 
     suitably high level. Furthermore, it would be desirable that 
     the permanent forum should have a mandate that embraced the 
     full range of issues of concern to indigenous peoples, and 
     that the mandate should extend beyond a narrow human rights 
     focus to include economic, social and development issues, as 
     well as coordination of all United Nations 
     
     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 32  
     
     activities relevant to the concerns of indigenous peoples. 
     The observer for Estonia said that there was a need for a 
     permanent forum for indigenous people and that the 
     consideration of that issue must be given a priority. The 
     observer for Mexico expressed his Government's support for 
     the establishment of a permanent forum within the framework 
     of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous 
     People.  

     113. The representatives of indigenous peoples attending the 
     indigenous peoples' preparatory meeting for the Working 
     Group presented a joint resolution on the question of a 
     possible permanent forum which said that the permanent forum 
     should not be a replacement for the Working Group on 
     Indigenous Populations and that it should be established at 
     the highest level of the United Nations, as a subsidiary 
     body of the Economic and Social Council or the General 
     Assembly. Furthermore, it stated that it was essential that 
     indigenous peoples should have similar access to the 
     permanent forum as they enjoyed to the Working Group on 
     Indigenous Populations. It also emphasized that it was 
     crucial that specialized agencies should play an active part 
     in the deliberations of the permanent forum, and that they 
     should report to the forum on their activities of special 
     interest to indigenous peoples.  

     114. Five indigenous organizations from Australia made a 
     joint statement in which they said that the permanent forum 
     should be capable of receiving complaints about the abuse of 
     the human rights of indigenous people, as well as reviewing 
     developments that concerned indigenous people. Furthermore, 
     they said that the mandate of the Special Committee on the 
     Situation with regard to the Implementation on the Granting 
     of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples should be 
     extended to monitor the implementation of a future United 
     Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.  

     115. In a joint statement, the Asian Indigenous Caucus at 
     the Working Group said the permanent forum should be at 
     least on the same level as the Economic and Social Council 
     and emphasized that the permanent forum should be given the 
     mandate, inter alia, to take appropriate action to protect 
     the human rights of indigenous peoples.  

     116. Many indigenous representatives said that the permanent 
     forum should be established at the highest possible level 
     within the United Nations system, at the minimum as a 
     subsidiary body of the Economic and Social Council. Some 
     indigenous representatives indicated that a future permanent 
     forum could be established as a functional commission. One 
     of them said that the forum could be entitled the "United 
     Nations Commission on the Status of Indigenous Peoples".  

     117. Governments, as well as indigenous representatives, 
     were of the opinion that the mandate of the permanent forum 
     should be broader than only human rights. It was said that 
     the mandate could include cultural, political, economic, 
     civil, social, environmental, developmental, and educational 
     issues. Many representatives said that the permanent forum 
     should not duplicate the work of the Working Group on 
     Indigenous Populations. It was also proposed that the 
     Working Group should continue its work and that the 
     permanent forum should not be seen as an alternative to the 
     Working Group. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 33  

     118. Some indigenous speakers elaborated on the question of 
     the composition of the permanent forum. Many emphasized that 
     the forum should consist of an equal number of members from 
     Governments and indigenous peoples on the basis of equal 
     geographical distribution. Some indigenous representatives 
     were of the opinion that independent experts could be 
     additional members of the permanent forum.  

     119. Many speakers, representing Governments as well as 
     indigenous peoples, welcomed the initiative of the 
     Government of Chile to host the second workshop on the 
     possible establishment of a permanent forum. The ongoing 
     review of existing mechanisms, procedures and programmes and 
     the planned second workshop were identified as essential 
     elements in the process pertaining to the establishment of a 
     permanent forum.  

     120. Mr. Miguel Alfonso Martinez, member of the Working 
     Group, stated that, in his opinion, the Working Group on 
     Indigenous Populations was a permanent forum and that he had 
     been concerned, since the Vienna Conference first made the 
     recommendation on the subject, that the proposed permanent 
     forum might be an alternative to the permanent Working Group 
     on Indigenous Populations. He said that the recommendation 
     of the Vienna Conference did not indicate what the new 
     permanent forum should do, and that the title "permanent 
     forum" was misleading because of the permanent character of 
     the Working Group. However, he emphasized that a new 
     permanent forum should have nothing to do with the issues 
     covered by the mandate of the Working Group, and that it 
     should be an action oriented body and not only a discussion 
     chamber. Furthermore, he said that it was essential that 
     core questions such as the mandate, membership and financial 
     implications should be addressed at the second workshop.  

     121. Mr. El-Hadji Guisse, member of the Working Group, 
     raised the same concerns as Mr. Alfonso Martinez. 
     Furthermore, he expressed the opinion that during the 
     Working Group session some participants had raised questions 
     which were outside the mandate of the Group, and that many 
     had raised typical minority and not indigenous issues. He 
     said that it was essential to define the work of bodies 
     dealing with indigenous issues, in order not to confuse 
     indigenous issues with questions relating to minorities.  

                V. INTERNATIONAL DECADE OF THE WORLD'S 
                   INDIGENOUS PEOPLE 

     122. In introducing this item, the Chairperson-Rapporteur 
     explained that in order to make the International Decade of 
     the World's Indigenous People a success a number of 
     requirements had to be met. She called for more operational 
     action and more political commitment to the permanent forum 
     by the United Nations system. She also called on both 
     Governments and private entities to contribute more to the 
     Voluntary Fund for the Decade. In connection with the Fund 
     she explained that the advisory group, established by the 
     Coordinator of the Decade, the Assistant Secretary-General 
     for Human Rights to advise him on procedure and disbursement 
     of funds available, was composed of the Board of Trustees of 
     the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations, the 
     Chairperson-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Indigenous 
     Populations, the representatives of three donor Governments 
     (Canada, Denmark and Japan) and a representative of UNDP. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 34 

     123. An indigenous representative from Russia stated that 
     the Decade should not be used for token projects. He 
     suggested that in the first four years of the Decade the 
     draft declaration should be adopted and that work should 
     start on the drafting of a convention on the rights of 
     indigenous peoples; that a world congress of indigenous 
     peoples should be organized in 1999-2000; that Governments 
     should amend their national legislation and incorporate 
     minimum standards on indigenous peoples; and that a special 
     procedure for complaints and formal communications should be 
     established by the Commission on Human Rights.  

     124. An indigenous representative from North America said 
     that, within the framework of the Decade, his people had 
     initiated the first stage in the development of an exchange 
     with Mapuche in Chile. He stressed the need for Governments 
     to support indigenous community development initiatives at 
     the local level where tangible results could be seen. 
     Another representative from North America stated that 
     indigenous peoples also had a responsibility to promote the 
     Decade and announced that her people would undertake fund-
     raising activities.  

     125. An indigenous representative from Australia stated that 
     her organization had been given responsibility for the 
     coordination, planning and implementation of the Decade 
     activities in the country where she lived. She stated that 
     one of the activities undertaken was the funding of an 
     analysis of the draft declaration and the production of a 
     plain language version. On behalf of her organization, she 
     requested that the Coordinator of the Decade provide the 
     Working Group with regular reports on Decade activities 
     around the world and establish an evaluation mechanism to 
     assess the outcomes of the Decade; she called on Governments 
     to undertake greater funding commitments to the Voluntary 
     Fund. She also stated that the draft declaration should be 
     adopted by the General Assembly and the permanent forum 
     should also be established.  

     126. An indigenous youth from Northern Europe stated that 
     the indigenous youth of the world should be part of the 
     Decade and proposed that all possible efforts be undertaken 
     to ensure that indigenous youth were represented in the 
     Working Group on Indigenous Populations and the working 
     group established pursuant to Commission on Human Rights 
     resolution 1995/32 of 3 March 1995, as well as in the 
     Advisory Group for the Voluntary Fund of the Decade and the 
     Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for indigenous 
     Populations.  

     127. An indigenous representative from Africa stated that 
     the lack of resources in the Voluntary Fund was discouraging 
     and appealed to Governments to match their oratory with 
     action and contribute more, so that the Fund would not 
     remain a "white elephant". An indigenous representative from 
     Latin America stated that the Decade should be coordinated 
     by indigenous peoples and that for the Decade to be 
     successful more and better communication was necessary 
     between the United Nations system and indigenous peoples and 
     between indigenous peoples themselves. The latter point was 
     reiterated by an indigenous representative from Africa, who 
     also stated that indigenous peoples were not aware of the 
     existence of the Decade and education and information 
     activities should be undertaken. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 35  

     128. An indigenous representative from North America stated 
     that sports were important for the health and overall well-
     being of indigenous peoples. He reported on the staging of 
     two regional sports meetings and informed the Working Group 
     that a third one was going to be held in 1997. He requested 
     the incorporation of the organization of two world 
     indigenous nations games in the programme of activities for 
     the Decade.  

     129. The observer for Japan stated that his Government was 
     of the view that the programmes of the Voluntary Fund should 
     be enhanced in the field of the preservation of the cultures 
     of indigenous people and cultural exchanges among indigenous 
     people. Furthermore, he stated that it was very important to 
     ensure the effective management and use of the resources 
     available and that the Voluntary Fund should be established 
     as a separate account. He requested the Secretariat to take 
     the necessary steps for the Voluntary Fund to be established 
     as an independent fund.  

     130. The observer for Denmark welcomed the establishment of 
     the Advisory Group for the Voluntary Fund and explained that 
     Denmark participated in that group as an active observer and 
     did not wish to be involved in the adoption of 
     recommendations concerning specific projects. He also stated 
     that his Government attached great importance to the 
     guidelines for administration and financial management that 
     had been adopted at the first meeting of the group, in 
     particular with regard to the establishment of a separate 
     account for the Voluntary Fund in Geneva and to 
     strengthening secretarial support for the Fund. In closing, 
     he said that, as soon as the guidelines were formally 
     adopted and implemented, the Government of Denmark would 
     transfer its contribution to the Fund.  

     131. The observer for Canada stated that, in January 1996, 
     national Aboriginal leaders had been invited to discuss the 
     objectives and possible future activities for the Decade 
     with the Minister of Indian Affairs. That had generated a 
     common interest among the Aboriginal groups represented at 
     that meeting for the international trade and development 
     theme of the Decade. She reported that the Decade had been a 
     catalyst for increasing awareness of Aboriginal issues and 
     that increasingly community Decade initiatives would be 
     developed, such as the Heritage Resources System, which 
     included a wilderness park and trail system integrated with 
     cultural and adventure travel and ecotourism activities, set 
     up by an indigenous community in British Columbia.  

     132. The observer for Sweden said that the Government of 
     Sweden had established a National Committee for Indigenous 
     Issues, involving indigenous Sami people, in connection with 
     the Decade. The National Committee had adopted a plan of 
     action which, once implemented, would contribute to moving 
     forward several issues concerning the Sami people. 
     Furthermore, the Committee had organized a number of 
     activities, including a seminar on land rights and 
     exhibitions related to Sami culture and traditions, but had 
     also undertaken activities related to indigenous people in 
     other regions of the world.  

     133. The observer for Australia pointed out that the success 
     of the Decade would depend in part on the contributions and 
     initiatives of the United Nations specialized agencies, 
     functional commissions and other United Nations 
     organizations. Responsibility for coordination, planning and 
     implementation of Decade activities had been given to the 
     Aboriginal and 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 36  

     Torres Strait Islander Commission. An important objective of 
     those activities was to increase awareness of indigenous 
     rights and concerns among the wider community. Furthermore, 
     Decade activities would complement and reinforce 
     reconciliation processes, providing focus, occasions and 
     opportunities for furthering understanding of indigenous 
     issues throughout Australian society.  

     134. The observer for New Zealand welcomed the establishment 
     of the Advisory Group for the Voluntary Fund for the Decade, 
     the guidelines on management and the first disbursements as 
     recommended by the group. However, she expressed concern 
     about the management of the Fund as a sub-account and 
     requested that it be established as a separate account. She 
     concluded by stating that further contributions to the Fund 
     by the Government of New Zealand very much depended on 
     improvements with regard to the management of the Fund.  

     135. Mr. Alfonso Martinez, member of the Working Group, 
     subscribed to the view put forward by several Governments 
     that the Voluntary Fund should be established as a separate 
     account and not remain a sub-account.  

     136. Mr. Guisse, member of the Working Group, expressed the 
     view that the Voluntary Fund for the Decade should support 
     small projects that affected the everyday life of the 
     indigenous peoples.  

              VI. STUDY ON TREATIES, AGREEMENTS AND OTHER 
                  CONSTRUCTIVE ARRANGEMENTS BETWEEN STATES 
                  AND INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS 

     137. The Special Rapporteur, Mr. Alfonso Martinez, regretted 
     having to inform the Working Group that, owing to technical 
     reasons beyond his control, he had been unable to implement 
     Commission on Human Rights decision 1996/109, in which the 
     Commission had requested the Special Rapporteur to submit a 
     third progress report on the "study on treaties, agreements 
     and other constructive arrangements between States and 
     indigenous populations" to the Working Group at its 
     fourteenth session. The Special Rapporteur also offered an 
     apology for not having been able to submit his second 
     progress report to the Working Group at its thirteenth 
     session in 1995 owing to health problems. The Special 
     Rapporteur said that he would submit the third progress 
     report to the Sub-Commission at its forty-eighth session, 
     and that he would conclude his study and submit his final 
     report in 1997.  

     138. In introducing the item, the Special Rapporteur 
     referred to his second progress report 
     (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/27), especially to his reflections on the 
     minority/indigenous people dichotomy contained in chapter II 
     thereof. He identified a need for further elaboration of 
     that important question. It was essential to identify the 
     distinction between "indigenous peoples" and "minorities". 
     That was specially important in the Asian and African 
     context where, in almost all cases, it could be difficult or 
     even impossible to point out who was indigenous and who was 
     not.  

     139. Mr. Guisse, member of the Working Group, congratulated 
     Mr. Alfonso Martinez on his report and emphasized the 
     importance of further elaboration of the dichotomy between 
     minorities and indigenous peoples.  

     140. Many indigenous representatives emphasized the 
     significance of the ongoing study on treaties. The view was 
     also expressed that treaties remained 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 37 

     one of the best means of achieving equitable relationships 
     between indigenous peoples and States. It was also stated 
     that it was essential to ensure that treaties were respected 
     and implemented.  

     141. An indigenous representative from Australia said that 
     the colonizing powers had used the doctrine of "terra 
     nullius" to rationalize their occupation of Aboriginal and 
     Torres Strait islander lands and territories and that, 
     therefore, no formal treaties had been entered into in 
     Australia between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. The 
     speaker said that the Special Rapporteur should therefore 
     study the contemporary ramifications of the historical 
     application of the "terra nullius" doctrine.  

     142. An indigenous representative from the Pacific referred 
     to document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/32 and said that Ka Lahui 
     Hawai'i was one of the case studies which appeared in that 
     report. The speaker said that that case study had not been 
     completed, and that they therefore urged the Working Group 
     to devote as much time as was required to complete it.  

     143. The representative of an indigenous people in Eastern 
     Europe said that the Special Rapporteur also should 
     undertake case studies pertaining to indigenous peoples in 
     the former Soviet Union. The speaker also said that the 
     treaty study would not be complete without taking into 
     account the cases of indigenous peoples of such a large part 
     of the Earth.  

     144. An indigenous representative from Africa referred to a 
     treaty between the British Government and his people, 
     concluded in 1904, and said that his people had not 
     understood the intent and spirit of that agreement as their 
     leaders were then illiterate and lacked the capacity to 
     understand the effect of the treaty. He said that his people 
     should be compensated and that treaties should be 
     interpreted in favour of the indigenous peoples.  

     145. The Chairperson-Rapporteur congratulated and thanked 
     the Special Rapporteur for his comprehensive oral statement 
     and said that she was looking forward with particular 
     interest to reading his third progress report, which would 
     be submitted to the Sub-Commission at its forty-eighth 
     session.  

                          VII. OTHER MATTERS 

                       A. MEETINGS AND SEMINARS 

     146. An indigenous representative from South America pointed 
     out that indigenous peoples needed training in order to be 
     able to participate fully and effectively in seminars and 
     other meetings.  

     147. An indigenous youth from Northern Europe reported on 
     the holding of the Fourth World Indigenous Youth Conference 
     in Saamiland, which had attracted 500 youth from 23 
     different peoples in every continent. She said that the 
     theme of the Conference, "Striking a balance - old guides, 
     new paths", was aimed at seeking a balanced exchange between 
     political and cultural issues. She informed the Working 
     Group that the Conference had acknowledged that each person 
     had an individual responsibility to lessen the consumption 
     of natural resources, that governmental bodies should 
     support initiatives to develop projects towards the 
     establishment of education systems that prioritized 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 38  

     traditional knowledge and bilingual learning, and that 
     authorities should provide adequate resources to redress the 
     disease of alcoholism using indigenous methods. A concrete 
     outcome of the Conference had been the establishment of the 
     "Indigenous Youth Network" through which indigenous youth 
     from all over the world could communicate with each other.  

     148. An indigenous representative from North America 
     presented a consensus statement of the indigenous 
     preparatory meeting held prior to the Working Group which 
     called for the amendment of Commission on Human Rights 
     resolution 1995/32 of 3 March 1995 in order to ensure the 
     full participation of indigenous peoples in the Working 
     Group on the draft declaration. The representative presented 
     another consensus statement calling upon the Working Group 
     to ensure, by resolution, that the item on the agenda of the 
     Commission on Human Rights, entitled "Indigenous issues" 
     remain as it was or be amended to "Indigenous peoples' 
     rights".  

     149. The representative of the Indian Law Resource Center 
     referred to the United Nations Expert Meeting on Indigenous 
     Land Rights and Claims, held in Whitehorse, Canada, and to 
     the great importance of the land issue for indigenous 
     peoples and Governments. He recommended strongly that the 
     Sub-Commission, if possible during its current session, 
     propose to the Commission on Human Rights the appointment of 
     a special rapporteur of the Sub-Commission to analyse 
     existing land rights arrangements. This proposal was 
     supported by many other indigenous delegations.  

             B. VOLUNTARY FUND FOR INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS 

     150. An indigenous representative from Oceania said that her 
     organization supported the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous 
     Populations and called on organizations and Governments to 
     follow its example and contribute to the Fund. However, she 
     also stated that her organization was subject to stringent 
     financial reporting requirements, and in the interest of 
     open accountability, would appreciate it if the Secretariat 
     could provide it with an annual statement detailing actual 
     expenditure by purpose and region. To facilitate the 
     provision of that information, she recommended that the 
     administration of the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous 
     Populations be transferred from New York to Geneva.  

                 VIII. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 

                          A. STANDARD-SETTING 

     151. The Working Group expressed the view that the standard-
     setting part of its mandate continued to be of fundamental 
     importance.  

     152. The Working Group heard with interest and took note of 
     the comments and suggestions relating to the concept of 
     "indigenous peoples". It also expressed its willingness to 
     assist the working group of the Commission on Human Rights 
     established by Commission resolution 1995/32, if requested, 
     in any conceptual clarification or analysis pertaining to 
     the draft declaration. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 39  

     153. The Working Group noted that representatives of 
     indigenous peoples and many governmental delegations 
     expressed the view that it was neither desirable nor 
     necessary to elaborate a universal definition of "indigenous 
     peoples".  

     154. The Working Group decided to recommend to the Sub-
     Commission that it transmit the working paper of its 
     Chairperson-Rapporteur, Ms. Erica-Irene A. Daes 
     (E/CN.4/Sub.2/AC.4/1996/2) to Governments, intergovernmental 
     organizations and indigenous peoples requesting their 
     comments, and to request the Chairperson-Rapporteur to 
     prepare a supplementary working paper on the basis of the 
     information received for submission to the Working Group at 
     its fifteenth session.  

     155. The Working Group decided to continue its consideration 
     of the concept of "indigenous peoples" at its fifteenth 
     session under the agenda item on standard-setting.  

                       B. REVIEW OF DEVELOPMENTS 

     156. The Working Group noted the view expressed by 
     indigenous peoples and by many Governments that the agenda 
     item dealing with review of developments provided an 
     important opportunity to receive relevant information about 
     the situations of indigenous peoples and recent governmental 
     policy initiatives in that field.  

     157. The Working Group expressed its deep appreciation to 
     the representatives of indigenous organizations which had 
     travelled at great cost and sometimes with difficulty to the 
     United Nations Office at Geneva to provide information about 
     important developments concerning their peoples and 
     communities. It also expressed its deep appreciation to the 
     representatives of observer Governments who had provided 
     substantive and valuable information about recent 
     developments concerning indigenous peoples in their 
     countries.  

     158. The Working Group also expressed its deep appreciation 
     to the representatives of the World Health Organization and 
     the Pan-American Health Organization for their advice and 
     the substantive information and data that they had provided. 
     It also welcomed the participation of the many indigenous 
     health experts and governmental officials who had travelled 
     to Geneva to share their experiences.  

     159. The Working Group decided to recommend to the Sub-
     Commission that it request the Centre for Human Rights to 
     organize with the World Health Organization meetings at the 
     international and regional levels, in the framework of the 
     International Decade of the World's Indigenous People, with 
     the participation of governmental health officials, 
     indigenous health experts and other relevant persons, in 
     order to elaborate practical projects and programmes. Such 
     meetings could draw upon existing good practices and 
     indigenous initiatives in the area of health and could 
     promote the partnership of indigenous and non-indigenous 
     health practices.  

     160. The Working Group expressed its concern about the Human 
     Genome Diversity Programme, in particular the lack of 
     information being made available to indigenous peoples 
     targeted by the project. It considered that the Human Genome 
     Diversity Programme should be halted until all indigenous 
     people 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 40  

     affected were fully informed, and that their free consent 
     should be sought before the project was recommenced. The 
     decision by an indigenous person or community not to 
     cooperate with the project should be respected.  

     161. The Working Group decided to continue its consideration 
     of health and indigenous peoples as a sub-item of the agenda 
     item "Review of developments".  

     162. The Working Group, in the light of the experience of 
     its fourteenth session and the comments made by 
     participants, decided to highlight as a first sub-item of 
     its agenda item "Review of developments" the question of 
     "indigenous peoples: land and environment". In that regard, 
     it decided to request that the Sub-Commission seek 
     information from Governments, specialized agencies, in 
     particular the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 
     intergovernmental organizations and indigenous and non-
     governmental organizations to be made available in a 
     background paper at its next session.  

     163. The Working Group decided, subject to endorsement by 
     the Sub-Commission of the recommendation contained in the 
     previous paragraph, to request the Chairperson-Rapporteur to 
     inform the Board of Trustees of the Voluntary Fund for 
     Indigenous Populations that its fifteenth session would 
     highlight questions related to indigenous peoples: land and 
     environment, so that the Board could take into account that 
     information when it considered applications to the Fund.  

                          C. PERMANENT FORUM 

     164. The Working Group noted that many indigenous 
     representatives and governmental observer delegations had 
     expressed the view that the proposed permanent forum should 
     be established at the highest possible level within the 
     United Nations system and that the proposed forum should not 
     be a replacement for the Working Group on Indigenous 
     Populations.  

     165. The Working Group emphasized the importance of the 
     ongoing review of existing United Nations mechanisms, 
     procedures and programmes, and expressed the hope that the 
     relevant United Nations bodies and agencies would facilitate 
     the completion of the review by providing the necessary 
     information.  

     166. The Working Group expressed its appreciation to the 
     Government of Chile for its offer to host the second 
     workshop on the proposed permanent forum in that country, at 
     the beginning of 1997.  

                    D. INTERNATIONAL DECADE OF THE 
                       WORLD'S INDIGENOUS PEOPLE 

     167. The Working Group welcomed the comprehensive Programme 
     of Activities of the International Decade of the World's 
     Indigenous People, adopted by the General Assembly in its 
     resolution 50/157, and expressed its willingness to 
     cooperate with the Coordinator of the Decade, the Assistant 
     Secretary-General for Human Rights, in the realization of 
     the programme.  

     168. The Working Group noted the decision by the Coordinator 
     of the Decade to form an advisory group for the Voluntary 
     Fund for the International Decade of the World's Indigenous 
     People, as well as the guidelines for the Fund prepared by 
     the advisory group and the projects approved by the 
     Coordinator. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 41  

     169. The Working Group also noted the observations and 
     concerns expressed by some Governments and indigenous 
     organizations concerning the financial and administrative 
     arrangements for the Voluntary Funds for indigenous people 
     and decided to recommend to the Sub-Commission that it 
     request the appropriate services of the United Nations to 
     establish separate accounts for the Voluntary Fund for the 
     International Decade and the Voluntary Fund for Indigenous 
     Populations and, if possible, to transfer the financial 
     management of the Funds from New York to Geneva to ensure 
     transparency and facilitate management by the Centre for 
     Human Rights, and to establish different membership for the 
     bodies advising on those two Funds.  

     170. The Working Group noted the view expressed by 
     indigenous peoples that information about the United Nations 
     and its activities relating to indigenous peoples should be 
     improved and decided to recommend to the Sub-Commission and 
     to the Coordinator of the Decade that the Centre for Human 
     Rights should organize a workshop for indigenous journalists 
     with the participation of appropriate departments of the 
     United Nations and other relevant institutions and persons.  

     171. The Working Group decided to undertake at its fifteenth 
     session a thorough review of the activities planned and 
     actually carried out under the Programme of Activities of 
     the Decade during its first three years.  

     172. The Working Group expressed its concern about the 
     observation by the United Nations of the International Day 
     of the World's Indigenous People (9 August), in particular 
     the absence of representatives of indigenous people on the 
     International Day at the United Nations Office at Geneva. It 
     decided to recommend that the Sub-Commission request the 
     Secretary-General to consult with the indigenous people 
     represented at its twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth 
     sessions on whether the commemoration of the International 
     Day should be brought forward to 1 August in order to 
     coincide with the annual sessions of the Working Group on 
     Indigenous Populations.  

                            E. TREATY STUDY 

     173. Many indigenous representatives emphasized the 
     significance of the ongoing study on treaties, agreements 
     and other constructive arrangements being prepared by the 
     Special Rapporteur, Mr Alfonso Martinez, and stated that 
     they looked forward to the third and final report on the 
     work carried out.  

     174. The Working Group heard with great interest suggestions 
     and views relating to the treaty study, including the 
     suggestion that the Special Rapporteur should study the 
     contemporary significance of the historical doctrine of 
     "terra nullius".  

     175. The Working Group stressed the importance of Sub-
     Commission decision 1995/118, subsequently endorsed by the 
     Commission on Human Rights in its decision 1996/109, in 
     which it was recommended that the Special Rapporteur 
     undertake a field mission to examine in situ the 
     contemporary significance of a historic treaty in one 
     country as a practical example for inclusion in the final 
     report. 

     E/CN.4/Sub.2/1996/21 
     page 42  

              F. MEETINGS, CONFERENCES AND OTHER MATTERS 

     176. The Working Group, noting the joint statement prepared 
     by indigenous representatives, decided to recommend that the 
     Sub-Commission and its parent bodies consider the renaming 
     of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations as the 
     "Working Group on Indigenous Peoples".  

     177. The Working Group expressed its appreciation to the 
     Government of Canada for hosting the Expert Seminar on 
     Indigenous Land Rights and Claims in Whitehorse in March 
     1996. It expressed support for the conclusions and 
     recommendations of the Expert Seminar and noted the extreme 
     importance to indigenous peoples and to Governments of 
     finding mutually acceptable solutions to the issue of land.  

     178. The Working Group decided to recommend to the Sub-
     Commission that a study be undertaken, and in that respect, 
     a special rapporteur be appointed to conduct a comprehensive 
     study of the problem of recognition of and respect for 
     indigenous land rights. Furthermore, such a study should 
     provide a detailed and updated account of the status of 
     efforts to secure indigenous land rights and of the problems 
     that continued to exist in that regard.  

     179. The Working Group decided to consider the following 
     questions as separate agenda items at its fifteenth session: 
     "Standard-setting activities", including a sub-item on "the 
     concept of indigenous peoples"; "Review of developments 
     pertaining to the human rights and fundamental freedoms of 
     indigenous peoples", including sub-items on "indigenous 
     peoples: land and environment" and "indigenous peoples and 
     health"; "Permanent forum for indigenous people"; 
     "International Decade of the World's Indigenous People"; 
     "Treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements 
     between States and indigenous populations"; "Other 
     matters".  

     180. The Working Group expressed its deep appreciation to 
     the Secretariat for the preparations for its fourteenth 
     session, in particular the documentation made available to 
     participants, and requested that an annotated agenda be 
     prepared, as in previous years, for its fifteenth and 
     subsequent sessions. 

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