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Urgent Action Alert - Indigenous Peoples At The UN

From: "J. Kehaulani Kauanui"

**Please forward** to all indigenous networks--letters from various organizations need to be sent ASAP!


The United Nations should hire an Indigenous person--not someone non-indigenous--for the position of Secretariat for the Permanent Form on Indigenous Issues. The job criteria for UN positions are unbalanced in favor of existing non-indigenous UN staff and need to be revised to prevent barriers for Indigenous applicants.

Please help to enable Indigenous Peoples of the world to pursue their own rights at every level within the United Nations. It is important that Indigenous Peoples be self-determining in every way, whether that be as representatives in the Indigenous Caucus or as Permanent Forum Members or indeed as part of the Secretariat assisting the Permanent Forum members to carry out their mandate.

Indigenous Peoples and their representatives should have been consulted regarding the job description, especially given the rather different and unique nature of the Permanent Forum. As they are now, the employment criteria are set out in such a way whereby Indigenous Peoples will be unlikely to fulfill the work experience qualifications. Two pertinent points within the job application should be re-examined: those under the specified qualifications and job experience, which privileges bureaucratic work histories. More emphasis should be placed on the qualifications and experience applicants may have gained working in the field and communities of Indigenous Peoples. As they are now, the job criteria put limitations on Indigenous applicants and clearly offers advantages to UN bureaucratic applicants.

This is reflected in the two job positions currently advertised for the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Secretariat. The positions are:

1) Social Affairs Officer; P.4 03-SOC-DESA-301252-R-NEW YORK (G)

2) Chief Secretariat of the Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues: Director 1. 03-SOC DESA-401475-R-NEW YORK (G)

For example, in the advertisement for the position of The Social Affairs Officer, under the criteria Qualifications, the sub heading Work experience reads as follows: "Minimum of five to seven years of progressively responsible professional experience in social/economic development, policy analysis and research, styles of development, human rights and the social, cultural and economic situation of indigenous peoples. Extensive experience with indigenous issues at the international level, including within the United Nations system, indispensable." The opening line states a "minimum of five to seven years of progressively responsible professional" experience. The paragraph closes with the words extensive experience "including within the United Nations system, indispensable." This criteria implies that any person without United Nations experience is excluded, which leaves out a vast number of Indigenous applications who would otherwise be qualified for the position. Furthermore it is not clear which number of years of United Nations experience would be acceptable or unacceptable.

In another example, in the job advertisement for The Director, regarding work experience, it reads: "Minimum of 15 years of experience in the area of indigenous issues most of which is at the international level. Strong experience in working at the inter-agency and intergovernmental levels is a requirement. Acute political sensitivity and diplomatic skills crucial. Proven leadership and negotiation skills necessary." But it is unclear as to whether the minimum of 15 years required is within the United Nations institution or is in the sphere of International experience, outside of UN institutions. Indigenous applicants need to know whether it is or is not, or (if so) how many years is required for either institution. For example can someone who has never been employed within the UN system be eligible for the position. The experience of working within the United Nations system is only one of several criteria and should not be reified above other relevant criteria.

As the UN Secretary General has welcomed Indigenous Peoples into the family of Nations, all indigenous peoples should take this to mean as active participants, including within the Secretariat, not as passive observers.

These issues will be raised at the Indigenous Caucus meeting in Geneva July 19th to the 20th, 2003 and again at the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, 21 to 25th July, 2003 and at every other Indigenous Peoples meeting until it is fairly and satisfactorily resolved.

PLEASE WRITE to the following UN representative and request a review of the job criteria in consultation with Indigenous Representatives of the Permanent Forum regarding the employment of Indigenous persons.

PLEASE WRITE to tell the key UN representatives that you reject the continued employment process under the current criteria. Most of all, they need to know that all Indigenous Peoples, around the globe, have their eye on their hiring practices, especially since the implications of having non-indigenous hires for these positions are detrimental to our self-determination and to our future process within the UN.


Mr Johan Shcholvinck (Head of the division that oversees the Permanent
Forum on Indigenous Issues)
Director - Division for Social Policy & Development, DESA
Division for Social Policy and Development, DESA
United Nations headquarters
Room DC2-1362
New York, NY 10017, USA
Tel: 1(212) 96334667
Fax: 1(212)9633062

Mr Nitin Desai Under Secretary-General
United Nations Headquarters
The Secretariat
1 UN Plaza
New York
NY 10017,
United States Of America
Fax: 1 212 9631010
Tel: 1 212 9635958

Mr Kofi Annan
United Nations Headquarters
The Secretariat
1 UN Plaza
New York
NY 10017,
United States Of America
Fax: 1 212 9634879 (Send to two faxes here)
Fax: 1 212 9632155
Tel: 1 212 9635012

Ms Louise Frechette
Deputy Secretary-General
United Nations Headquarters
The Secretariat
1 UN Plaza
New York
NY 10017,
United States Of America
Tel: 1212 38010

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