Lack of resources in sight at the Inuit Circumpolar Council | Polarjournal
Sara Olsvig, President of ICC. The Inuit Circumpolar Council defends the rights of indigenous peoples in the Arctic. Image: The Arctic Circle Assembly

ICC risks being hit by the wave of austerity shaking the United Nations.

In early May, the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) issued two appeals: 1. to States to support the United Nations; 2. to the UN to support the action of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, in a communiqué following the 23rd session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, held from April 15 to 26 in New York. Sara Olsvig, President of CCI, declared that “the reduction in funding is poised to have a detrimental impact on essential work and achievements [of ICC, editor’s note].”

For some years now, the UN has been facing a problem of underfunding which is already being felt in the field, for example in Yemen, or at the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to an anonymous source. According to ICC, “in recent years, several states have decreased their financial contributions to the UN, resulting in severe austerity measures across the organization”. The UN is preparing budget cuts that will affect not only the use of buildings, travel and the organization of events, but also translation, documentation and communication services.

“During the Permanent Forum session, we heard of the severe consequences of the defunding of the UN to the work of these mandates [ICC experts and rapporteurs, editor’s note]. The defunding results in fewer reports and studies, and more importantly, in fewer country visits, where the UN mandates travel directly to Indigenous Peoples’ homelands to learn and report on the human rights situation”, says Sara Olsvig.

Since 1977, ICC has been working to unite Inuit and promote their rights on the international stage. The organization bears witness to “the continued inequities Indigenous Peoples around the world face”, the press release recalls. It represents over 160,000 people spread across Alaska, Canada, Greenland and the Chukchi Peninsula, and is a permanent member of the Arctic Council.

Camille Lin, Polar Journal AG

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