Preparatory Indigenous Caucus Meeting- Sunday 8th of July ahead of the 5th Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous People (EMRIP)
In order to prepare for the fifth Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), the indigenous peoples held a caucus in order to prepare, organize and put forward issues that deeply concerned them. The discussion surrounded concerns over the best way for indigenous organizations to connect with EMRIP and ultimately, the UN's processes at the international level. Many expressed concern that too much talking and too much money was spent at the international level, without any real effect felt by the grass-root constituents. South American representatives in particular voiced their criticisms of the utility of EMRIP's studies, and wanted EMRIP to be endowed with more concrete, binding ability at the level of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The EMRIP secretariat then joined the caucus to listen to criticism, answer questions and respond to praise. PIDP-KIVU and IPACC representatives asked how the EMRIP Secretariat intended on connecting their interaction with the OHCHR and processes with the realities on the ground. In particular, Joseph Itongwa suggested that rather than attempting to individually connect with NGO's as grassroot levels internationally, EMRIP ought to use network organisations like IPACC to create a flow of information, to and from the grass roots level. This would have the effect of making EMRIP's annual studies much more forceful, but also make them more pertinent and reflective of the grass-roots situations.
The Caucus examined the possibility of a joint statement and ideas for draft, but ultimately decided that this would be too time consuming. Instead, the caucus called on indigenous representatives to support the recommendations put forward by the Permanent Forum on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in order to give a stronger, united voice for the indigenous population.
Approached topics included:
1) The study on the role of languages and culture in the promotion and protection of the rights and identity of indigenous peoples
2) A review of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
3) The devastion caused by extractive industries to indigenous human rights, in particular land rights.
The caucus was carried out with a sense of importance, urgency but also good humor and respect for one another's opinion and culture reflective of the sense of community amongst indigenous peoples worldwide.
Delegates from PIDP-KIVU (Diel Mochire and Joseph Itongwa) as well as TANIPE delegate Edward Tunyon ensured Congolose DRC and Tanzanian representation.