Antigua Guatemala, March 2023 (PAHO/WHO). The 1st Inter-American Congress for the implementation of the plan of the American Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (DADIN), was held in Antigua, Guatemala from March 19, 2023. This meeting convened the officials of the Commission of the Office against Discrimination and Racism against Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala (CODISRA), Department of Social Inclusion Secretariat for Access to Rights and Equity Organization of the Americas (OAS), Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), National Political Council made up to the Guatemalan Indigenous Development Fund (FODIGUA), Secretariat of the Indigenous People of the Guatemalan Judiciary, Directorate of Rights of the Guatemalan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Business, as well as human rights experts and representatives from different Latin American countries to discuss the situation. of the rights of the natives in the Region.
The main purpose of the testimony was to generate a regional report on the activities that are carried out within the scope of the Action Plan for the implementation of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2017-2021) to develop the possibility of creating a mechanism for institutional follow-up within the framework of the OAS.
The American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a document that recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples, including the right to self-determination, prior and informed consultation, and the right to preserve and foster their own cultures and traditions. This declaration was established by the United States of America in 2016.
During the meeting in Guatemala, participants discussed the importance of implementing the declaration in the Region and advocated for protecting the rights of indigenous peoples. He also highlighted the need for the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in decision-making processes that affect them and the health issue as a cross-cutting axis, including a session on the development of regional mandates, intercultural instruments and health, in addition to the role of PAHO in the implementation and monitoring of DADIN.
DADIN is the first instrument encompassing all fundamental rights inclusive of indigenous peoples. In this sense, the state of Guatemala, according to the ratification it had through the OAS, complies with the First Inter-American Convention on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which includes different OAS member states and we also have indigenous people; commented Dulce María Vásquez, coordinator of CODISRA in Guatemala.
The event was also an opportunity to highlight the importance of consultation and the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples in any way that affects their territories and natural resources. This is important when indigenous peoples are facing increasing threats to their lands and resources, including mining, oil exploration, and illegal logging.
In this regard, Raúl Ilaquiche, a native representative of Ecuador, said: “Guatemala must come from this meeting to the next one, which will be the parameters that we will take into account to carry out progress on various issues. . If not for the articles, at least for the major issues that are in the Declaration: the issue of self-determination of indigenous peoples, territory, natural resources, consultation, participation, the legal system, health, education and work.
The convention was a big step in recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples in America. But much remains to be done to ensure that these rights are preserved and protected. Effective implementation of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is essential to achieving this goal and promoting justice and equality for all indigenous peoples in the region.