Argentina: United Nations Expert Urges Argentina To Improve Situation Of Indigenous Peoples

 

Translated from Spanish, Original Below

 

The United Nations Special Rapporteur James Anaya * yesterday urged the Argentine national and provincial authorities to strengthen achievements in human rights of indigenous peoples in the country and to redouble efforts to overcome the obstacles associated with the right to their lands and natural resources, as well as education.

 

"We need the Government to give greater priority to indigenous issues, to develop new programs and policies in this regard and ensure that they are implemented in accordance with international standards," he said at the end of his first visit to Argentina the expert independently appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to investigate the rights of indigenous peoples.

 

"A major concern expressed by indigenous representatives during the course of my visit has been the lack of legal security of their rights over their traditional lands, including the various problems and delays encountered in the process of surveying land," said Mr. . Anaya, pointing to a series of recent evictions of indigenous peoples from lands claimed by them according to their traditional or ancestral occupation.

 

The UN Special Rapporteur noted that most of these evictions were the result of court orders, which hinders the effective recognition of the community property. In addition, he said, "have been in the context of land disputes between indigenous peoples and members of private owners or companies."

 

"Another problem related to the legal uncertainty of the traditional lands of indigenous peoples is the existence or development of extractive industry projects in or near the territories and communities," said the independent expert who also emphasized "the lack of effective consultation with indigenous peoples concerned before undertaking these projects, and lack of participation in decision-making on these projects and the economic benefits derived from them. "

 

"I agree with what I've heard from both indigenous representatives and some government representatives, it is necessary to regulate a process of consultation with indigenous peoples in relation to extractive industries and other issues that affect them," said Mr. Anaya.

 

The expert also urged the government and the provinces that indigenous peoples have access to adequate education, reaching out to their communities and to suit their realities. "We need to expand existing programs of bilingual intercultural education with the participation of indigenous peoples in order to truly promote indigenous languages and cultures," he said, "and to give greater emphasis on access to higher education and the particular situation of indigenous women in urban areas. "

 

During his eleven-day visit, Mr. Anaya had meetings with representatives of indigenous peoples and communities, and national government officials in Buenos Aires and the provinces of Neuquen, Rio Negro Salta, Jujuy and Formosa. He also made visits to various indigenous communities in these provinces and met with representatives of civil society.

 

The Special Rapporteur will prepare a report on his mission, which will be submitted to the Human Rights Council of the UN in 2012.

 

(*) Read the full statement of the Special Rapporteur: http://www.ohchr.org/SP/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=11698&LangID=S External link

 

Source: UNOG

 

Spanish Original

 

El Relator Especial de Naciones Unidas James Anaya urgió* ayer a las autoridades nacionales y provinciales argentinas a fortalecer los logros en materia de los derechos humanos de los pueblos indígenas del país y a redoblar los esfuerzos para salvar los obstáculos vinculados al derecho a sus tierras y recursos naturales, así como a la educación.

 

“Es necesario que el Gobierno dé mayor prioridad al tema indígena, que desarrolle nuevos programas y políticas públicas en este sentido, y que asegure que éstos sean implementados de acuerdo con los estándares internaciones”, dijo al final de su primera visita a Argentina el experto independiente designado por el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU para investigar los derechos de los pueblos indígenas.

 

“Una preocupación central expresada por representantes indígenas durante el transcurso de mi vista ha sido la falta de seguridad jurídica de sus derechos sobre sus tierras tradicionales, y en particular los diversos problemas y retrasos que enfrentan en los procesos de relevamiento territorial”, dijo el Sr. Anaya señalando una serie de recientes desalojos de indígenas de tierras reclamadas por ellos de acuerdo a su ocupación tradicional o ancestral.

 

El Relator Especial de la ONU destacó que la mayoría de estos desalojos fueron producto de órdenes judiciales, lo cual dificulta el reconocimiento efectivo de la propiedad comunitaria. Además, dijo, “se han dado en el marco de disputas territoriales entre miembros de pueblos indígenas y propietarios privados o empresas.”

 

“Otro problema relacionado a la inseguridad jurídica de las tierras tradicionales de los pueblos indígenas es la existencia o promoción de proyectos de industrias extractivas dentro o cerca de los territorios y comunidades indígenas”, indicó el experto independiente, recalcando además “la falta de consulta efectiva con los pueblos indígenas afectados antes de emprender dichos proyectos, y la falta de su participación en la toma de decisiones sobre estos proyectos y en los beneficios económicos derivados de ellos”.

 

“Coincido con lo que he escuchado tanto de representantes indígenas como de algunos representantes gubernamentales, que es necesario regular un procedimiento de consulta con los pueblos indígenas en relación a las industrias extractivas y otros asuntos que les afectan”, señaló el Sr. Anaya.

 

El experto también exhortó al Estado y las provincias a que los pueblos indígenas tengan acceso a una educación adecuada, que llegue a sus comunidades y que se adapte a sus realidades. “Es necesario ampliar los programas existentes de educación intercultural bilingüe con la participación de los pueblos indígenas, con el fin de que verdaderamente promuevan las lenguas y culturas indígenas”, dijo, “y a dar mayor atención al acceso a la educación universitaria y la situación particular de mujeres indígenas estudiando en áreas urbanas”.

 

Durante su visita de once días, el Sr. Anaya sostuvo reuniones con diversos representantes de pueblos y comunidades indígenas, y con funcionarios del Gobierno nacional en Buenos Aires y de las provincias en Neuquén, Río Negro Salta, Jujuy y Formosa. Asimismo, realizó visitas a diferentes comunidades indígenas en estas provincias y sostuvo reuniones con representantes de la sociedad civil.

 

El Relator Especial preparará un informe sobre su misión, que será presentado al Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU en 2012.

 

(*) Lea la declaración completa del Relator Especial: http://www.ohchr.org/SP/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=11698&LangID=S External link




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