WASHINGTON – Bolivia urged the Organization of American States, OAS, to approve the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, pending for nearly two decades.
The Bolivian ambassador to the OAS, Diego Pary, on Tuesday denounced before the OAS’s Permanent Council the uncompromising attitude which was delaying the approval of the declaration when only two paragraphs remained to be agreed on.
“For many of those seated here, perhaps, the indigenous population is not a priority but one has to look at history. We cannot go without recognizing the rights of the original owners of the land,” Pary said.
The Bolivian ambassador proposed fixing a deadline to approve the text and also urged each OAS member state to send an indigenous representative from their countries to Washington for the next round of negotiations.
The drafting of the Declaration began 18 years ago and in May 2015 suffered its latest setback, due to which it cannot be approved in the 45th OAS General Assembly meeting on June 15 and June 16 in Washington.
Negotiations, which had stopped since 2012, resumed this year and four meetings were held.
However lack of agreement on the issues of self-determination, environment and natural resources continues to stall its progress.
“There is a movement at an international level for the rights of indigenous peoples and what are we doing at an inter-American level? We must show that the OAS has a real objective of transformation,” the Bolivian representative said.
The United Nations in 2007 approved a Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Bolivia “incorporated and made into a law,” said Pary.
Latin America has more than 800 indigenous villages and around 45 million indigenous people with great demographic, social and political diversity.