By Victor M. Carriba
UNITED NATIONS, June 6 (NNN-PRENSA LATINA) - Five hundred twenty years after colonisers arrived in America (the New World), Indians from all countries returned to the United Nations to claim for the legacy their communities are still suffering due to that invasion.
The first Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit to be held in 2014 is the culmination of more than five centuries of struggle to defend the rights denied to these groups.
Over 2,000 representatives of indigenous groups have just completed two weeks of discussions in the world organisation headquarters in New York on the eleventh session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
"The Doctrine of Discovery and its lasting impact on indigenous peoples and the right to redress for past conquests", was the main issue of the discussions.
Chilean Hortensia Hidalgo from aymara indigenous community said that European conquerors used the cross and the sword to impose their doctrine of a god and a king, obtained papal dispensation to Christianise the Indians and created the concept of higher and lower races.
They invaded the indigenous territories, systematically broke these peoples´rights, they are responsible for climate change and now they speak about green economy only to persist in its plundering policies of Mother Earth, she asserted.
UN conclave agreed to encourage States to rectify mistakes caused by this and other doctrines, including the braking of indigenous communities rights to land.
It also ratified the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in its complaint to the doctrines, policies and practices based on the superiority of peoples or individuals because of national origin and racial, religious, ethnic or cultural difference.
Such behaviours are racist, scientifically false, legally invalid, morally condemnable and socially unjust, delegates said.
In that manner, States have suppressed indigenous peoples rights to lands, territories and resources traditionally owned, occupied or used and demanded respect for their customs, traditions and land ownership systems.
The statement is part of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted in September 2007 by the General Assembly, whose fifth anniversary was commemorated during the eleventh session of the forum.
The meeting issued another recommendation on the right of these communities to food sovereignty, which linked the collective recognition of their powers regarding land and resources, culture and social organisation.
In this regard, it urged States to facilitate the strengthening of traditional food systems, ratifying and demarcating indigenous territories so they can better develop their activities in food production.
It also called for progress in negotiations for an international legal instrument to ensure the effective protection of traditional indigenous knowledge, cultural expressions, folklore and genetic resources.
The Latin American caucus proposed the adoption of a Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth, for the World Summit of Indigenous Peoples in 2014.
It recalled that native populations are inheritors of great civilisations and have had a hard time winning their rights recognition in international legal instruments.
However, it reported that the current neoliberal model violates the rights of indigenous peoples and Mother Earth, reduces States to lowest terms, with the main goal of dictating policies that encourage investment, particularly in extractive industries.
Because of this, indigenous peoples suffer the plundering of land and natural resources, forced displacement, pollution, damage to health and the violation of their sacred sites, as explained.
They also suffer the imposition of repressive, predatory, homogenizing and foreign development models which evidence its inviability in multiple crises and the lack of right to consultation and free, previous and informed consent.
This part of discussions points directly at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio 20) to be held next month in Rio de Janeiro city.
For all that, the New York meeting urged 2014 summit to discuss about new paradigms, such as "multinational states against the nation-state in crisis and climate change" and the notion of the good life as an alternative to the crisis and green economy.
The meeting also focused the violence against indigenous women to agree actions aimed at implementing gender perspective plans and females protection.
The event called for combating human trafficking and all ways of exploitation and urged indigenous communities to denounce that kind of violence against their women.
The main goal is to protect victims, prosecute perpetrators and avoid all ways of exploitation, including human trafficking.
On this last issue, the forum experts ratified previous suggestions to address human trafficking for sexual exploitation and prostitution and other related to Aboriginal women's disappearance and murder.
Some customs such as: mutilation, female circumcision, bride wealth marriage, racism and discrimination were also discussed.
Only two years left for the first Summit of Indigenous Peoples, whose organisation must have the leading role of these communities and their representatives, according to Foreign Minister of Bolivia, David Choquehuanca.
The minister, who filed specific proposals, said the appointment should analyse the fulfillment of the objectives set for the second decade of the World's Indigenous People (2005-2014) and the implementation of 2007 declaration.
The document contains 46 items; the first one reads that "the Indians are entitled, as a collective or as individuals, to the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms."
And the second states that these communities "are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the right to be free from any discrimination in the exercise of their rights, particularly those based on their indigenous origin or identity."