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PATA tourism partnership to focus on indigenous rights

The World Indigenous Tourism Alliance (WINTA) and the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) have agreed to develop plans and programs to give practical expression, through tourism, to Indigenous rights. Guiding principles will be taken from the relevant portions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This agreement follows their common focus in fostering tourism developments consistent with the principles of the Larrakia Declaration that were promulgated on March 30, 2012 at the Pacific Asia Indigenous Tourism Conference 2012 in Darwin, Australia. The Larrakia Declaration has also been supported by the United Nations World Tourism Organization.

In the history of tourism development, human rights violations have been a frequently raised issue, denounced by human rights advocacy groups, trade unions and other civil society organisations. Indigenous peoples have often been the victims of such human rights violations.

“PATA sees the opportunity to redress this past history by taking a proactive approach together with WINTA to champion the implementation of the Larrakia Declaration,” said Mr. Martin Craigs, PATA Chief Executive Officer. “With the respectful engagement of Indigenous peoples as envisioned by the Larrakia Declaration, tourism can be a positive vehicle for promoting the rights of Indigenous peoples.”

“The establishment and operation of WINTA in 2012 following many years of dialogue among Indigenous peoples already engaged with tourism, marks the coming of age of Indigenous tourism and its capacity to work alongside like-minded international tourism organisations,” said Mr. Ben Sherman, WINTA Leadership Council.

“The choice and decision-making of whether and how to engage with tourism must always lie with the affected Indigenous peoples. It is important that they be afforded the opportunity to participate on the basis of free, prior and informed consent as envisioned by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Mr. Sherman.

The collaboration by WINTA and PATA represents an important step by the tourism industry to apply an industry perspective to the watershed development work undertaken by the UN Global Compact, the largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative in the world, in the production of the Business Reference Guide: United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Guide was prepared by the UN Global Compact to help businesses understand, respect, and supports the rights of indigenous peoples by illustrating how these rights are relevant to business activities

WINTA and PATA intend to agree on priority projects for promotion and implementation in the Asia Pacific region from 2014 forward.

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