Sunday, September 24, 2006

Karasjok Participants Agree: Land and Territory Fundamental to All Human Rights

Indigenous expectations from the LWF are high

The LWF consultation on "An Indigenous Communion" in Karasjok has just ended. Lawyer Ruben Chacon from the Lutheran Costarican Church (ILCO) is satisfied with the final resolution of the conference.

"It's good to continue the work of the Lutheran World Federation for indigenous people”, Chacon says, noting that the Latin American group at the conference managed to get their most important points into the resolution.

Chacon knows how problematic the situation of indigenous people is in Latin America. The principal problem that the indigenous people suffer in the case of Costa Rica refers to a lack of application of the norms that have been issued to protect their rights.

The ownership and productive use of land are especially on the Costa Rican political agenda. The statement of the Karasjok consultation states that rights to land and territory, is a "cross cutting issue for all human rights".

For days Chacon has been noting the living conditions of Norway's Sámi people. "They are privileged compared to the indigenous people in Latin America," he says.

Chacon hopes the resolution passed by the 27 participants adopted in the conference will make a difference, but it is not enough.

"I have realized, the Sámi people have really fought for their rights," says Chacon. "This is a good example for other indigenous groups."

La terre et le territoire sont fondamentaux concernant les droits humains

Ruben Chacon, juriste, membre de l'Église luthérienne du Costa Rica, est satisfait du message final rédigé par la conférence : "Les points soulevés par les délégués Sud-Américains ont tous trouvé leur place dans la résolution." Les principales questions quant à la défense des droits des peuples indigènes sont liées aux questions des droits à la terre.

Ayant observé le mode de vie des Sámis, pendant les six jours passés à Karasjok, il constate qu'ils sont privilégiés parmi les peuples minoritaires. "J'ai réalisé ici combien les Sámis ont lutté pour leurs droits. C'est un bon exemple pour les autres groupes indigènes."

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