United Nations: Indigenous Rights Treaty in Question
As the United Nations Forum on Indigenous Issues convenes in
Below are extracts from an article written by Matthew Russell Lee and published by Inner City Press:
UNITED NATIONS, May 15 -- The fate of the draft UN declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples remains unclear, six months after it was opposed, first by
Inner City Press on May 14 asked proponent Victoria Tauli-Corpuz which country was now most actively opposing the passage of the declaration. "
On May 15, this case and its aftermath was described by Kgosimontle Kebuelemang. In 1997 and against in 2002, the government of
In December 2006 they won the case […] but its implementation has proved difficult. What few services the government of
Most recently, the government of
Gilbert Ndahayo, a Batwa from
There are other assaults on the rights of indigenous people that are too-little-known. The expanding market for bio-fuels, including from palm oil and sugar cane, is driving indigenous people off their lands in
But as the indigenous reception took place at the UN, Ban Ki-moon was providing answers elsewhere, at the Korea Society dinner at the Waldorf Astoria. His speech, embargoed until 9 p.m., spoke of human rights and climate change. Meanwhile without comment from Ban
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on Monday asked Inner City Press' question about help from the Secretariat by saying she didn't know if Ban would even meet with them. "I hope we will be able to meet with him," she said. "I'm not sure he will give us the attention." […]
At Tuesday's UN noon briefing, Inner City Press had asked if Ban Ki-moon had any intention of meeting with the indigenous during their conference from May 14 to 25, or in supporting their declaration of human rights, which is stalled under opposition from the African Group and others. To both questions, his spokesperson said, "I don’t have a position right now and I’ll ask for you if there is a meeting planned."
Ms. Tauli-Corpuz said that after more than twenty years of waiting for the declaration of rights, it is too late to renegotiate the definitions of self-determination and prior informed consent.
A separate question is whether the declaration, if enacted by the General Assembly before September, as nearly all have said they favor, would be sufficiently enforced. But as Gilbert Ndahayo told Inner City Press on Tuesday, it would be a good first step. Will it be taken? We'll be watching.