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Finnish Sami Reindeer Herders to Meet with UN Special Rapporteur, Rovaniemi
Written by Philip Burgess   
Thursday, 15 April 2010 15:59
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un_logoA conference of indigenous representatives and State officials from all the European Nordic countries opened in Finland today with a United Nations expert focusing on issues ranging from the status of Sami self-determination to education and language. Juha Magga, former leader of Suoma boazosamit, the Sami Reindeer Herders Association of Finland will present issues that are facing Sami reindeer herders in Finland - a unique case, as in Finland, the majority Finnish population make up the vast majority of reindeer herders in the country.

"I believe the visit [to the conference] will provide a unique and valuable opportunity for consultation and dialogue regarding issues throughout the Sápmi region," said UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous people, James Anaya, ahead of the gathering.

An independent, unpaid expert, he is mandated by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to monitor the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people.

The three-day conference in Rovaniemi, Finland, will give Anaya the opportunity to hold open discussions on issues ranging from the status of Sami self-determination and the right to land, water and natural resources in the Sámpi region to the situation of children and youth, with a particular focus on education and language. He will also assess the various contributions by Nordic governments on indigenous issues to the UN human rights bodies.

He will hold both joint and separate meetings with indigenous non-governmental organizations (NGOs), governmental representatives and the Sami parliaments, after which he will issue a report on the human rights situation of the Sami people.
Finland, SBS, UN
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