To: H.E. Ambassador John William Ashe, Antigua and Barbuda,
President, United Nations General Assembly
Via email & hand-delivered
Re: World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP)
Takahi (Greetings) Excellency: On behalf of the United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP), I am writing to you with great concern regarding the preparations for the High Level Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. The UCTP is an indigenous Caribbean regional organization extending through the Major and Lesser Antilles, as well as the Diaspora. The UCTP is a member of the Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples (COIP) and an affiliate of the International Indian Treaty Council, an ECOSOC accredited indigenous, non-governmental organization representing indigenous peoples of North, South, and Central America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific.
The UCTP is particularly concerned with your hesitancy to reconfirm the appointment of Mr. John Henriksen (Sami) as the Indigenous co-coordinator (or co-facilitator) on an equal basis with a State representative in that role. The appointment of an indigenous co-coordinator in this process finds its precedent set by the President of the 66th session of the UN General Assembly H.E. Nassir AbdulazizAl‐Nasser (Qatar) in early 2012.
With this in mind, we respectfully call upon you to reconfirm Mr. Henriksen in this role, which is a decision consistent with the standards articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Please note that after consultation with our regional leadership and allies, the UCTP can only support the WCIP process if there is equal representation of Indigenous Peoples. In addition, please also note that should the WCIP move forward without equal representation, Indigenous Peoples who form part of the UCTP will call for the WCIP to be canceled.
In closing, Caribbean Governments are an historic ally to Indigenous Peoples since at least the UN International Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on through the process to adopt the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We trust that we can continue to count on the region to move progressively toward fulfilling the goal of “Partnership in Action” as promoted by the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.
Oma bahari (With respect),
Board Secretary & Borikén Liaison
CC: UCTP Board & membership; Caribbean Organization of Indigenous Peoples; Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization; International Indian Treaty Council; Global Coordinating Committee of the WCIP; Latin American and Caribbean Regional Caucus to the WCIP