|In this section of Dialogue Between Nations, we offer a series of speeches, discussion papers and quotes that consider the relationships between Indigenous Peoples and States. We are situating this approach within the framework of the history and process of negotiation towards adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.|
The Situation of Indigenous Peoples and the
United Nations System
Human Rights Day - December 10, 2006
If I were not merely a witness, but if I could speak
Response to the current status of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and decisions taken in the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on 28th November, 2006, a day that strikes the heart, a day like the assassination of Martin Luther King.
United Nations Human Rights Council
29 June 2006
Adoption of United Nations Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Read the Declaration adopted by the Human Rights Council
as presented to the Third Committee of the
United Nations General Assembly
31 October 2006
Source: International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA)
Agenda item 68
Report of the Human Rights Council
Adoption of the United Nations Declaration
on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
20 November 2006
Amendment to defer action on the adoption
of the Human Rights Council version of the Declaration
21 November 2006
UN Press Release
28 November 2006
Third Committee ... Votes to Defer Action
Concerning Declaration on Indigenous Peoples
On this day, the Third
Committee of the United Nations General Assembly chose to defer the
final adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
previously adopted by the Human Rights Council on June 29, 2006, and in
defiance of the recommendations by numerous independent experts,
international and national agencies, human rights organizations, as well
as many member states of the United Nations, some of whom were
co-sponsors of the Declaration.
After more than two Decades of discussion in Working Groups and other relevant seminars and meetings, with guidance from respected Elders, Indigenous representatives at the United Nations continue to acquire a deeper knowledge of their rights, as well as a greater understanding of the mechanisms by which nation states function. Their positions of necessity are rooted in international human rights law unlike the unsubstantiated arguments and extreme claims of some UN member states. This international body, rising out of the ashes of genocide and designed to guarantee and protect the human rights of all peoples, has not yet confirmed through the votes of its constituent member states that Indigenous Peoples are peoples with rights equal to all peoples within the world community.
Irrespective of the disturbing outcomes put forward by the Third Committee, and in light of global reactions arising from the current controversy, favoring and contributing to the visibility of Indigenous Peoples, there still lies in front of the Indigenous leadership and their allies, a unique opportunity to redefine and strengthen the relationship they are seeking at the United Nations and with the member states of that international body. This relationship, based upon partnership and dignity and respect, honours the spirit of their ancestors.
As participants in the drafting of this Declaration, and as the rightsholders and beneficiaries of this international instrument, as well as the entire framework of international human rights law and its progressive development, Indigenous Peoples have an obligation to act upon the responsibilities inherent in their own interpretation of self-determination. The Declaration now needs to be put to use by all parties. The implementation of this framework for action now lies within Indigenous Peoples themselves and the member states who fully recognize their own international responsibilities, beginning with the responsibilities all nations have assumed under the United Nations Charter.
Regardless of the non-action presently in front of the General Assembly, the Declaration exists. It is alive, and no matter how it may be adapted, revised, weakened or even abandoned, nothing can shake it loose from the hearts and minds of Indigenous Peoples who, seeking peace and security, gave it their voices.
To those who cannot speak aloud in their
countries, bear witness
To those walking a spiritual path in silence, whisper into the ears of friends
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POLITICS OF INCLUSION
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Copyright Natalie Drache 1999