This week in review … Indigenous peoples demand effective participation in IGC consultations

28 10 2008

Indigenous People Seek Recognition At WIPO Meeting On Their Rights
IP Watch, 24 October 2008

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: Indigenous groups are looking for better representation at the United Nations body negotiating on issues related to the protection of their traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions. Indigenous groups are normally classified as non-governmental observers and civil society groups in the IGC. The limits of the NGO status came clear on the morning of the last day of negotiations, during a plenary in which governmental regional group coordinators were given the floor to make statements on future work for the committee. The Indigenous Peoples Caucus, which represents the accredited indigenous observers at the WIPO IGC, wanted to make an intervention during this morning plenary session, but was unable to do so. Negotiations then moved to informal meetings (also excluding NGOs) that changed the course of the meeting. The caucus represents a majority of the world’s rights holders on traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions and “should have been given opportunity to make an intervention,” Deterville, who chaired the caucus at the IGC from 13 to 17 October, told Intellectual Property Watch. Deterville’s closing statement, given on behalf of the indigenous caucus, noted that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples provides them “the right to participate in decision-making in matters which would affect their rights” and requires states to “consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned.” This, he said, did not happen. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples also asserts the right of indigenous people “maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional
cultural expressions” and obliges states to provide redress to indigenous people for “cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.” Read the article …



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