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Ambassador Harper: EMRIP Mandate Resolution a High Priority at HRC33
September 15, 2016

General Comment
EMRIP Informal Consultations

Room XX
September 15, 2016

Thank you, Chair, for giving me the floor.

The EMRIP mandate resolution is one of our highest priorities this session.  We thank Mexico and Guatemala for their leadership on this issue and for putting forward a strong text.  We intend to co-sponsor this resolution.

I will outline four core elements we hope to see in the new mandate:

  1. There needs to be a coherent, system-wide approach to the protection and advancement of the rights of indigenous peoples. As such, the relationship between EMRIP and the Special Rapporteur should be institutionalized so that they mutually reinforce each other’s work and avoid duplication.
  1. EMRIP should be empowered to seek and receive information from all relevant sources on situations affecting the rights of indigenous peoples, making recommendations thereon, and engaging with states and indigenous peoples at the country level to find solutions on those situations affecting the rights of indigenous peoples.
  2. EMRIP should be empowered to provide much-needed technical cooperation to states in furtherance of the Outcome Document’s commitment to help states better achieve the ends of the Declaration.  EMRIP should also be more responsive to the realities on the ground.
  1. EMRIP’s members should represent the seven socio-cultural groupings used by the Permanent Forum rather the five regional groups that reflect member states’ political alignments. We encourage gender balance.

We recognize there will be a PBI, which will provide the necessary resources for EMRIP to execute its enhanced mandate.  We support these near-term increases because we believe that over the long-term there will be cost savings as the current redundancies among EMRIP, the Permanent Forum and the Special Rapporteur will be eliminated.  We hope other states will share this view.

It is not everyday that the Council is granted an opportunity to revise and enhance the mandate of a UN body.  We should take full advantage of the General Assembly’s invitation and strive for meaningful reforms to EMRIP to empower the Mechanism to assist states to monitor, evaluate, and ultimately, to achieve the ends of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We look forward to engaging with states, indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders with the aim to significantly strengthen the Expert Mechanism’s existing mandate.  My team will convey the specific edits we have to further strengthen the text.

Thank you Chair.