Published: Oct. 11, 2016

Anaya tapped by General Assembly president to advise on enhancing representation of indigenous peoples at U.N.

On October 3, 2016, Dean S. James Anaya met at the United Nations in New York with the president of the U.N. General Assembly, Peter Thomson of Fiji.  Thomson appointed Anaya as an advisor to assist with developing a new observer status for indigenous peoples at the U.N., along with Ambassador Kai Sauer of Finland, Ambassador Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee of Ghana, and Claire Charters from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.

The United Nations General Assembly may grant observer status to entities other than U.N. member states, thus allowing participation in U.N. meetings. The privileges and limitations of each observer status granted are determined by the General Assembly.

Following the meeting, the four advisors gathered with delegates of U.N. member states and representatives of indigenous peoples to discuss possible procedural and institutional measures for promoting effective and meaningful participation of indigenous peoples at the U.N. 

Since the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007, indigenous peoples around the world have attempted to enhance their level of participation at the UN. In response to these efforts, many U.N. member states and indigenous peoples' representatives have begun to work together to find ways to enable the participation of indigenous peoples' representatives and institutions in meetings of relevant United Nations bodies on issues affecting them.

PICTURED (L-R): Dean Anaya; President of General Assembly Peter Thomson of Fiji; Ambassador Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee of Ghana; Ambassador Kai Sauer of Finland.