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Indigenous expert mechanism holds 3rd session

UN Human Rights Chief greets Human Rights Council President © UN Photo/Jean-Marc FerréOver 500 indigenous and State representatives as well as UN experts converged on Geneva to participate in the third annual session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP).

This year, the Expert Mechanism will consider a progress report on its study on indigenous peoples’ right to participate in decision making, to be presented at the 15th session of the Human Rights Council in September in Geneva. The Mechanism’s five experts based their research on international human rights standards and indigenous peoples’ internal decision making processes. They also analysed indigenous peoples’ participation in State and non-State institutions and processes affecting them.

The Expert Mechanism provides substantive advice on the rights of indigenous peoples to the UN Human Rights Council. It also offers participants an opportunity to share views and experiences on the promotion and protection of indigenous peoples’ rights.

“In our common search for solutions, expert guidance is always crucial. The Expert Mechanism can play a key role by providing sound and constructive thematic expertise, studies and research-based advice to the Human Rights Council”, UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay said at the session’s opening. “You have already demonstrated this through the first thematic study on the right to education, which was well received by the Human Rights Council. I would like to encourage all stakeholders present here today to put those valuable results to active use, as you address issues related to education and indigenous peoples.”

The Mechanism works in close collaboration with other UN bodies. The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, Mr. James Anaya and the Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Mr. Carlos Mamani will take part in the session and a number of side events around it.

The Expert Mechanism also receives contributions to its studies from various partners, as highlighted by the newly appointed President of the Human Rights Council, Mr. Sihasak Phuangkekeow.

“The fact that a significant number of written contributions have been submitted to the Expert Mechanism to support its research and preparation of its progress report is another sign of the importance attached by States and other stakeholders to the work of the Expert Mechanism”, said the President of the Council. “I would like to invite all the observers present at this third session to further contribute to the topic of indigenous peoples and the right to participate in decision-making, taking into account the progress report prepared by the Expert Mechanism.”

The participants will also have the opportunity to learn more about the various components of the UN human rights system dealing with indigenous issues, as well as the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review process. Further discussion will revolve around the promotion of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The 3rd EMRIP session will take place in Palais des Nations, Geneva on 12-16 July.

12 July 2010