Armed with a U.N. declaration on indigenous rights, an activist coalition is working to stake out new legal protections for indigenous peoples in the Western Hemisphere.
Indian Country Today reports that the coalition met in mid-December in Quito, Ecuador, to discuss democracy, “autonomy,” land rights, natural resources, economic development and cultural heritage.
Activists said their goal was to enact the U.N. declaration as law in their home countries.
Yet they also criticized it for failing to guarantee the right of indigenous groups to organize politically across state and national boundaries, and for overlooking claims on mineral rights and other natural resources in their traditional territories.
The newspaper also noted that the conference comes at a time of rising political fortunes for leftists in Ecuador and Bolivia, who harnessed the indigenous vote to win electoral majorities.
“Indigenous leaders take steps to make U.N. declaration law”
Indian Country Today, January 21, 2008