A Filipino indigenous leader and activist has been named Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations.
A report on Indigenous Peoples’ organization Tebtebba said Victoria Tauli-Corpuz is now in a position to assess the condition of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous Peoples worldwide.
The report quoted U.N. Human Rights Council president Boudelaire Ndong Ella as saying that Tauli-Corpuz was chosen for her “active involvement with United Nations and multi-stakeholder cross-regional bodies on indigenous issues and her past collaboration with and commitment to constructive engagement among governments and Indigenous Peoples.”
Tauli-Corpuz, a member of the Kankana-ey Igorot people from the Cordilera region of the northern Philippines according to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was formally announced into the roll on March 28 – the last day of the 25th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
The appointment succeeds that of James Anaya, professor of human rights law and policy at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law.
As Special Rapporteur, Tauli-Corpuz will conduct thematic research on issues relevant to the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous Peoples; visit countries to observe and hear about the challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples; and communicate with governments when human rights violations are alleged.
“Vicky’s lifetime commitment and passion in her own country has been evident in the way in which she has supported the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Her ability to empathize, network and support other Indigenous Peoples across the world as well as working collaboratively and constructively with governments globally makes her an excellent choice,” says Maori Party Co-leader Tariana Turia in a release from March 11.
Tauli-Corpuz brings a wealth of experience with her from serving as the former Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues from 2005-2009. The position is “the highest advisory body on indigenous issues within the United Nations system,” according to Tebtebba. The UNPFII chair was one of many various positions Tauli-Corpuz has held while working within the United Nations.
Looking ahead to her new roll, Tauli-Corpuz told Tebtebba that she intends “to embark on cutting-edge studies to surface Indigenous Peoples’ issues.”
As an indigenous leader and activist, Tauli-Corpuz was among those who lobbied for more than 20 years before the U.N. General Assembly finally adopted on September 13, 2007 the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Tauli-Corpuz founded Tebtebba, a nongovernment organization, in 1996. She is also the convenor of the Asian Indigenous Women’s Network, according to gmanetwork.com.