The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII15) convened for its fifteenth session at the United Nations Headquarters in New York this Monday. More than 1,000 participants attended the two-week long event. The fifteenth session of the forum is the first to take place under a reformed work structure, approved in 2014.

Crimean Tatars are represented at the forum by Eskender Bariev, a member of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Emine Jeppar, Ukraine’s First Deputy Minister of Information, and the US Rep Ayla Bakkalli.

In his address to the forum participants, Eskendar Bariev spoke effectively on the dire situation of the Crimean Tatars indigenous language since the occupation of Crimea. The speech raised ire of the Russian representatives at the forum.

Canadian Minister of Justice of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, the first Indigenous person to occupy that post in Canada, also attended the UN Forum. He stated that no relationship is more important than with Indigenous People.

The 15th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII) brings Member States and indigenous peoples’ representatives together around the theme, ‘Indigenous peoples: conflict, peace and resolution.’ The session will address: implementation of the six mandated areas of the PFII with reference to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP); conflict, peace and resolution; and coordination among the three UN mechanisms on indigenous affairs. A dialogue will take place with the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The session will also consider the future work of the PFII, and emerging issues.