NEPAL: Indigenous Nationalities’ Comprehensive Conference concludes with a 12-point declaration

2 May 2012

A three-day conference of indigenous nationalities held from 29 April in the city of Pokhara in western ‘Tamuwan’ region concluded yesterday issuing a 12-point ‘Tamuwan’ declaration.

The Declaration calls for protecting the contributions to and the achievements of the indigenous nationalities’ movement in establishing the federal democratic republic in the country and for ensuring autonomy of the indigenous nationalities with the right to self determination coupled with the restructuring of the Nepali state while internalizing the basic identity and collective co-existence of the indigenous peoples.

The Declaration also strongly calls on the state and the major political parties to incorporate and recognize of Tamuwan province based on ethnic identity in the new constitution to be formulated by May 27. It also warns of an organised revolt if the federal units are formed on non-ethnic lines.

The Constituent Assembly’s committee on state restructuring and division of state powers recommended a system of 14 provinces – and within 22 autonomous, special and protected regions. This used ethnic identity and regional capacity as the primary and secondary criteria respectively. While the Declaration recognizes this as positive, they urge the inclusion of the right to autonomy of the unrepresented ethnic communities.

Expressing solidarity with the different movements for autonomy taking place in various parts of the country (including the Madhes and Limbuwan autonomy movements) the indigenous nationalities’ conference also called for consolidating the joint movement against gender discrimination on women from the indigenous nationalities communities and the caste discrimination against the Dalits.

The conference also constituted the Tamuwan Joint Struggle Committee, comprising representatives of ethnic organizations within the Tamuwan region to pursue the right to self-determination, autonomy and political prerogative rights of the indigenous nationalities. RSS

Source: nepaliSamachar

Unofficial translation of Tamuwan Declaration

Background

Nepal is currently going ahead with the process of writing a new constitution from a Constituent Assembly. 218 out of 601 members elected by Constituent Assembly elections held four years ago are from indigenous communities. However, it is unclear whether or not the rights of indigenous nationalities will be ensured in the new constitution.

Now, with only 26 days remaining for the tenure of Constituent Assembly to expire, it is becoming clearer that the major political parties represented in the Constituent Assembly through different kinds of plots and conspiracies are engaged in maneuvers to deny codification of federal states, as recommended by the Constituent Assembly’s Committee on State Restructuring and Division of State Powers and High-Level State Restructuring Recommendation Commission. The recommendations are also based on our inalienable ethnic identity – that of the indigenous nationalities, and our rights including to self-determination, autonomy and self-governance.

 

Nepal is a state party that has signed a number of international conventions and legal instruments including 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, International Labor Organization Convention 169 on Rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

However, the rights provided in any of the above conventions were ignored during the Constituent Assembly elections. Rights of indigenous peoples to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) have not been implemented in Constituent Assembly elections as well as the constitution writing process. The Constituent Assembly has disregarded even the recommendations provided by the Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Similarly, the recommendation of UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples to form a separate mechanism has also not been implemented.

Despite these recommendations, the Constituent Assembly processes are proceeding without any concern for and coordination with the proposal submitted by indigenous Constituent Assembly members relating to fundamental rights and right to self-determination of indigenous nationalities. In order to ensure the rights and address the issues of indigenous nationalities, Nepal, as a state party to ILO Convention 169 and UNDRIP, should apply and implement those mechanisms in constitution writing process. This too has not happened.

Thus, we, the indigenous nationalities of Tamuwan region, by Exercising 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 principles including 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; For 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 Tamuwan Declaration on this day, 1 May 2012.

Points of the Declaration

  1. The Indigenous Nationalities’ Comprehensive Conference, organized with the objective of putting pressure on the government and political parties through united movement for the establishment of Tamuwan province and other autonomous regions based on ethnic identity as well as implementation of provisions relating to right to self-determination of indigenous nationalities stated in ILO Convention 169, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international commitments the State has signed and agreed to, expresses grief over the tragic death of Mr. Tikaram Tamang, of Bajhkhet-8, Lamjung district and adviser of Nepal Tamang Ghedung Lamjung district committee, in a bus accident while participating in the public demonstration program on the first day of the Conference and wishes the soul of deceased peace and offers condolences to the bereaved family. Further, the conference declares late Mr. Tamang a martyr for establishment of Tamuwan.
  2. Whilst the proposal of the Constituent Assembly’s Committee on State Restructuring and Distribution of State Powers to delineate 14 provinces, 22 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.
  3. We, the indigenous nationalities of Tamuwan, strongly demand the State and so-called major political parties to issue the new constitution with Tamuwan province based on ethnic identity by the deadline of 28 May and are committed for joint movement if provinces are established without this recognition.
  4. We, the indigenous nationalities, are committed to end the continued and systematic discrimination, exclusion and marginalization of indigenous nationalities by the State for a period of more than 240 years, establish Tamuwan based on ethnic identity and to exercise our rights to self-determination, autonomy and self-governance.
  5. Expressing lament over non-consultation with the indigenous Constituent Assembly members on such serious issues as state restructuring by major political parties represented in the Constituent Assembly, the conference strongly demands that state restructuring and such important issues be decided only after required consultation with and consent of indigenous Constituent Assembly members.
  6. Highly respecting the role played by the members of Constituent Assembly Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus, we, indigenous nationalities and the Constituent Assembly Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus, are committed to undertake a joint movement to attain the right to self-determination and autonomy of indigenous peoples.
  7. We are committed to undertake inter-community dialogues on our common issues, to continue these dialogues and strengthen mutual understanding among us.
  8. 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.
  9. We are committed to bolster the collective movement against gender discrimination against indigenous women and caste discrimination against Dalits.
  10. The conference expresses solidarity with ongoing movements for autonomy in different parts of Nepal including those for Madhes autonomy and Limbuwan autonomy in eastern Nepal. Further, 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.
  11. The conference organizing committee extends heartily appreciation for the support provided by and hospitality of all Tamu and non-Tamu indigenous nationalities and media personnel of Tamuwan region to successfully conclude the 3-day comprehensive conference organized on rights to self-determination, autonomy and self-governance of indigenous nationalities.
  12. The comprehensive conference declares formation of United Tamuwan Struggle Committee and Advisory Committee including representatives of ethnic organizations and associations in Tamuwan, Tamu fronts affiliated with different political parties, Tamu Constituent Assembly members across Nepal and all indigenous Constituent Assembly members and intellectuals within Tamuwan to carry out decisive movement for ensuring establishment of Tamuwan province based on ethnic identity and rights to self-determination, self-governance, autonomy and preferential political rights of indigenous nationalities in new constitution.

Click here to see the news article in (Khas) Nepali.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

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