World Conference Controversy Continues at UN Permanent Forum

Gale Courey Toensing

The question of who the indigenous representatives to the WCIP will be is still up in the air. Some NAIPC members seemed to accept the two names that were suggested; others opposed them.

“Of course, we’re closely watching the developments for the planning of the plenary meeting – which is not a World Conference on Indigenous Peoples,” said NAIPC Co-Chair Debra Harry, referring obliquely to the WCIP’s short duration – three hours – as opposed to the nine-to-10 day sessions that usually comprise world conferences. “One of the things we’ll be watching for is whether the Permanent Forum complies with the request of the PGA to identify two indigenous people to serve as advisers to him in the development of the high level plenary meeting and the problem with that is that it violates Indigenous Peoples right to decide upon their own representatives and to speak for themselves and if the Permanent Forum does play that role, basically, it would be a U.N. agency deciding on behalf of Indigenous Peoples who the advisers should  be. So it would usurp our right to determine our representative.”

The mechanism for decision-making is in the seven regional bodies that have formed around the permanent forum, Harry said. But It seems there are mixed opinions in the various regions, she said. “I think that no region seems to have a complete consensus around how they’re going to move forward. And I think we’ll continue to see that debate taking place at the permanent forum.”

Although the special two-day interactive meeting will not take place, a three-hour discussion of the WCIP will take place on May 19, according to the Permanent Forum agenda.


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Two Bears Growling's picture
Two Bears Growling
Submitted by Two Bears Growling on
What a load of nonsense! They refuse to allow indigenous people to have a say on what will be on a document that pertains to them? How ridiculous is that! This sounds mighty familiar to we First Nations peoples doesn't it! How often have we had that all happen in the treaties we were asked to sign by the USA, Canada & various European countries through the past few centuries? MORE than we care to count! It is foolish, egotistical & arrogant of a entity under the guise of the UN to dare think they know what is best for Indigenous people when we aren't even being allowed to draft the final document! I would urge all peoples being denied their rightful place at the table to simply walk out, protest & expose what is going on with this all. No one knows what is best for a people but those who are of those certain groups. To say otherwise is foolishness & arrogant. It sounds to me that a certain group are so full of themselves that they can't even see it! Ask we First Nations peoples how well that all turned out for us!