UN expert on indigenous rights to visit Philippines

29 November 2002

A United Nations expert on the rights of indigenous peoples today announced plans to head to the Philippines on Monday to assess the situation there.

Special Rapporteur Rodolfo Stavenhagen, who will remain in the country until 11 December, will meet with senior government officials, indigenous peoples, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society groups and academics. He is travelling at the Government’s invitation.

Voicing particular interest in the practical implementation of the country’s 1997 Indigenous Rights Act, he said, “I look forward to talking with the Government on the good progress they have made” since it was adopted.

“I also value the opportunity for constructive consultations with indigenous peoples themselves about the enjoyment of their rights,” he added.

While in the Philippines, the UN expert will examine the impact of major development projects on the enjoyment of indigenous peoples’ rights. He will also undertake field trips to two different regions to meet and hear directly from indigenous peoples about their situation.

The visit to the Philippines marks Mr. Stavenhagen's second since being appointed to the post in 2001. His first mission took him to Guatemala from 2 to 12 September of this year.