Los Claretianos se unen a los pueblos indígenas en el Foro de la ONU en defensa de los derechos territoriales y la justicia ambiental

May 6, 2024 | Presencia en la ONU

New York, United States of America. The 23rd session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII23) was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 15 to 26 April. Fr. Efren Decreto, CMF of the Fr. Rhoel Gallardo Province of the Philippines, who represented ASCLA East at the Forum, was one of the members of the Claretian team at the UN.

Established on 28 July 2000, the main objective of the UNPFII is to address, discuss and find solutions to various indigenous issues related to economic transformation, social development, cultural preservation, land administration, quality education and healthcare programmes.  The central theme of this 23rd UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was “Strengthening the right of indigenous peoples to self-determination in the context of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; highlighting the voices of indigenous youth”. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an indigenous woman from the Mbororo pastoralist community in Chad, was elected chair of the Fourm.

Several pressing issues were highlighted during the Forum:

1. The need to advocate for the recognition and enforcement of the right to free and informed consent in all projects affecting indigenous territories. Indigenous communities emphasised their right to participate in decision-making processes affecting their lands and resources, while demanding respect for their inherent rights.

2. The pervasive threats faced by indigenous peoples in securing their livelihoods, families and futures were highlighted. Their tireless efforts to protect their lands and cultures face ongoing challenges.

3. Reaffirm the need to protect indigenous territories and ancestral sites, as several extractive projects disguised as “green energy” continue to destroy nature and ecosystems. Indigenous peoples have a different concept of territory from that of urbanised peoples, with some remaining mobile (rejecting the pejorative term “nomads”) and others living in a stable way, considering the earth as part of their existence and not something to be negotiated.

4. Expressing the dream of dismantling border barriers, as peace will not be possible if barriers continue to be erected against each other. Unfortunately, many indigenous peoples still face discrimination and lack of education.

5. Recognise the scientific knowledge of traditional indigenous medicine, which saves countless lives through its knowledge of nature. Indigenous peoples are first and foremost guardians of Mother Nature, protecting the environment from irresponsible fishing, logging, mining and other inhumane practices.

The Claretian UN team, as a member of the NGO Mining Working Group (MWG), supported the preparation of three side events: 

– A conversation with the delegation of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM), 

– Raising the Voices of Indigenous Youth in Pursuit of Self-Determination, and 

– a global conversation on mechanisms to protect territories, based on experiences in Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, the USA, the Philippines and West Papua. Efren Decreto shared his experiences with indigenous peoples in the Basilan and Sarangani missions.

The Claretian team at the UN and the MWG are part of the international accompaniers of REPAM, underlining their commitment to advocacy and lobbying within the UN framework, and amplifying indigenous voices on the global stage.

Source: Source: Fr. Rohan Dominic, CMF, CMF at UN Team.



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