Indians from the Americas Gathered in Brazil Want Their Rights Spelled Out

In an effort to reach a consensus on a document to be called "An American Declaration of Indian Peoples Rights," negotiations which have been taking place since 2003 at the Organization of American States, continued this last weekend in BrasÀ­lia where delegates from some 40 Indians nations and the OAS met.

The gathering is officially called the 7th Round of Negotiations to Reach a Consensus on An American Declaration of Indian Peoples Rights.

One point of contention in the discussions is the demand by many Indian representatives for a more comprehensive statement of their rights, such as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, instead of national constitutions, which is the norm.

According to Mércio Pereira Gomes, the president of the Indian Foundation (Funai), that is a conflict that does not exist in Brazil where the Constitution, infra-constitutional legislation and the Indian Statute (Estatuto do índio) "cover 99% of what the Indians want."

Although it will not have the force of law, it is expected that when the American Declaration of Indian Peoples Rights is approved is will be complied with by OAS member states.



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