NEPAL: Dharan Declaration of International Conference on Exercising the Right to Self-determination and Autonomy of Indigenous Peoples

Dharan – Kirat Yakthung Chumlung, an indigenous peoples organization affiliated to the AIPP member organization Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) organized an international conference on exercising the Right to Self-determination and Autonomy of Indigenous Peoples from 19-21 January 2012 in Dharan, the city in southeastern Nepal. The conference held to deepen indigenous peoples’ understanding of the rights to self-determination, autonomy and self-governance and how these rights can be exercised in practice; pressure Nepal’s Constituent Assembly and political parties to adopt the indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination, autonomy and self-governance in the new Constitution and p repare a strategy and roadmap in relation to the exercise of self-determination, autonomy and self-governance in Nepal. Participants from Switzerland, India and the United States presented working papers in the conference including experts from the NEFIN participated by and opened with a cultural rally of tens of thousands local indigenous communities.

Read below an unofficial translation issued at the end of the conference.

International Conference on Exercising the Right to Self-determination and Autonomy of Indigenous Peoples19-21 January 2012

Dharan Declaration 2012

We, the indigenous nationalities, by exercising of our inherent, inalienable, innate, indivisible, and sovereign human rights,

Recalling various treaties and agreements signed between the indigenous peoples and the state based on the rights provided in the international laws and principlesincluding the United Nations Charter, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and International Labour Organization Convention 169; Embracing the principle that indigenous peoples and the state are parties of equal status fundamentally as well as legally; Accepting the innate identity and collective co-existence of indigenous peoples; Protecting the contributions and achievements made by the indigenous movement in establishing a federal democratic republic in Nepal;Guaranteeing the right to self-determination and autonomy and self-governance of indigenous peoples in the restructuring of the state in the constitution of Nepal, Issue this Declaration on this day, 21 January 2012,

1. We are committed to ensure the end of monopoly of Brahmanism, patriarchy, Khas-Nepali language, Hindu religion and culture continued since the establishment of the unitary Hindu state that are chauvinistic policy and principles, gender discriminatory, unlawful, morally incriminatory and socially unjust in the constitution.

2. The constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal will not be acceptable to us, if not promulgated with the right to self-determination and autonomy as guaranteed in the international human rights documents including International Labour Organization Convention No. 169 to which Nepal is a state party and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that Nepal voted in favor of. In the event that the constitution is conspicuously promulgated withoutguaranteeing those rights, we are committed to exercise autonomy through our own mechanisms.

3. Whilst the proposal of the Constituent Assembly’s Committee on State Restructuring and Distribution of State Powers to delineate 14 provinces, 23 autonomous, special and protected areas with identity as primary and capacity as secondary basis is affirmative, we pledge to ensure the right to autonomy of other indigenous groups that have been left out.

4. Highly respecting the role played by the members of Constituent Assembly Indigenous Peoples CACAUS, we, indigenous nationalities and the ConstituentAssembly Indigenous Peoples CACAUS, are committed to undertake a joint movement to attain the right to self-determination and autonomy of indigenous peoples.

5. We pledge to ensure our (indigenous peoples’) right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent in the constitution and all legislations, laws, policies and rules,plans, programs and projects.

6. We are committed to undertake inter-community dialogues on our common issues, to continue these dialogues and strengthen mutual understanding among us.

7. Condemning the lack of sincere implementation of agreements and understandings signed with indigenous peoples as well as study reports related to indigenous peoples carried out by the state to date, we pledge to bring those agreements, understanding, and reports into immediate implementation.

8. We are committed to bolster the collective movement against gender discrimination towards indigenous women and caste discrimination towards Dalits.

9. We heartily call upon indigenous constituent assembly members, indigenous organizations/associations associated with political parties, intellectuals, political leaders, human rights activists, media personnel, civil society and the general public that favor social justice to provide active support to and express solidarity with the rights-based movement of indigenous peoples.

10. The conference organizing committee extends the appreciation for the support provided by and hospitality of the indigenous nationalities of Limbuwan andmedia personnel to successfully conclude the 3-day international conference on exercising the right to self-determination and autonomy of indigenous peoples.

Contact Kirat Yakthung Chumlung or LAHURNIP in Nepal for more details on the conference.

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