Dialogue Between Nations

24 April 2008

6th & 7th Meetings



24 April 2008
7th session of the UN Permanent forum
7th session of the UN Permanent forum
AM Session: 24 April 08 Original Sound (duration 3:38:00)
PM Session: 24 April 08 Original Sound
(duration 3:38:00)

Legborsi Saro Pyagbara Armand McKenzie Qin Xiaomeli Grand Chief Edward John
Legborsi Saro Pyagbara
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People
Armand McKenzie
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples
Innu Nation
Institut Culturel Educatif Montagnais
Qin Xiaomei
PFII Member
Grand Chief Edward John
Hereditary Chief (Akile Ch'oh) of Tl'azt'en Nation
North America Regional Caucus
First Nations Summit

The dbn.tv team in Canada and Spain wishes to thank the UN Audio Library
and the Recording Room for their collaboration
in making these sessions available around the world



Economic and Social Council
24 April 2008 r> Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Seventh Session 6th & 7th Meetings (AM & PM)


Language rights should be implemented as a collective and individual right since they were integral to self-determination, a member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues said today during a half-day debate devoted to indigenous languages.

Implementation of language rights must be viewed from a holistic perspective, Lars Anders Baer, the Forum member from Sweden, continued, saying it could not be enjoyed in the absence of other human rights. Some States were promoting the use of indigenous languages, but programmes were under-funded. He called for the drafting of a convention to protect indigenous languages, identities and cultural rights and for the creation of an authoritative body on the matter. A special rapporteur on language rights and a commissioner on "language discrimination" should be named. He added that violation of language rights was a form of cultural genocide and the Forum should consider appropriate action. (complete Press Release available here)

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues continued its seventh annual session today, with a focus on: climate change; implementation of recommendations on the six mandated areas of the Permanent Forum and on the Millennium Development Goals (economic and social development, environment, health, education, culture and human rights); and indigenous languages.

Presentations from four panelists: Lars Anders Baer, member of the Permanent Forum from Sweden; Lourdes Tiban, Secretaria Ejecutiva Nacional (Executive Secretary), Consejo de Desarrollo de las Nacionalidades y Peublos del Ecuador; Rochelle Roca-Hachem, Programme Specialist for Culture, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Anna Lucia D'emilio, Senior Adviser, Education and Excluded Population, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Office; and Richard Grounds, Director, Euchee Language Project.



Lars Ander Baer

Lars Anders Baer
Member of the Permanent Forum from Sweden

Mr. BAER said Governments tended to be highly unaware of the effects had by the loss of language -- indigenous languages were a vessel of traditional knowledge on biological diversity, for example. Many did little to reverse the trend. He noted that 2008 was the International Year of Languages, and that the Permanent Forum had recommended that the Economic and Social Council convene an expert meeting on indigenous languages in preparation for it. That meeting took place from 21 April to 2 May 2007. On 10 January, it adopted conclusions and recommendations (document E/C.19/2008/3), in which it suggested that language rights be implemented as a collective and individual right, since they were integral to self-determination.


Lourdes Tiban
Secretaria Ejecutiva Nacional (Executive Secretary)
Consejo de Desarrollo de las Nacionalidades y Pueblos del Ecuador

Ms. TIBAN said measures were being taken in her country to ensure that education in indigenous languages was made available. Many criticized the dual language system, but language accounted for the richness of culture. The right to use one's indigenous language had been incorporated into the 1994 Constitution of Ecuador, yet very few had exercised their right to avail themselves of the resources to do so. There were few indigenously speaking attorneys capable of representing indigenous peoples as a result. The thinking about indigenous practices, lifestyles and language needed to change. For example, Quechua was considered a backward language, but in actuality it took a very intelligent person to speak it.


Rochelle Roca-Hachem
Programme Specialist for Culture
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Ms. ROCA-HACHEM said she was pleased that the discussion on language was taking place during the 2008 Year of Languages, because languages had been gaining in importance throughout the world in the past few years and concern for linguistic diversity and multilingualism was growing. "Languages are a vehicle of knowledge, a tool for communication and inclusion, and an expression of identity and diversity", she said. Important statements and standard-setting instruments had testified to a growing awareness of the importance of language at the international level.

Richard Grounds
Euchee Language Project

Mr. GROUNDS took the floor to deliver a greeting in the Euchee language, which he later translated to mean "Languages were gifts from the Creator. The Euchee would exist so long as the language was alive". He then explained that the Euchee language was now only spoken by five people in the world, as was the case with many other Native American languages. The New York Times and US News and World Report showed that Oklahoma, where the Euchee people lived, was one of the places on the planet where languages were disappearing at a fast rate.


Anna Lucia D'emilio
Senior Adviser, Education and Excluded Population
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Latin America and the
Caribbean Regional Office

Ms. D'EMILIO noted that, before ILO Convention 169 and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples came into being, there existed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which had been ratified by almost all countries. That Convention contained a provision saying that no indigenous child could be denied the right to his or her language and culture. By that provision, no one could prevent the right of children to use English in the United States, say, or Italian in Italy. However, from UNICEF's standpoint, the exercise of that right could not be conditioned by the number of speakers of a given language. Therefore, it was working with small communities whose language was in danger of becoming extinct


7th session of the UN Permanent forum UN RADIO
(duration: 14'00")

Indigenous people say the impact of climate change on their lives,
territories and resources need to be considered now.

An unprecedented 3,300 indigenous people have gathered this week at UN headquarters in New York to participate in a two week meeting of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

This is the only UN body with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.

This year the theme being discussed is "climate change bio-cultural diversity and livelihoods." Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, an indigenous Igorot from the Philippines, is the chairperson of this forum and she says there are several issues that indigenous people consider most critical. The first: the effects of the demand for alternative sources of fuel such as biofuels, on their human rights.

At the trade and development meeting in Ghana, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister warns that the problem of rising food prices needs to be recognised as a crisis and collectively addressed by the international community.

One of the many issues that has been a talking point at the 12th session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development [UNCTAD] taking place in Accra, Ghana, is the challenge that rising food prices is posing to countries around the world. Of particular concern is what this will mean to the group of states known as the Least Developed Countries. The Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Iftekhar Chowdhury, addressing this issue at the meeting this week said the situation was absolutely urgent.

And the latest buzz on fighting malaria.

Malaria kills up to one million people a year. Friday April 25th is the first-ever World Malaria Day. Two new campaigns have been launched in the fight against the disease. One involves professional basketball players; the other, two talking mosquitoes. Dianne Penn has the latest buzz on malaria prevention.

Producer: Gail Bindley-Taylor Sainte


Intro 2008
Opening 1st & 2nd Meetings | 3rd and 4th Meetings | 5th Meeting | 6th and 7th Meetings | 8th and 9th Meetings

Kari-Oca Revisited

 Nations to Nations Legend

Copyright Natalie Drache 1999