United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) Twenty-Second Session: 17-28 April 2023 at the United Nations Headquarters, New York
The 2023 UNPFII was attended by a team of 6 on behalf of Chagossian Voices. The UNFPII mandate is mainly to promote Indigenous Peoples’ rights and to advise United Nations (UN) agencies and member states on Indigenous Peoples regarding its six mandated areas: health, human rights, economic and social development, culture, and education.
The Forum takes place as a series of 3-hour sessions, each on a theme related to the mandated areas, giving an opportunity for indigenous groups, member states and NGOs to make statements. Groups must indicate they are willing to speak (either by applying before or during a session) and these statements are made live to the Forum (available on UN TV) with simultaneous translation and are sent for archiving and publication in the UN Journal. Chagossian Voices representatives Bernadette Dugasse, Jean-François Nellan, Mylene Augustin, Frankie Bontemps and Louis Elyse all made statements to the Forum. Their statements are recorded in the UN systems, and some appeared in the UN press release of 20th April 2023. A summary of each statement and links to the video and text follow.
- Mylene Augustin Weds 19th April 2023 am. Item 5 (d) Conference room 4
Mylene addressed the pain experienced by Chagossians through exile, loss and separation. She urged the UN to investigate the human rights abuses committed against Chagossians.
- Frankie Bontemps Weds 19th April 2023pm. Item 5 (d) Conference room 4
Frankie outlined the numerous human rights abuses committed against Chagossians but queried how the various agencies of the UN had allowed this to happen without comment. He pointed out that the UN had focused on the rights of Mauritius but had overlooked Chagossians.
- Bernadette Dugasse. Monday 17th April 2023 pm. Item 5. Conference room 4
Bernadette made a plea to the UN to give a voice and platform to the Chagossians whose rights and voice have been overshadowed by Mauritius.
- Louis Elyse. Thurs 20th April 2023 am. Item 4 Conference room 4
Louis argued for the right to return to the islands and for a Chagossian right of self-determination. He deplored the treatment of Chagossians in Mauritius.
- Jean-François Nellan. Tuesday 18th April 2023. Item 3. Conference Room 4
Jean-François addressed health and environmental issues and argued that Chagossians will be the best stewards of the islands’ vital eco-systems.