Les Malezer

Les Malezer
United Nations Indigenous Peoples Caucus
Foundation for Aboriginal and Islander Research Action

The Third Session of the Human Rights Council took place in Geneva between 29 November - 8 December 2006. Several governments spoke in strong support of the immediate adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Statements by Indigenous Peoples' representatives were also presented in the Third Session. The following is a brief statement to the Human Rights Council by Indigenous representative, Les Malezer.


Human Rights Council
Third Session, 29 November to 8 December 2006?at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland

Oral Statements, 7 December 2006
12th Plenary Meeting

Thank you Mr. President.

We can support the preliminary conclusions that have been provided in your document 6. In particular, we support that the main legal traditions and civilizations be represented, providing that this term does include Indigenous peoples.

Regarding the future functions, we would like to recount our own experiences as Indigenous peoples. For example, it has taken over twenty years, including a UN Decade on Indigenous Peoples, for the United Nations to understand the human rights issues that are pertaining to Indigenous peoples. The manifest abuses of the human rights of Indigenous peoples have still not been addressed as we struggle to establish standards and structures.

Despite the extensive work over an extensive period, many states still do not know who the Indigenous peoples are, do not know that self-determination is not a right to secession, do not know that free, prior, and informed consent is not a right of veto over parliaments, and have constitutions, legal systems and laws, which they admit do not address the equality of human rights of Indigenous peoples.

The key points to be made are that there's a strong link between an expert body and input by non-state parties and Indigenous peoples. The United Nations needs to promote a democratic process involving peoples and maximizing civil society representation, especially through experts, as well as through the states. There still needs to much to be learned by states in relation to human rights. There is still a need to counteract political interests which are retained in the Human Rights Council and other structures.

Much of the momentum and initiatives for human rights does come from the direction of experts and civil societies. We urge continued support for Indigenous expertise to be involved through the expert body and any relevant subsidiary bodies. Thank you Mr. Chairman.



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