Human Rights · Riding A Dead Horse

seventh report on the 9th working group of the draft declaration, september 23, 2003

hello my relations,

i hope everyone is doing well, better than me after today’s meeting! so i know that i keep saying that my reports will be brief and then they really aren’t, but this one really will be. today was just too depressing in the working group to go into too much detail, i just can’t bear to relive it. sorry!

the first article up for discussion was 23:

“Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for exercising their right to development. In particular, indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop all health, housing and other economic and social programmes affecting them and, as far as possible, to administer such programmes through their own institutions. ”

there were a million proposed changes for this article, many of them were new proposals and no one could really follow what was going on with them. new zealand, canada, guatemala, the usa, spain, switzerland, and the uk all had proposals to make. many of these were major re-workings of the article. the usa and the uk not only think that the right to development is not a right but furthermore the issue of ‘and individuals’ came up yet again. indigenous organizations made the logical proposals that OF COURSE everyone has the right to develop at the same pace as the west and this right must be provided for, as well as the fact that the whole ‘and individuals’ question has already been dealt with by all indigenous delegates who are categorically against that addition. guatemala then withdrew their proposal when they saw how different indigenous delegations wanted the article as is.

the next article was 36:

“Indigenous peoples have the right to the recognition, observance and enforcement of treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements concluded with States or their successors, according to their original spirit and intent, and to have States honour and respect such treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements. Conflicts and disputes which cannot otherwise be settled should be submitted to competent international bodies agreed to by all parties concerned. ”

again, there were so many proposals it was just ridiculous. the major proposal was from canada and the usa to delete the last line of the article as they felt that treaties were domestic matters and not for international bodies to deal with. (thus if they refuse to honor the myriad of treaties they have signed then no one else would have the right to help honor them either). france ironically stated that there should be no more radical amendments to the text, and then gave their proposal to delete the word ‘treaties’ from the article. oh the irony. you could just choke on it. france’s reasoning was that treaties are defined as being between nations and indigenous peoples are not nations, thus the language should change to ‘agreements’ or ‘conventions.’ australia agreed with france and also usa and canada. indigenous peoples asked for the article to remain as is and noted that nowhere else in the declaration was there a mechanism for conflict resolution in case domestically a solution was impossible. the navajo nation noted that treaties are in fact international agreements made between nations and should be treated as such. people wanted to know why none of these radical proposals were given in advance; many stated that treaties have NEVER been honored and more clarified to the governments that TREATIES EXIST!!!!! france then withdrew their idiotic proposal.

article 25-30 regarding land, territories and natural resources were all brought up for discussion together because canada and australia had entirely new text to propose for the series of articles. the original articles are as follows:

Article 25

“Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual and material relationship with the lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations in this regard. ”

Article 26

“Indigenous peoples have the right to own, develop, control and use the lands and territories, including the total environment of the lands, air, waters, coastal seas, sea-ice, flora and fauna and other resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used. This includes the right to the full recognition of their laws, traditions and customs, land-tenure systems and institutions for the development and management of resources, and the right to effective measures by States to prevent any interference with, alienation of or encroachment upon these rights. ”

Article 27

“Indigenous peoples have the right to the restitution of the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, occupied, used or damaged without their free and informed consent. Where this is not possible, they have the right to just and fair compensation. Unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned, compensation shall take the form of lands, territories and resources equal in quality, size and legal status.”

Article 28

“Indigenous peoples have the right to the conservation, restoration and protection of the total environment and the productive capacity of their lands, territories and resources, as well as to assistance for this purpose from States and through international cooperation. Military activities shall not take place in the lands and territories of indigenous peoples, unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned.

States shall take effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands and territories of indigenous peoples.

States shall also take effective measures to ensure, as needed, that programmes for monitoring, maintaining and restoring the health of indigenous peoples, as developed and implemented by the peoples affected by such materials, are duly implemented. ”

Article 29

“Indigenous peoples are entitled to the recognition of the full ownership, control and protection of their cultural and intellectual property.

They have the right to special measures to control, develop and protect their sciences, technologies and cultural manifestations, including human and other genetic resources, seeds, medicines, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literatures, designs and visual and performing arts. ”

Article 30

“Indigenous peoples have the right to determine and develop priorities and strategies for the development or use of their lands, territories and other resources, including the right to require that States obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands, territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources. Pursuant to agreement with the indigenous peoples concerned, just and fair compensation shall be provided for any such activities and measures taken to mitigate adverse environmental, economic, social, cultural or spiritual impact. ”

in all reality, these articles endorse very basic rights, many of which are in fact provided for in local state legislation, but somehow are never applied to indigenous communities. australia stated that it was impossible for them to discuss these articles separately and thus they wanted to go over them as a group of articles. hmmmm, funny how when it deals with giving land back that was STOLEN the australian government all of a sudden has no problems with the idea of collectivity. australia said that unless all of their language changes were accepted they would make sure the draft declaration failed. there was another proposal from the american indian resource group led by mr. tim coulter in conjunction with the haudeosaunee delegation which will be submitted in writing. there was another proposal from tupaj amaru that was on the table. after australia’s bombastic statement i could not take any more.

what an awful day. i am trying to recognize that iktomi, the trickster, is all around me and trying to make me lose faith, lose hope, lose my path that has been so clearly illuminated. but this is very difficult for me, especially since his embodiment is in real life people that i would like to bash with their microphones. i am trying to remember that they are human beings like me and have their own series of events that have led them to say the things they do, contribute to so much suffering as they do. that is their role, and our role is to combat them. i just hate to end this report like this, i fear that all these are providing is an insight into my unraveling mental state during this process. tomorrow, i will be back to normal. hope everyone is well. anyone who has words of wisdom would be so welcome for me right now.

this is wincincala yelling ‘treaties exist!’ and trying not to lose her mind.

toksa ake.



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