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Item 5: Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) Review
June 23, 2016

Agenda Item 5: EMRIP Review

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council

Human Rights Council 32nd Session
June 23, 2016

Thank you Mr. Vice president.

The outcome document from the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples calls for improving UN indigenous mechanisms to achieve the ends of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  The United States strongly supports this goal.

We thank Mexico and Guatemala for their leadership on the reform processes related to the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Office of the High Commissioner for engaging with stakeholders and hosting the highly productive expert workshop in April.  We welcome OHCHR’s report, which outlines reforms proposed by states, experts, indigenous peoples, and other civil society actors.

The report identifies several areas of convergence from which we can draw in the coming months.

The United States supports many of the proposals in the report, and would like to comment on three of them.

First, to enhance a coherent, system-wide approach to indigenous rights, as called for in the World Conference outcome document, we believe it is crucial to strengthen the relationship between EMRIP and the Special Rapporteur so that they mutually reinforce each other’s work.  This could include having the Special Rapporteur serve as a full or ex officio member of EMRIP while maintaining his or her own mandate.  It could also include establishing a referral system by which EMRIP conducts follow-up on communications sent to the Special Rapporteur.

Second, we support the proposal that EMRIP be able to engage in country-specific situations.  EMRIP could perform follow-up on engagement by the Special Rapporteur, and could play a role in facilitating dialogue between states and indigenous peoples.

Third, we see merit in equipping EMRIP to provide technical assistance to states.  This could include advice on implementation of recommendations from the Special Rapporteur, the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, or another UN body or mechanism, or at the request of the country concerned.

The United States looks forward to continuing a detailed, substantive dialogue on EMRIP reform at the July EMRIP session.

Thank you Mr. Vice President