A permanent forum for indigenous people
in the United Nations system

Commission on Human Rights resolution 1998/20



The Commission on Human Rights,

Recalling the recommendations pertaining to indigenous people included in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights (A/CONF.157/23), in particular the recommendation that the establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous people in the United Nations system should be considered in the framework of the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People,

Recognizing the growing interest and concern for indigenous issues in organizations and departments of the United Nations system, as documented in the report of the Secretary­General on the review of the existing mechanisms, procedures and programmes within the United Nations concerning indigenous people (A/51/493), and noting the need to ensure coordination and regular exchange of information among the concerned and interested parties ­ Governments, the United Nations and indigenous people ­ on an ongoing basis,

Bearing in mind its resolutions 1994/28 of 4 March 1994, 1995/30 of 3 March 1995, 1996/41 of 19 April 1996 and 1997/30 of 11 April 1997, as well as General Assembly resolutions 49/214 of 23 December 1994, 50/157 of 21 December 1995, 51/78 of 12 December 1996 and 52/108 of 12 December 1997,

1. Notes that the General Assembly, in its resolution 52/108, reaffirmed among the objectives of the Decade the consideration of the establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous people in the United Nations system, and appointed the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as Coordinator for the Decade to promote its objectives;

2. Welcomes the holding at Santiago, from 30 June to 2 July 1997, of the second workshop on the establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous people in the United Nations system, in accordance with Commission resolution 1997/30, and takes note of the report thereon (E/CN.4/1998/11 and Add.1 and 2), including the suggestion that the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty-fourth session should consider how to further the process of the establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous people in the United Nations system, inter alia through the drafting of concrete proposals to that effect and bearing in mind the possibility of submitting the matter to the Economic and Social Council for action;

3. Takes note of the recommendation of the General Assembly, in its resolution 52/108, that the Commission on Human Rights at its fifty­fourth session take into account the outcome of the workshop and the comments received by the High Commissioner for Human Rights from Governments, the relevant United Nations bodies and organizations, and indigenous organizations in its further consideration of the possible establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous people in the United Nations system;

4. Decides to establish an open­ended inter­sessional ad hoc working group, from within existing overall United Nations resources, to elaborate and consider further proposals for the possible establishment of a permanent forum for indigenous people in the United Nations system;

5. Requests the ad hoc working group to take into account in its work the reports of the two workshops and any comments received from Governments, United Nations bodies and organizations, specialized agencies, indigenous organizations and the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, as well as such ideas as the High Commissioner, in her role as Coordinator for the Decade, may wish to present to the ad hoc working group;

6. Also requests the ad hoc working group to submit its report, including proposals, to the Commission at its fifty­fifth session for consideration;

7. Decides that participation in the ad hoc working group will be in accordance with the same procedures as agreed on for the working group established under Commission resolution 1995/32 of 3 March 1995 and set out in the annex thereto;

8. Also decides that non­governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and other relevant organizations of indigenous people which have the right to participate in the working group established in accordance with Commission resolution 1995/32 will automatically be granted the right to participate in the ad hoc working group established in accordance with the present resolution;

9. Requests that the ad hoc working group meet for five working days prior to the fifty­fifth session of the Commission;

10. Decides to continue its consideration of this matter at its fifty-fifth session under the agenda item entitled "Indigenous issues".

39th meeting
9 April 1998

[Adopted without a vote. See chap. XXIII.]


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