Armstrong Wiggins
Central and South American Program
Indian Law Resource Center

Armstrong WigginsA greeting to my Miskito people if they ever listen to this. We had an important gathering in Guatemala City where we analysed the OAS Declaration with our Indigenous brothers and sisters of the Americas. I have contributed to the legal language of the Declaration, comparing it with other instruments or proposals of instruments, such as the UN Declaration or laws such as (ILO) Convention169, as well as national legislation adopted by different North, Central and South American countries and we have come to the conclusion that the language of the Declaration has yet to be considerably improved.

I have the opportunity to participate in the Working Group taking place in Washington during the first week of April (2001). Prior to that, there will be a meeting of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, in Canada. The Indigenous Peoples from the continent have had a great opportunity for acquiring a better understanding of the Declaration and to decide the best way to participate in the Working Group meeting of the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, Permanent Council of the Organization of American States. Thank you.

Indian Law Resource Center
Landmark Victory for Indians in International
Human Rights Case Against Nicaragua
September 18, 2001

Statement By The Indian Law Resource Center To The Special Commission On Inter-American Summits Management
Washington, D.C.
February 18, 2000
Emperatriz Cahuache Casado
Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon
Regarding the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

Emperatriz Cahuache CasadoGood afternoon. I especially thank this interview for taking into account the voices of the Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon, whom I represent. I am the legal representative and President of the Organization of Indigenous Peoples of the Colombian Amazon. I represent 56 Amazonian peoples and we share twenty-three different languages.

We have come to participate in this event, in this very important meeting that the OAS has created and we thank the new initiative of the governments to open forums where we can participate through Working Groups in the discussion of our doubts as well as our hopes. Why not? That is why we have been here for the last three days sharing with governments, embassies from different countries belonging to the OAS and Indigenous Peoples from different countries of the American continent.

Regarding the Declaration submitted by the OAS Commission, we have said that the peoples have not had enough information. We are not rejecting this new space that has been opened, that has been given to us, but it requires more time for further discussion so that the consultation is solid and adequate and the information will reach the communities we represent and therefore, we may not make decisions on these important matters yet. We have to bring here to these international forums the thoughts of Indigenous Peoples.

Therefore, we ask for prudential time to make previous consultations due to the structural ways of consultations within each Indigenous community in each country. For example, in Colombia, the consultation is done at the level of Indigenous Peoples, but after that stage, the agreement is between government and Indigenous Peoples. Therefore, in this forum I want the opportunity to be heard by other Indigenous brothers and sisters. We are discussing what our communities are thinking about: the existence of Indigenous Peoples.
Marcial Arias Garcia
Napguana Association
Marcial Arias GarciaI have been trying to point out the situation in Guatemala. In Guatemala, we are trying to discuss or rather we are discussing the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Unfortunately, after 500 years, our territories are still being invaded, cultures of ours are still disappearing. Our rights are still being taken away from us.
Therefore, the American Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a means for stopping these types of invasions, this type of colonization, this way of losing our culture, which will bring death and sickness to our territories.
And therefore, we make a call to youth. Our young people will definitely have to continue fighting governments, transnational companies because they are the ones destroying our lands, our forests and ultimately our life. Thank you.


Index of Draft American Declaration | History | Proposed American Declaration | Working Document Comparing Proposed Declaration | Dialogue 2001 | Journey to the Summit | Third Summit of the Americas 2001 | Dialogue 2002 | Dialogue 2003 | Negotiations with Indigenous Representatives 2003 | Second Meeting of Negotiations 2004 | Third Meeting of Negotiations 2004 | Consolidated Text of Draft Declaration | Interactive Version of Consolidated Text

Draft American Declaration


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