Attorney: Kim Gottschalk
The adoption of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) will have an impact on the Organization of American States (OAS) process. NARF also represents NCAI in this process. In recognition of this, the OAS held a "reflection" session in Washington, D.C. in November, 2007, to discuss that import. It was agreed that the UNDRIP would be used as the foundation for an OAS document, in that all the terms of the OAS document would be consistent with, or more favorable to, Indigenous rights than the UNDRIP.
The group further agreed that all the terms would be met through a consensus based decision making process which includes the Indigenous representatives. The United States and Canada expressed their opposition to a document that would be consistent with the UNDRIP, against which they had voted, but agreed they would not oppose the process moving forward.
The 11th meeting of Negotiations in the Quest for Points of Consensus was held in Washington, D.C. from April 14-28, 2008. A session of reflection on the process was held from December 9-12, 2008 to consider the issues which specifically need to be addressed in the Western hemisphere in regards to indigenous peoples.
States were unable to agree on dates for additional drafting sessions and decided not to hold any sessions until after the OAS General Assembly met in June 2009. The General Assembly met and adopted a resolution which renewed the mandate of the Working Group and instructed the Working Group to hold, between August 2009 and March 2010, up to two meetings of negotiations. A negotiation session was held November 30 to December 2, 2009 in Washington, D.C. Modest progress was made at that session, but disturbingly the second week of negotiations was canceled. Two short negotiation sessions have been authorized to be held before July 2011, one of which was held January 18-20, 2011. On September 11-16, 2011 the technical committee for the indigenous caucus met in Kuna Yala to prepare for the second authorized negotiation session which has not yet been scheduled. Disappointingly the U.S. and Canada are not actively participating, even though they both now support the UNDRIP.