Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Indigenous Human Rights and the United Nations

In an earlier post I talked about the United Nations and their inability to help indigenous peoples around the world. There are many reasons for this, most stemming from the fact that it is an institution run by, and for, those who already have the power. However, that does not mean that we should give up working with the United Nations. For example, currently they are working on several important papers that will eventually end up as a U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This would be an important Declaration, giving indigenous peoples one more piece to use when confronted by colonial, global, or imperial processes.

I'm not the biggest fan of big government, and the U.N. fits within that category. I prefer the form of activism that deals with issues where one can actually make a direct impact. Blogging is one of those. However, when the opportunity arises, I will lend my voice to larger issues. In this case, it is a petition aimed at telling the U.N. and the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that they need to adopt and move forward with their Declaration. The petition is online, takes 2 seconds to fill out, and will give you a couple of karma points for the day. Please, if you care and have a voice... use it!

Online Petition in Support of Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


Update: The UN is set to adopt the Declaration, thanks for all of the support. Here is the clip:

UN set to adopt native rights declaration, no thanks to Canada: critics
Thu Sep 6, 5:39 PM

By Sue Bailey

OTTAWA (CP) - Canada was cast Thursday as a bad actor that aggressively campaigned alongside countries with tarnished human-rights records in its failed bid to derail the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The non-binding declaration is expected to be adopted Sept. 13 by the UN General Assembly.

Its success would thwart what critics say was a well-financed campaign under Canada's new Conservative government to undermine a process supported by the Liberals.

The Conservatives say the declaration is flawed, vague and open to broad interpretation. Provisions on lands and resources could be used "to support claims to broad ownership rights over traditional territories, even where rights ... were lawfully ceded through treaty," says a synopsis of Canada's position on the Indian Affairs website.

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