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International presentation/Interventions Human Rights - Working Group on Indigenous Populations

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 Working Group on Indigenous Populations

22nd Session

OHCHR-Geneva, Switzerland July 19-23 2004


Land: North America, USA

FIAAH Representative; Rev.RaDine Amen-ra


One of the goals for FIAAH at international forums is to ensure there is representation and submit documentation concerning collective issues on behalf of the indigenous American Indian people racially identified as black Americans.



The Working Group on Indigenous Populations, which was established pursuant to Economic and Social Council resolutions 1982/34 is a subsidiary organ of the Sub commission on the promotion and protection of Human Rights under the OHCHR.

The Working Group has a two fold mandate:

  1. to review developments pertaining to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples.

  2. to give attention to the evolution of International standards concerning indigenous rights.


Thematic Issues for 2004: Indigenous peoples and conflict resolution. This year OHCHR invited all relevant organizations and departments of the United Nations system to provide information and if possible participate in the meetings of the Working Group. Experts of the Working group submitted preliminary working papers for discussion and review.

  1. On the principle of free, prior and informed consent of indigenous people in relation to development affecting their lands and natural resources that would serve as a framework for drafting of a legal commentary by the Working Group on this concept.

  2. A working paper to serve as a guideline for the review of the draft principles and guidelines on the heritage of Indigenous people to be undertaken by the Working Group under its agenda item on standard-setting.

FIAAH submitted a legal comment to be reviewed by the sub-commission referring to racial identity theft to indigenous heritage. Indigenous people from around the world rallied behind FIAAH submission for consideration to this important issue. Ethnic identity theft by foreign races is a major issue among indigenous peoples, and creates conflict between indigenous people and Governments allowing non-indigenous people to use the indigenous ethnic identities for making claims to acquire lands belonging to indigenous people away from the indigenous people. Recognizing racial identity belonging to an ethnic heritage is as important to indigenous people. as the ethnic identity itself.


At the Working Group it was apparent that many indigenous people of color were victims of racism thru ethnic identity fraud .Racism applied as ethnic identity theft is used as a common practice in America against indigenous Americans by the United States. Example: The factual racial identity for all the indigenous people of American Indian heritage is Negro. In America today people of Irish, Spanish, German, Jewish heritage representing European decent constantly claim the ethnic identity to receive benefits belonging to the Negro race of American Indian people by calling themselves Native Americans..


The Indigenous caucus also agreed to this issue being addressed because, there are many indigenous collectives of people in the world being deprived of there representation completely, as a result of the theft of their race ethnic identity by non indigenous peoples. Different lands belong unconditionally to different races of people. Correct racial identity of people belonging to lands should be apart of the International guidelines, to ensure protection against genocide of the people from their lands.

FIAAH submitted on behalf of Indigenous Americans a statement addressing this important issue was.presented by Rev. RaDine Amen-ra under item

5(b) - Review of the draft principles and guidelines on the protection of the heritage of indigenous peoples

Statement submitted by Rev. RaDine Amen-ra