33. fundarlota Mannréttindaráðs Sameinuðu þjóðanna

HRC33 – Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the SR on indigenous peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP), 20 September 2016

Joint Statement on behalf of the Nordic countries on agenda item 3 & 5:

Delivered by Iceland


Thank you Mr. Chair,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Nordic countries: Finland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark, together with Greenland, as well as my own country, Iceland.  

We welcome the reports presented by both the Special Rapporteur and the Expert Mechanism. We think the reports touch on very important issues.

The report of the Special Rapporteur provides an analysis of a very complex topic with a broad range of stakeholders. The report presents a great number of recommendations.

Question to the SR: In your view, what are the three most important recommendations for us as States?

The report of the Expert Mechanism on the right to health and indigenous peoples presents overwhelming challenges in terms of gaps in fulfilling indigenous peoples’ rights to health. Nevertheless, the report gives extremely useful examples of best practices to remedy the situation. We highly appreciate this approach of the report.

Question to EMRIP: What are in your view the most important actions to take in order to significantly improve the reproductive rights of indigenous women?

In the light of the ongoing and timely revision of the mandate of the Expert Mechanism, the Nordic countries would like to emphasize the unique status of the Expert Mechanism as a subsidiary body of the Human Rights Council, focussing exclusively on the human rights issues affecting indigenous peoples.

We believe that the rights of Indigenous Peoples can be better protected and promoted if the mandate of the Expert Mechanism is more efficient. The mandate should be well-defined and specific, and its autonomy should be strengthened. The Human Rights Council should draw on the Expert Mechanism's indigenous expertise and make better use of it. We recommend that EMRIP’s work should be focussed on and aimed at achieving the aims of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This is to ensure a more substantial impact on the ground. As a subsidiary body to the Human Rights Council, the EMRIP has a comparative advantage and special competences vis-á-vis promoting the rights enshrined in the Declaration.

EMRIP can bring together experts with tremendous knowledge and experience on what works and what does not, when it comes to concrete actions to ensure that the rights of indigenous peoples are respected. We should provide EMRIP with a mandate to assist us as states in our efforts to achieve the ends of UNDRIP.

We believe that close coordination between the different mechanisms working to promote and protect indigenous peoples’ rights will enhance the efforts both within the UN and at national level. Therefore we fully support that EMRIP should be able to coordinate with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other special procedures as well as the Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues on a regular basis. It is important that these three mechanisms remain complementary to each other. We also believe that regular dialogue between the Chair of EMRIP and the HRC President would ensure an effective link between EMRIP and the HRC. And finally, we support frequent and systematic exchange of information between EMRIP and the Special Rapporteur.

Thank you for your attention.

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