Report on the 20th session of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations (Second day - Afternoon)
Tuesday PM, July 23, 2002
Afternoon Session 3:00 p.m.
Brian Butler, ATSIC
We are pleased to represent ATSIC. We are also pleased to introduce three Aboriginal youth. Indigenous peoples must take a rapid effort to include young people to learn from us that are experienced. It is through passing knowledge that our future will be ready to tackle the issues so they can continue the work of our ancestors at the UN. The opportunities to raise at the UN gives us a need to maintain a forum. We must make sure they have a space to share their experience. Seventy percent of Australian IPs are young people. We cannot exclude Aboriginal youth peoples from these important issues. Our determination to bring change for our people is as significant as ever. Despite the discomfort, our rights are the fundamental basis as people and our unique identity. ATSIC is pressing ahead with its rights agenda while seeking deals. While understanding the lack of political will, successful negotiations in every territory have taken place on housing, employment. The loss of our rights will lead to further deterioration. Health, employment and education are where we are facing greatest challenges and disadvantages. It is important to understand the environment we are operating under.
The issues of cultural identity have hardened since September 11. We see government use armed forces to repel asylum seekers. The extreme difference being suffered is consistent with indifference IPs face. This indifference is extremely concerning. Even though it has been 10 years, particularly women we are unable to see any promise of change in this area. As IPs, we represent only 2.4 % yet our youth is 40% of incarceration rate. We have also seen the passing of the Mabo decision that changed belief that IPs have distinct and special right arising from prior occupancy and sovereignty. The observance of indigenous rights is more important than ever.
Les Malezer FAIRA
Terra Nullius means land without people. It’s a tragic part of Australia’s colonial history that our human rights were never recognized by the British Royal family since the time of King George III, or by the Australian Government since federation in 1901, or by the United Nations since formation in 1945. Terra nullius remains the largest white lie in the world. The High Court perpetuated the white lie by saying King George III, a person reputed to have been given a special right by his God to rule other lands and peoples, did hold power – simply by having his captain raise his flag on the other side of the world – to assume sovereignty over Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islanders. This lie of god given sovereign rule has been perpetuated and there is no proposal for decolonization here.
Although 10 years ago, the High Court of Australia ruled we continue to hold possession of our land “against the entire world”, it took brief amount of time 6 years to extinguish that possession in Australian Law by passing the Native Title Amendment Act of 1998. How could the government do this? It suspended the country’s anti-discrimination law, the Racial Discrimination Act of 1975. The Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission of Australia said the legislation of 1998 was racial discrimination. The CERD committee ruled in 1999, that the law violated CERD. Also SR on Racism specified in 2002 report that the law is in breach of international standards. What actions have been taken? None. The Australian government maintains that CERD does not apply to Western states like Australia but only to developing countries.
The states have elected Australia to sit on the Commission on Human Rights. We have invited the Australian government to meet and discuss the past two hundred years. We believe the UN must employ international machinery to defend and promote the right of IPs. We know the WGIP is not a chamber of complaints, we ask the SR to examine the issue of state breaches of human rights and propose remedial mechanisms that can and should be revoked. SR can ask how formal recognition of land rights can be resolved using UN mechanism. We support the recommendations in the final working paper on Land by Erica Irene Daes. We ask whether a workshop or some other mechanism to consider the document on land rights. Maybe, it can be considered in conjunction with the Report of the workshop on IPs, the Private Sector natural resource, energy and mining companies and human rights.
Santiago Cuxil Cojcoj, Sociedad Civil de Desarrollo Comunitario
I would like to read the Mayan declaration for the environment. We the indigenous communities and survivors of the breakup of the Mayan civilization. We are people living on daily basis of the destruction of our rivers, forests. We are acutely aware of the problem of our eco-system. Much of our destruction stems from our economic system. We wish to work with first world to plant trees and care for these resources for the good of all beings on the planet. The consequence of no action will be disastrous for humanity. We are committed to planting trees. We declare the urgency and the gravity of this situation for the world. We ask you to pay serious attention. This problem goes beyond national politics. Let us work together for the good of all mankind. We declare the planting of trees and the conservation of fresh water system is a matter of biosphere. Mayan indigenous communities are committed to caring for the environment and we ask all to participate.
Eulalia Mixteca, Estacion Experimental de Valhalla
Economic and environmental spheres must be brought together. We must have human development with the planting of trees. We can protect the tropical and subtropical forests for the survival of all human beings of the planet. We have lost 80% of forests in the last 2000 years. The tree is what regulates the planet’s temperature. Our mission here today is to unite indigenous communities to plant trees for the benefit and survival for all people. We are planting macadamia trees and they are native trees and sustainable agriculture. We can look at this as first phase of the project. We plant seed for people to be self-sustaining. We can make enough funds and also finance our own infrastructure. We must be self-sufficient. Our economic development is in our own hands. It is easy to use words to clamor for rights. There are no rights without responsible action. We must take this opportunity to protect the planet.
Godwin Orkeh, Rehab Hope Fund, Nigeria
This is my first exposure to the WGIP and I appreciate the good work being done. There is a need to sustain the WG. There is a need for an open dialogue with the various indigenous nations that are endangered and facing extinction. As a physician, I have seen many deprivations and abuses directly resulting from lack of international standards being applied to corporate entities. Our wells and streams are polluted. The fish are dead. The farmlands are poisoned. Our people are sick. The youth who demand justice are branded terrorists. Without clear international standards how long will this go on? Diseases, ignorance and poverty continue. There is need for more in depth study for how to provide health to difficult to reach peoples who are invariably poor and indigenous. There is need to continue pressure on multi national companies to stop their rape on the land and to require that proper environmental surveys before prospecting as well as the maintenance of international safety standards in all operations. The WG must develop international standards and monitor their effectiveness. We have traditional, cultural beliefs that can work in harmony with modern medicine, bringing a holistic approach to healing. The right to health is basic and universal.
Le’a Malia Kanehe, Ka Lahui, Hawaii
I have two recent developments concerning our right to self-determination. The first deals with national legislation of recognizing native entity without consent or participation of Native Hawaiian Peoples. In 2000, primarily as a response to legal challenges to all programs benefiting Hawaiians as race-based discrimination, Hawaii’s federal delegation to the US Congress introduced a bill for federal recognition of a Native Hawaiian governing entity. That first bill was supported by many Native Hawaiians because it was drafted with participation of Native Hawaiian working group, included a transparent process for participation and creation of the governing entity, and allowed for all Hawaiians, without regard to blood quantum, to participate. This original bill was secretly changed and a new measure with oppressive language introduced that has minimal support because of lack of consultative hearings, no process for Native Hawaiian participation prior to the creation of the entity and only Hawaiians of 50% blood quantum were allowed to participate. Also, all references to our land and natural resources rights, the right of economic self determination, and the protection of our claims under international law were gutted for the bill. We are also concerned there ‘s a movement for a lands claim settlement without a complete inventory of our land and without a full and fair negotiation.
The US international policy on IPs, the January 2001 memorandum is to recognize the right of Internal Self determination. By virtue of that right, IPs within the US have a right to negotiate political status within the nation state. According to international law, there is no such thing as internal SD. Nevertheless, although the US national policy is to recognise a limited right to territorial autonomy and Native self governance by American Indians and Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians have not been officially included in this policy. The severely altered bill doesn’t meet the national standards, let alone international standards for self determination Recent media coverage will lead one to believe that a majority of Native Hawaiians support the measure. We want the world to know this is not an accurate statement of the will of the Native Hawaiian people. Only those that are 50% can participate in this native nation. This predicament is a violation to determine our political status.
In regard to biopiracy, we are only US state that has a trust on submerged lands. This is the result of Hawaii’s unique history as an independent Kingdom, the historical facts underlying its overthrow, and the Sacred trust obligation imposed on he US as administering agency of the non-self-governing territory under international law and UN procedures in place from 1944 to 1959. Since statehood in 1959 we are considered wards of the state of Hawaii and we are therefore unable to protect our land rights. We are entitled to lands but they have been sold or given away with no benefit to us. In 1893, Queen overthrown by the military and they remain today. Today there is a new form of colonialism – biocolonialism threatens our rights to our traditional knowledge and natural resources.
Last month, Diversa Corporation, which collects DNA and develops enzymes for markets has signed an agreement for biodiversity access in Hawaii. This agreement with the University of Hawaii gives them the right to discover genes and samples to commercialize. The negotiations were conducted without free, prior and informed consent in violation of the Convention on Biological Diversity, article 8j. Currently, there are no regulations to protect our rights. We do not have jurisdictional power to enforce the rights of our own. The University of Hawaii contracted out our rights in a human rights violations. We need the review of human rights of indigenous peoples. We also want to lend our voice of support for the WGIP.
Ron Barnes, Alaska
The right of SD is paramount to our survival. Our dimensions are linked with our survival. We need this for good health. All aspects of culture must be included in our education. The Cobo report is important for the right of SD. Title to land is very important although we consider ourselves stewards of land. Although dominion is important. There is a serious lack of effort to recognize the fundamental freedoms of IPs. When foreign peoples arrived, we were torn from our land. The rich relationship we share with mother earth is being disrupted by the multinational medicinal companies stealing our medicinal knowledge. We are paying for medicine that comes from our lands to buy back our own medicines. We need standards to protect our rights. There is also privatization of education and there are also cuts to indigenous education that has major impact on IPs.
Jason Ole Parantai, Masaai AIDA Awareness Program
The strategies to address gender disparities and discrimination need to focus on programs to increase women’s secure livelihoods and resources, removing impediments to participation in decision-making and raising awareness of gender issues. Equal participation and representation and enhancement of gender equality should be ensured. The question of aids needs to be addressed to communities in the way they can understand and benefit from. Need funding to address the epidemic. Given that women are disadvantaged, we need programs that give access to livelihood and resources, removing cultural and legal impediments to participation and decision-making. The UN should develop strategies to address the plight of AIDS orphans among IPs.
Refer to statement made by Chagos refugee group yesterday. The Chagos archipelago has always been an integral part of the territory of Mauritius. It was illegally excised from the territory of Mauritius by the UK. The Government of Mauritius has pressed for its early and unconditional return. Mauritius has never relinquished sovereignty. All Chagos islanders are Mauritius citizens. It was uninhabited till the 19th century when workers were brought over. There were no indigenous inhabitants. The UK giving citizenship to the Chagos islanders does not mean that they do not need to return the island.
Yvo Peeters, Remoboth Community of Namibia
The Remoboth community enjoyed large degree of autonomy since 1862, until it was stripped of resources and institutions by the Government of Namibia in 1990, upon its independence under the umbrella of the UN. Our people sent communication to the Committee of HR in 92. Although our land rights not acknowledged, the Namibian government was found to be in breach of the convention on matters of language and education rights. These, though in the constitution are void. Since 1990 no implementation legislation has been passed. Nothing has been done since the decision of the Committee. It would be a disgrace if its decision would have no benefit for those concerned. Appeal to remind the Namibian government of its obligations under international law. Commend Judge Guisse on his intervention.
Simon Parkesni, Ogiek Welfare System
Kenya. Our organization stands for the right of IP hunter gatherers. The Ogiek are little known, but are the most widely distributed peoples in Africa. We live in the Mau forest and depend on nature for livelihood. Our focus has been to educate Ogiek and others on their basic rights to life, prosperity, education and good health. The Kenyan government has threatened to evict more than 10,000 Ogiek families form ancestral lands. We have challenged this and it is now in the High Court of Kenya. Survival International have issued an alert for protection of our forest and land rights. We now bring this to the UN. We support the WGIP.
Jillian Dempster, New Zealand
The New Zealand government is making progress in Maori development. Education plays a crucial role. Disparities in educational outcomes indicate more needs to be done. The government is entering into partnership with tribes. Also there’s a new program focusing on self-esteem for young Maori to succeed in further education. Affordable housing makes sure that tenants pay affordable rate. Multipurpose spaces for communal style sleeping is taking place. Maori regional development is about providing assistance to identify local opportunities to respond to these opportunities. There are 46 million dollars to teach skills to reach objectives. The New Zealand government operates programs to eliminate disparities. The Maori Development Workers Fund provides initiative for Maori communities. Maori workers are selected by and in the community. Revitalization of the Maori language: it is used in education and broadcasting and it now includes Maori community. It is the community language fund to increase Maori language development in the community. Another important factor for Maori language is a television service. It will provide a channel dedicated to Maori programs in Maori and English. Another positive point was the Maori Made Mark. When attached to art works it shows the artworks are authentic and of a quality standard. To date, over 620$ million has been committed as redress for settlements of the Waitangi Treaty. The Waitangi Tribunal also increased funding. The NZ government remains committed to Maori development. This brings benefit to Maori and to us all.
It has been exactly ten years when I took the floor as an Indigenous representative. In time, the path of understanding and dialogue has been full of difficulties. There is a cooperation for indigenous development and it has a board made up of 8 IPs elected democratically. Given the board is from different IPs in our country, the application of the indigenous law has not been easy. The ratification of the legislation and constitutional recognition are still pending. Things cannot be done over night. We are only just beginning to move away from process of marginalization. There are different reactions and pains. Despite the differences and the enormous demand for more land, there is a great desire to make progress and improve our own management. Land management is very important to IPs. The president promises to give great amount of land back. 215,000 hectares given back. The educational grants provided to indigenous peoples for grammar, technical schools. The 5,000 grants was increased to 18,000 in 2001 and 25,000 in 2002 for contributions. We send you our warm greetings and we hope this forum will be beneficial.
ITEM 4b. Review of Recent Developments: Indigenous Peoples and their right to development including participation in development affecting them
Chair Miguel Alfonso Martinez
Chair must allot times within limits as democratic as possible. We will set the time for 4a and 4b to be four minutes. Speakers list remains open and closed after 6 p.m.
Fadimatou Dahirou, Mboscuda
I pledge our support for the UN WGIP, the PFII and the structures to protect and promote human rights of indigenous peoples. Cameroon constitution guarantees minority rights. One of the development project means working together offering literacy, microcredit, advocacy and training. The project is involved in seven communities. Using literacy, models, they identify their problems and create models for them. Thirty children able to take official examination and 40 French schools were constructed. Traditional society offers very little space for women. Land tenure workshops were organized later. The idea is to bring together all the stakeholders to try and find consensual solutions while agreeing on implementing conflict resolution mechanisms. Moboscuda has been at UN World Conference in Copenhagen and at the WGIP since 2000. It is remarkable achievement. We are also involved in global network and also working with pastoral network. It is our hope that international forum will allow us to address issues facing indigenous peoples. We also face a lot of challenges and problems. Funding is also a major problem. The persecution of IPs remains our major concern. Cattleranchers have displaced our people. We will be pleased to speak with anyone We do understand we are making our declaration in line with accordance with special themes but would like to bring in human rights violations and that Cameroon has failed to protect our human rights. We ask people to put an end to our people. It is all well and good to come to this forum but what matters to the people is action now.
Chair Miguel Alfonso Martinez
I will now use the gavel with one minute remaining to warn that by tapping the gavel they have one minute left otherwise we will not have enough time for everyone to take the floor and this early warning will prevent me from taking the floor away from a speaker. I thank you for complying because I anticipate you will.
Lena Davids, Huisen Women Organization,
Rights of women and indigenous women need protection. Indigenous women need to be respected. Low income people become more economically depended. Women are also not seen as equal partners in family level. Women do not have right to decide on how many children to raise. Educating indigenous women about cultural practices as being submissive to husband is important and also raising HIV awareness. Projects should provide income but also self-esteem and community development.
Lazaro Pari, Indian Movement Tupaj Amaru
The effective exercise of sustainable right to development has close ties with resistable movement of globalization. Globalization intends to change world based on blind rules of the market. The world has become a giant casino. Finances are transferred from poor to the rich countries. It seeks maximum profits with minimum time. In applying the neoliberal policies and imposing them on developing countries, the investors have created a model on North-South relations. The current dominant thought is incompatible with the right to development with fair distribution of wealth. This has been set as a goal. Permanent sovereignty of all people is important in the right of SD. Neoliberal economists found at IFI have given development concept which is purely economist in nature in terms of growth, production and numbers. Growth should be quality and not only quantitative in nature. The Monterrey meeting showed the insensitivity of the rich North and to pillage our natural resources. Given the challenge before us, IPs are proposing other parameters. It is basic foundation of sustainable environment, human rights, equitable distribution of wealth.
Meitei Leitanthem Umakanta Center for the Progress of Manipuri
A few of our concerns in Manipur. We have struggled against oppression the struggle for freedom which began against the British colonizers has continued and persisted till today.
Prajina Lankar, Peace Campaign Group
Over the years, we, the indigenous peoples have been consistent in our approach to development. We support the view that “development and self-determination are two sides of a coin”. It gives me pleasure to apprise the Working Group that recently a 13-member Mission consisting of international development partners mostly from the West and Bangladesh government officials concluded a 10-day visit to my homeland, the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) to assess the situation therein as part of their initiative for development in the region. The Mission had had broad consultations with all walks of people including representatives of local governmental bodies like the CHT Regional Council. The Mission should address in its report the need for proper implementation of the CHT accord of 1997 to create a congenial atmosphere for development in the region.
We strongly feel the need for participation of a democratically elected local government in the development process. For that, elections of the three Hill District Councils are crucial. The existing Councils are undemocratic because they have been formed with persons nominated by the government.
The government has not yet implemented the fundamental points of the CHT accord such as, empowerment of local governmental bodies, appointment of indigenous officers at various levels of the administration, withdrawal of more than 400,000 Bengali settlers and temporary military and paramilitary forces from the CHT, settlement of land-disputes between Jummas and Bengali settlers, rehabilitation of Jummas victimized in the conflict etc. The government has rather violated the accord in many ways that resulted in law and order problems, social, economic and political instability and human rights violations in the CHT.
Following recommendations for your report:: Proper and immediate implementation of the CHT accord, Carrying out all kinds of development activities in the CHT within the framework of the CHT accord and Early adoption of the Draft Declaration and ratification of the ILO Convention169 by state parties like Bangladesh, who have not yet ratified it to ensure indigenous peoples’ right to development.
In a time of rapid globalization, IPs have right to implementation, evaluation of development. Recently, a 30 member mission of international development partners of West and Bangladesh attended the CHT. The consultation had broad contact with broad range of people in CHT. We are concerned over the exclusion. The mission head by retired Bangladesh official. The mission report is crucial. There is need for a democratically elected body for development.
Chang Yang, Hmong International Human Rights Watch
This is our fifth time to testify at WGIP. We ask for two things
1) Stop ethnic cleansing of Hmong in Laos.
2) Give access to refugees in Laos and Thailand.
The Hmong capitol has disappeared. When the Laos and Vietnamese community captured the Hmong, they would cut off the penis off and place in the mouth. For the women captured, they are raped and killed. All have sharp object shoved from the vagina to the chest cavity. For children captured, they have toes cut off and also head bashed on trees. Mr. Chair, this is a new century.
Vietnam is a member of the family of nations. We have picture of top Vietnamese General and his officers killed in 1998. They came to kill the Hmong people. I have pictures of the innocent people slaughtered by Vietnamese government. The people are coming to kill the Hmong people. The Hmong refugee that live in Laos and Thailand should be granted refugee status.
John Sinclair, Canada
The strategies and approaches Canada is taking is to assist IPs. At the PF, this issue achieved good significant discussions. Canada is encouraged by the constructive dialogue at the PFII. We continue to support the PFII and its mandate. At the national level, Canada has taken initiative to help IPs with development that concerns them. FN have been targeted including mining, foresty, oil and gas, tourism are being explored. Those 29 ministers and federal organs in working for international indigenous trade for small and medium size trade in an export market. Canada recognizes technology and internet for trade and human rights. This is multidimensional challenges. Canada is approaching this challenge through different modalities.
Ms. Incole Taglang, Armelles Breiz Femmes
There are six Celtic communities. Democracy is fragile. In France 2002, confirmed our concern with fascist, racist and xenophobic ideals. We would like to have mutual enrichment through cultural exchange. Environmental problems dealing with health and our children. There has been a growth in cancer after Chernobyl. I was pregnant during that time in a region of Western Europe but other women following saw an increase in cancer among children. The pollution of our rivers is taking place. We call upon French and other European leaders to avoid the destruction of our environment to creating jobs that benefit IPs. The other aspect is violence in all forms. Certain staff members maintain Nazi practices. There have been death threats and there is a study on the way that one child was killed following an attack on his mother in 1998. There was an attempted suicide. Mother was in severe poverty. Over the years, we have noted the local agencies in Marseille didn’t have the same protection as Marseille. We regard this as a violation of women and children’s rights. In France and Europe, we are calling for an inquiry commission to be set up in various ministries.
Mohammed Handaine, Confederation Amazigh du Maroc,
Have seen implementation in the UN system to benefit IPs, particularly the creation of a WGIP are extremely important. Since the creation of the WGIP, the international scene has improved and we have worked on declaration on indigenous rights. These are extremely important steps. But have not taken effect yet. Therefore, I would like to speak on symbolic effects in Africa. I would like to speak of the Amazigh people. The events in the UN and the OAU mean that over a course of time, African governments refused to engage in dialogue but recently the African Commission has decided to set up a WG which I consider to be great progress. These may be minimal but they are positive at least. In S.Africa it recognizes indigenous languages and even if there is an open struggle recently there have been recognition of the Amazigh language in the constitution. In Marocco, there are also some positive developments there have been national process to rehabilitate the Amazigh people and language so it can be used in training and education.. This makes it possible that the outlook for WGIP requires emphasis on the international standards for IPs to be upheld.
Saganash Diom Romeo, Grand Council of the Cree,
In April 1999, the HRC made the following observation that situation of Aboriginal peoples remains the most important human rights issue in Canada. Royal Commission on Aboriginal people have not been enacted. The committee maintained that all peoples must be able to dispose of natural wealth and resources. Decisive and urgent action needed. The practice of extinguishing aboriginal rights be abandoned. Our economic, social, cultural are linked to our traditional land and territory. This is what the international covenanent was created to protect. Currently on the margin of Canadian society, we will be pushed to economic extinction. Nothing has fundamentally changed in Canada. Canada wishes to unilateral put on indigenous peoples. Modernizing the Indian Act is equal to modernizing colonialism. You do not update, you abolish them. We had governmental authority recognizing Cree by Quebec. The respect of IPs right to SD is an example to show there is possibility for peace and not a threat.
Armand McKenzie, Innu Council of Nitassinan
Allow me to inform members of the WG, our relationship with the mining industry has never been an easy one. By the 1960s and 70s, the Shefferville mines had taken land from the Innu although no treaty had been concluded. In 1995, the pace of minerals overwhelmed the Labradour government. Over 280 claims were provided in the space of two months. The Innu responded with an eviction notice to the mining corporations. There was a 12 day stand-off. Today, I am happy to report that companies in projects have begun substantial relationship that respects Innu rights with framework for dispute process and environmental protection. The impact benefit agreement is founded in the respect that all IPs have worked on for all the years based on free, prior and informed consent. Without this WG, these types of accords would not be possible. We need the WG to improve.
Lakra Ruhama, World Adivasi Council
Situation gravely deteriorating in spite of means spent for their protection and development. Must investigate aid policy. We need full participation and freedom of choice, development assisatnce through IPs organisations, and proper monitoring. IPs must be empowered. Encouragement for dialogue of different religions. Wildlife and forest planning must be made and IPs used, rather than replaced. Need coordination between funding, UN and other agencies. We must judge whether we are going in the right direction. In education, we should have balanced textbooks, and guidelines for TV and media. Depriving the livelihood of IPs without compensation equals slow genocide and should be considered a crime against humanity.
Giancarlo Barbado, Apache Survival Coalition
The nature and value, spirituality of the native peoples in the San Carlos community is threatened by an observatory. They maintain the mountain has no sacred characteristics, but how can they judge it. It is not possible to link spirituality of IPs as superstition, it is rather based on intimate knowledge of nature. We have developed a spiritual culture which is outside the main religions. Our beliefs are a special treasure of knowledge. We must review the cultural world of IPs and recognize the significance of their dignity and the lessons they have to give to mankind.
Nicole Besage, Comite Suisse de Support aux Chagoissiens
Our right to development begins by returning us to our land. We never sold it but everyone can use it but us. Workers of the world have been sent there but not the Chagossians who are unemployed. In the study on our return we were not included. The environmental stakes are high and we demand the chagossiens return. We have been acknowledged as the native people of Chagos. To develop our future, we desire access to education. In May 2002, UK acknowledged Chagos as overseas territory, but we do not enjoy scholarships and health. Our choice is to return to the islands.
Adelard Blackman, Dene Sulen Nation,
In the past year, since my last statement we have undertaken an investigation with observers from Incomindios into issues regarding our people. Our observations and analyses of important issues: Massive corruption from the top down by the federal government and provincial governments and multinationals within our territory. Government policies and legislation that infringe on our treaty rights ensuring that as treaty Indians, we will be extinct within 100 years and our reserves will be gone. Multinational corporations taking everything without consideration for our traditions and our values. Massive housing shortages, critical health care issues, funding cuts to education…the list goes on. Any move toward SD is blocked by the government. Self-government forced on us by the federal government is doomed to failure.
How can we determine our future without an economic base and a healthy community?
The Buffalo River Done Nation just lose a case at the Supreme Court Level in April 2002. The Sylvester/Caterack v. the Queen for hunting within our traditional territory. We have exhausted all legal measures within the Canadian legal system. Now, we have only one alternative left and that is the international arena. We must bring to the attention of the international community that we must have justice and restitution for our people. Is there a solution? Yes, if and when the federal government and the MNC apologize and admit that they have done wrong in the treatment of our IPs, then and only then we will begin reconciliation and move to a solution that will be beneficial to all peoples.
With the WGIP, this avenue must remain open for our IPs, this is our last avenue for bringing the truth into the open. The PF must be taken care of, and adequate funding must be in place immediately. The Draft Declaration must pass as is, as originally drafted, with no changes. The international community must begin to understand that we must be treated with respect an dignity. Our people are becoming more and more educated, we are beginning to understand the difference between what is right and what is wrong. The governments and the multinational corporations must understand that the time of taking from us is over. You will have to deal with us in an honest and open dialogue. I give you a quote by one of our elders, and I quote: ‘We must all work together as human beings for something positive, otherwise Mother Earth will be no longer able to sustain us within the next 100 years.” As IPs, we have a lot to offer the world if you listen to what we have to say. Solutions can be found, let us not leave it until it is too late. Can the international community live with its conscience it it allows with us to disappear.
Michael Eckford, Sovereign Union of Aboriginal Nations and
Peoples of Australia
There have been numerous developments at the international level over the past years that have had dramatic impacts upon the very lives of IPs all over the world. However, there has never been a threat like that which we are presently confronted with. The Convention on the Biological Diversity 8j argues benefit sharing, yet it doesn’t raise threat of not being able to say no to our natural resources. While the ideas of benefit sharing is a step, yet it doesn’t do anything to guarantee our rights. The Australian government ownership of land mass is so minute. The vast amount is owned by state and government territory. This means they can do what they please. The Australian government is developing federal or commonwealth lands. It shows they will try to subvert the flawed Native Title Act. The CBD is a direct attack on our beliefs. We are confronted with religion versus development. We IPs don’t feel like we are participating in government decision-making process. The religious relationship with land is totemic. Money no matter how much cannot replace religious beliefs. In 2001, minister proposed Aboriginal people enter into business ventures. Money was only if Aboriginals went into business with white people. In 1967, final strategy was assimilation. It was going to be through economic development. It is our interest to be alert to the promises of our oppressors.
Nepuni Piku, Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights,
Naga are minority people in Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh except in Nagaland state. Despite mega dam projects being unpopular, India is making it popular again. The proposed construction is on a seismic area and also on a biodiverse space. Villages will be submerged and thus affect 40,000 people submerging their homelands. The benefits of dam will not be for affected people. IPs believe environmental cost will be borne by IPs. There is lack of effective participation. Most recently in the name of development, there has been biology to trace the Naga origin without free, prior and informed consent. Proper consultation process must be established. People have right to negate any project that affects their people. **The Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights strongly believes that if development is to become an instrument of empowerment, it has to begin by developing the minds of people in helping understand one another. Development has to begin with contributing in the process of liberating the human spirit and in the process creating social change where one can live in dignity, respect and fairness. We appeal for more constructive dialogue between IPs and governments in order to have more meaningful development.
Abhoud Syed M, Bangsamoro Peoples
The development paradigm denies us the kind of development we want but also the right of self-determination. We only occupy 20 % of our land. We experience a heavily militarized area. There will be no development without the right of self-determination. Genuine development cannot also happen under the state of militarization, colonization and oppression as we presently experience and I believe other IPs are also experiencing. The kind of development that IPs want will not happen if we do not have SD. I would like to propose the WG consider that the right to development considered in framework of SD which is a fundamental human rights. That a standard shall be set on the nature of development. That the Philppine government shall be urged to allow the holding of referendum in the Bangsamoro territory under the supervision of the UN to give the people opportunity to determine political status so they can enjoy the right to development.
Miriam Masaquiza, FENOCIN – Ecuador
I would like to refer to the fact that despite oppression and adaptation, we have all survived. Our movement defends our lands and it has not been easy. Through our struggle we have had to fight for our rights. The IPs have been working in local development that it is the most efffective path for future generations so they can live in society that is multicultural and multilingual. Payment of external debt has worsened the quality of life, especially indigenous women. In the process of the struggle, we believe the only way out is to strengthen the grassroots. We can and will fight for democracy. We call for holistic development. We think of the young people and to protect and promote our rights and our inheritance of our land. We begin a new chapter for humanity. We must continue struggling against all forms of segregation. We hope our proposals can be discussed in roundtable discussions.
Margaret Kobei, DKIEK Rural International Project,
The Ogiek are the most widely dispersed people in Africa. We live in the Mau Forest and depend on nature for our livelihood – by collecting honey and wild fruits. Our focus has been to educate together with other IPs on basic rights to life, prosperity, education and good health. The Kenyan government has threatened to evict more than 10,000 families from their ancestral land with no alternative for us. We have challenged the decision and the matter is in the High Court of Kenya. We seek more information on what the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is doing to improve the status of the world’s IPs and we hope to be part of the guide on how to be part of the UN process.
Carmen Jerez, Movimiento Indigena de Tunguranna,
The Quicha people of Ecuador live in a world where globalization overwhelms us. We see disintegration and disappearance of indigenous peoples. Civilized man places itself above all else. Development must be redefined. We need a development of society that includes all elements of society. It must include all social players. If development is a right for all IPs then we must work together against the dominant development model. If we do not do so, we will not have development. These are different ways of conceiving the world. We propose action plans and programs for human sustainability based on benefits for man to live in his habitat. I would raise issue of the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas. We shall demand to be more than providers of labor and raw materials
Dr. Vang Pobzeb, Lao Human Rights Council,
I would like to report to you and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that the Communist Lao and Vietnamese governments have killed more than 300,000 Hmong and Lao people in Laos between 1975 and 2002. There are many thousands of Vietnamese soldiers who support the Communist Lao government in conducting an ethnic cleansing war and genocide against people in Laos, especially the ethnic Hmong people. The Communist Lao government has arrested and imprisoned more than 550 Hmong and People people who believe in the Christian religion and closed down more than 65 churches and religious institutions in Laos between 2000 and 2002. In Vietname, the Communist Vietnamese government has arrested and imprisoned more than 3,000 Hmong people believing in Christianity. Release the religious prisoners. I also request Thai government to grant citizenship to those Hmong people and to continue to provide asylum and resettlement for Hmong to stay in Thailand.
Jose Montes, CRAL
Food, clothing and housing are three aspects of development. We must confront the ongoing exploitation of resources by handful of people on the planet. Have the IPs had the right to development? The Maya, Aztec, Mapuche and other IPs of Asia and Africa have had the right to participate denied. Never have the IPs had the right to development. This right was cut off by the colonizer. No one can deny westerners came in the name of advanced civilization. No one can forget the methods and means used to murder and humiliate IPs. They came to our lands to pillage our wealth. Who did this? Multinational coporations and nations. IPs never had the right to development. Culture exists in a different manner. The neoliberal policies are overwhelming us and making us disappear in the world. It overwhelms our heart and they have no heart. We will continue to be an example until we reach goal of being main players in our own development.
John Lopez, Hojas de Hierba,
I would like to look at case of Colombia. We are the most threatened and vulnerable of society. Our lands have been taken away and catalogued for the great powers. We see the crisis. Plan Colombia is a current example and everyone has heard about it. It is to contribute to the country and this money funds weapons, second hand cars and military bases in our country. Who benefits? US companies sell their old and obsolete weapons. It is one more scandal that governments have done one after the other. To speak of development is a utopia. All are measured in monetary terms, how can it be otherwise. If we really want development all 80 linguistic families must be able to participate and the lands harvested toward will of communities. The measurement of development through stock market isn’t enough. What children of indigenous family represent for us cannot be measured. We should be firmly committed to protecting our culture. We should be committed to safeguarding nature because everything depends on nature. This is the only way for communities to not be threatened and exterminated.
Chair Miguel Alfonso Martinez
Announces again to different government delegations meeting between 12 and 3 p.m. The chair is inviting you to an exchange. We have found a volunteer interpreter for that important meeting. Fourth session adjourned.
List of Abbreviations & Acronyms
DDRIP = UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
ECOSOC = UN Economic and Social Council
HRs = Human rights
IGOs = Inter-gouvernmental Organisations
IPs = Indigenous Peoples
IPOs = Indigenous Peoples’ Organisations
NGOs = Non-gouvernmental Organisations
OHCHR = UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
PFII = UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
SD = Self-determination
SR = Special Rapporteur
UN = United Nations
VFIP = UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples
VFID = UN Voluntary Fund on the International Decade of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
WCAR = UN World Conference Against Racism (Durban, 2001)
WG = Working Group
WGIP = UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations
WGDD = UN Working Group on the Draft Declaration
WSSD = UN World Summit on Sustainable Development (Johannesburg, 2002)
Mission Statement: ·To provide accurate summaries of
daily intervention and a historical record of meetings.
·To respond to the recent change in ECOSOC rules limiting official reports to 16 pages.
·To complement other more long-term reporting processes, research and publications.
·To capture interventions that are given orally, spontaneously or during unofficial meetings that are not recorded in official reports.
·To enable members of indigenous communities to follow events who are not able to attend the meetings through timely, daily publication
Editorial team: Joshua Cooper, Mónica Castelo, Blaise Pantel, Eduardo Welsh, Suzy Faulkner
Disclaimer: Please note the statements are not the full versions
of the text and the information may not be an entirely accurate account of the
We apologize for any errors, omissions or misinterpretations.