Human Rights · Riding A Dead Horse

Eighth and ninth reports on the 9th working group of the draft declaration, september 25, 2003

mitaku oyasin, all my relations

how are you all? i’m sorry that i wasn’t able to send a report yesterday but at the last minute i attended a beautiful sweatlodge ceremony with gorgeous people and when i got home the concept of ‘computer’ was beyond me, all i could do was continue to sing and smile. sigh. feeling much better about everything now, life is beautiful and full of wonder. it is so good to remember that. even today, i am seeing humour in things that a few days ago i would have been FREAKING out about. in fact, i was freaking out just yesterday pretty hard core, but aaah, no longer stressing sezin!

in any case, i was not the only one who broke down yesterday. in fact, the whole working group disintegrated and discussions have pretty much been suspended since yesterday at noon. ayoh. basically, the nordic states and many latin american nations asked australia and canada why they had introduced such radical text changes on the issues of land rights, territories and resources at such a late time and told them flat out that they were not helping the process. australia and canada then threw a temper tantrum and reiterated their threat to halt the entire declaration if they didn’t get their way. waaaaaah, why can’t i have ALL the toys!!!!! so, the chair suspended the meetings to ‘conduct private consultations in order to bridge the gap between states and indigenous peoples.’

where do i begin with the problems with this. he has not been consulting with indigenous delegates. furthermore, he has agreed to include the outrageous australia/canada proposal into his final report on the working group, even though NOT A SINGLE indigenous group has expressed any support of this proposal. but, he claims, he is working for the indigenous peoples of the world, he is in support of human rights for indigenous peoples, and he will do everything in his power to make sure that there are many articles adopted in this session. HAH!

today, he took the floor (at 1030, when the meetings are to begin at 10) telling everyone that he needed more time for consultations with governments. he said the meeting would resume at 11 am. we waited, and waited, and waited, and waited….finally, at 1255 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) he took the floor for a grand total of two minutes and told everyone that he had not finished consulting with governments yet and would be suspending the meetings until 300 so that he could continue to do his job as the chair and forge consensus among governments. again, there was no consulting with indigenous peoples on this.

so, at 330 people began to trickle back into the room since it has been the very efficient chair’s routine to start meetings at 330 or 340. it wasn’t until 510 (again, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) that he finally took the floor to discuss the results of his ‘consultations.’ oh man. basically, he is planning on drafting a new proposal that will integrate all proposals given at the meeting and will have further consultations tomorrow morning to combine all of these issues. consultations with governments, he said, because indigenous peoples have not presented any proposals that are currently under consideration. WHAT??????!!!!!!! was the look on most everyone’s face in the back of the room where the indigenous delegates and their supporters (well, also government spies, but i won’t get into that right now!) were sitting. hmmmm, there were probably just as many proposals from indigenous delegates as from government delegates (as, many of these proposals were to counter the ridiculousness of the governments proposals), but somehow these proposals did not have the required weight to make it into the considerations. makes me wonder, how many proposals from indigenous organizations equal one government proposal? does this remind anyone else of something from america’s wretched and barbaric history? again, hmmmmmm.

this proposal he is drafting will be included in his summary of the working group and there will be no time for indigenous organizations to give any comments on this. it will be submitted in the ’11th hour’ as delegates are saying. right, and the human rights processes are oh SO transparent. yeah, transparent in their attempts to deny human rights to the world’s most ancient peoples.

and apparently, there are all kinds of stories coming out now about the chairperson and the fact that the usa basically broke a whole series of rules to get him to chair this meeting. surprised, anyone? you can also guess who are the main states responsible for the TOTAL breakdown in discussions. i won’t even insult your intelligence by saying who. wow, what a crazy thing to witness. i really just couldn’t believe the disrespect, the palpable rudeness, of not only the chair but the smug governments who are reveling in all the time they are a’wasting. many indigenous delegates called out the purposeful sabotaging of the meetings by said governments, although this did not seem to get through any of the governmental or chairperson’s cro-magnon skulls.

THEN the chair had the audacity to use the last fifteen minutes of the meeting today to allow a man from the united nations conference services to give a speech about a survey they would like all participants to fill out. usually they only allow government members of the conference to fill out the survey, but the chairperson made sure that all participants, including indigenous delegates, would also be able to fill out the forms. how considerate of him. after all, that WAS our priority, no?

so tomorrow, the final meeting don’t begin until the afternoon so that the chair can discuss the ‘legitimate’ proposals in closed ‘consultations’ with government delegates. the indigenous caucus did meet this evening, and i did get to attend it, which was in fact very energizing. mililani trask is a goddess of a woman and she really picked up everyone’s spirits. i will report on all of that tomorrow, i don’t want to ruin the surprises! oooh, if they think we’ll just lie down and let them walk all over us, do they have a series of things coming!

what a stressed day for everyone. i was very glad to have attended the sweat last night because i spent the whole day smiling at hassled people and sending good vibes. just trying to bring a little sunshine into a storm of a room. man, it was TENSE! i don’t know if it helped but at that point it was all that i could do. poor everyone! what a bloody mess. ‘un dia muy malo’ as one delegate succinctly noted.

i send big beaming smiles to everyone, and even bigger hugs. please, keep the prayers coming!

wasteh, this is wincincala signing off until the conclusion of this mad journey.

toksa ake.



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