By Jenna Kunze
NEW YORK—After a two-week forum at United Nations headquarters in New York, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues adopted its final report on Friday, May 6. The meeting was called nearly two hours late due to a dispute over which languages would be included in the report.
Truth, reconciliation and justice
One of the highlights of the report was the decision of the Forum to create a working group dedicated to truth, reconciliation and transitional justice, including in post-conflict areas, for a lasting peace that respects the rights of indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective inclusion, including indigenous women.
The group was requested by Shawnee Chief Ben Barnes and Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald. Its core will be made up of the three indigenous members of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Sheryl Lightfoot (Anishinaabe First Nations), Laila Susanne Vars (Norwegian-Sami) and Megan Davis (Aboriginal Australian). It will also include other indigenous peoples, academics and representatives of civil society groups.
Social Determinants of Health for Indigenous Peoples
The Permanent Forum’s report also recommends that the World Health Organization integrate the culture of indigenous peoples into its policies on the social determinants of health, and that the WHO review, update and expand its policies on health of indigenous peoples.
Youth delegate Anpo Jensen (Oglala Lakota) and National Indian Health Council Vice President Nickolaus Lewis both requested that the Permanent Forum include them as action points.
Lewis encouraged the UN to make the public health concerns of the world’s indigenous people “a top and urgent priority”.
In response to Jensen’s testimony linking mining in South Dakota’s Black Hills to disproportionately high suicide rates among Oglala Lakota youth on the nearby Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, the Forum called on the United Nations for Food and Agriculture and WHO to amend their codes of conduct on pesticide management to include the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples.
The Permanent Forum also called on Canada and the United States of America to develop national action plans “to achieve the objectives of UNDRIP [United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples] and appointing an ambassador or special envoy for global indigenous affairs to promote the rights of indigenous peoples around the world, including in relation to participation.
The 22nd session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will be held next year. Its theme will be a rights-based approach to indigenous peoples, human health, planetary and territorial health and climate change.
“It’s always a holistic theme,” said the Permanent Forum’s rapporteur, Tove Søvndahl Gant (Denmark). Indigenous News Online.
More stories like this
Native Bidaské (Spotlight) with Jenna Kunze talking about the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Deb Haaland Addresses the Crisis of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples
Child shot and killed in drive-by shooting on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
Hundreds Attend Missing and Murdered Indigenous Peoples Event in Grand Rapids
Do you enjoy an Indigenous perspective on the news?
For the past decade and more, we’ve covered important Indigenous stories that are often overlooked by other media. From the protests at Standing Rock and the toppling of colonizer statues during the racial equity protests, to the ongoing epidemic of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW) and delinquent accounts related to assimilation, cultural genocide and at Indian Residential Schools, we were there to provide an Indigenous perspective and elevate Indigenous voices.
Our short stories are free to read for everyone, but they are not free to produce. That’s why we’re asking you to donate this month to support our efforts. Any contribution – large or small – helps us to remain a force for change in Indian Country and to continue to tell the stories that are so often ignored, erased or neglected.
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.