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EU Statement at the WGDD


Below is a statement by Representative of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Ms Caroline Rees, First Secretary, on behalf of the European Union to the Working Group on the draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, convened in Geneva from 5 until 16 December 2005.

Mr Chairman,

I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and the acceding countries Bulgaria and Romania.

As we made clear in our initial written statement, the EU considers that it is essential for the future of this Working Group that we achieve definitive progress in our work during this critical session.

After the first two weeks of discussions, the EU is very encouraged both by the constructive attitude shown by indigenous peoples’ representatives and by States, and by the clear emerging consensus on a significant number of articles, including those related to self-determination, lands and territories, and the package for provisional agreement.

As you have said Mr Chairman, “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. But we believe that on many issues, including most of the controversial ones, this meeting, under your able guidance, has reached a point of no return. It is clear that a number of reasonable consensual alternatives have emerged this month that should pave the way to final agreement in the near future.

In that sense, the EU appreciates your efforts to identify consensus around a package of articles on self-determination with the aim of maintaining Article 3 in the original version while addressing remaining concerns of States and indigenous peoples in other appropriate articles. The EU is ready to support your approach and will work actively during the third week of this session to assist you in reaching final agreement on this crucial issue.

We have also come to believe that the debate on Article 45 on general provisions will be resolved in light of various constructive proposals presented during this session.

We also welcome the progress made on certain of the articles addressing lands, territories and resources.

We appreciate the efforts facilitated by Norway in collaboration with the indigenous caucus to identify a package of articles that we can provisionally agree at this session of the working group. We welcome also the constructive attitude of participants, both States and representatives of indigenous peoples, in facilitating this process by considering new proposals that can move us towards consensus. In this context, the EU believes that we must continue our work to go beyond the list of 23 articles already reported to you by Norway, including some key provisions still under discussion and now close to agreement.

Mr Chairman,

The EU is aware that we all have to contribute to achieving the mandate that was given to you, Mr Chairman, to finalize favourably these negotiations before the end of next year. Against this backdrop, we will participate in the last part of this session on the understanding that our common goal has to be to agree on a finalized draft declaration. To do so the EU collectively or through its Members States will continue to encourage and support convergence towards consensus on the full range of outstanding issues.

Source: UNPO

Source: OHCHR

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