The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues should discuss the situation of indigenous peoples living in urban areas, an indigenous representative told the Forum as it continued its review of United Nations activities relating to indigenous peoples.

According to the representative from the Ainu Association of Sapporo (Japan), many Ainu had settled for economic reasons in industrial centres away from their native communities, where traditions were not handed down from the elders. A 1997 law to protect the Ainu culture mostly benefited Japanese scholars, while the Ainu culture was being ‘Japanized’, a cultural invasion that could be seen as a new form of colonization.

The representative from the Curyung Tribal Council (Alaska, United States) spoke of the inability of the State of Alaska to resolve hunting and fishing rights, and asked whether this new United Nations body could assist in overcoming this impasse. The right to subsistence hunting and fishing was a human right, guaranteed under such international instruments as the International Labour Organization Convention No. 169.