UNITED NATIONS

 
Published: Wednesday 30 September 1998

The International Seabed Authority (ISA), the United Nations' agency responsible for administering the Law of Sea Treaty, has started discussions on a code to govern the recovery of minerals from the international seabed.

Delegates from 138 countries are meeting at the ISA's headquarters in Jamaica over the next three weeks, hoping to conclude one of the treaty's most controversial aspects. The mining code sets out rules for exploiting polymetallic nodules that lie on the international seabed. The nodules contain copper, nickel, manganese, cobalt and other minerals. Agreement on the code will pave the way for investors to begin the recovery of these nodules, mainly in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

On the occasion of the International Day of the World's Indigenous People, a senior UN human rights official said violation of indigenous people's rights continues despite increased international attention to their plight.

The deputy director of the New York office of UNHCR, Elsa Stamatopoulou, expressed concern about threats to these indigenous cultures. Stamatopoulou cited three controversial issues which are crucial for the survival of indigenous people, namely land and natural resources; the right to self-determination; and the right to culture, language and education.

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