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Thread: UN Victory for Indigenous Folk
09-17-2007, 02:43 AM #1
UN Victory for Indigenous Folk
Reported by Martin Khor in "The Star", 17 September 2007, some extracts:
"Last week the world's 370 million indigeous people won a victory when the UN adopted a Declaration on Indigenous Peoples' Rights, which recognises their rights to land, resources and cultural traditions, after a long and often emotional series of meetings and negotiations lasting almost 25 years.
140 countries, including Malaysia and all Asian countries (except Bangladesh, which abstained), voted for the declaration.
Only four countries, the United Staes, Canada, Australia and New Zealand voted against while 11 abstained.
The Human Rights Council had adoped the declaration in June last year, but a vote at the General Assembly was deferred last year at the request of African countries that wanted to re-examine certain parts. After another year of intense negotiations, and a few changes to the text, an overwhelming majority of countries voted in favour.
General Assembly President Shiekha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa warned that indigenous peoples still faced marginalisation, extreme poverty and other human rights violations. They were often dragged into conflicts and land disputes that threatened their way of life and very survival and suffered from a lack of access to health care and education..."
(So much said about their belief in democracy and human rights by the first-world countries who voted against the declaration! )
Last edited by Loh; 09-17-2007 at 02:48 AM.
09-17-2007, 03:02 AM #2
Why then are the US, Canada, Australia, and NZ against this resolution? It doesn't make sense for champions of human rights to not accord their indigenous population their basic rights.
09-17-2007, 03:31 AM #3
09-17-2007, 03:54 AM #4
it creates some problems. any indigenous can then just come out and claim that this land is theirs because it belonged to their forefathers.
US have the indians
Australia have the aboriginals
NZ have the Mauri
i dont know what Canada have
Malaysia have the bumiputras
09-17-2007, 04:46 AM #5
09-17-2007, 08:01 AM #6
09-17-2007, 11:15 AM #7
For 23 years Canada was a staunch supporter of the declaration.
and the comments attached
Last edited by Neil Nicholls; 09-17-2007 at 11:18 AM.
09-17-2007, 11:37 AM #8
An ex-Canadian co-worker (now back in New Foundland) mentioned that calling them 'eskimo' is akin to calling the African Americans "ni'a".
09-17-2007, 02:12 PM #9
this indiginous thing will start a slew of land claim which in the end would create problem and wasted money for most former colonial country. so what if it happened over 100 years ago? will it make any difference? maybe not.
they should fight for the right of immigrant. eskimo is the name for inuit before they decide we don't like that name (eskimo= starnger inuit=resident or something like that). indian is the name for the native in americas because someone tought that they've found India and don't want to look stupid because he knows it's not India, so they called the inhabitant indian. negro is the skin colour of the africans. negro=black and still being used in a lot of country to describe colour.
malaysian IS the indiginous resident of the malay peninsula. for sarawak and sabah is the many of dayak tribes.
I'm sorry, but being a visible minority in predominantly "white" area, it's me that feel discriminated because of skin colour and other differences. I don't understand why it is so hard to describe ppl according to what exactly is the fact. A lot of moronus ignoramus white ppl too. (I hate being called Philipino...because I'm not! because then they try to speak tagalog with me...lol no offense to the philipinos , you guys are fun to be around).
and I hate hearing another landclaim on the news because it make me wanna mow down the native reserve or any body who claim they have native blood in them (even if you're 1/16 of a native and looks like just another white guy live in suburb, you're entitled to a lot of benefit if you show your native card). they already got sooo many privilages and tax breaks. we the immigrant who built the country get so little credit. this is hold true for canada because practically almost everyone here is originally from another country.
Last edited by Double_Player; 09-17-2007 at 02:15 PM.
09-17-2007, 03:32 PM #10
09-17-2007, 03:45 PM #11
i think individual country has their own history, and old deals with the Indigenous people. U can't pass a blanket declaration for all of them. The undeveloped countries dont have much to lose but developed countries do. Is it fair to have somebody come back centuries later and take your producing gold mines and old fields?
09-17-2007, 04:31 PM #12
Last edited by ctjcad; 09-17-2007 at 04:33 PM.
09-17-2007, 10:00 PM #13
Look, almost every country on this planet started with indigenous people. Even today, almost every country have indigenous people. According to the UN there are 400 million indigenous people in the world.
Even in China there are at least 50+ indigenous groups, who have special rights that Han Chinese don't get. You find them in Africa, Japan, Russia, Europe, South America, North America, Greenland (belongs to Denmark), Central Asia, India, Australia, everywhere.
BTW Malays are not the indigenous people of Malaysia. They are 'sons of the soil', a political definition. The Sakais, Penans, Kadazans, Bajus, Suluks, Cocos Malays, etc are the real indigenous peoples of Malaysia.
Now, what is it that the US, Canada, Australia and NZ find it so difficult to protect the rights of their own indigenous peoples when almost all other countries have the decency to do so? Saying that doing so will mean surrendering the land to the indigenous peoples is ridiculous-it is just an excuse because you can pass laws that will respect and protect their basic rights and still not have to surrender your land.
09-17-2007, 10:23 PM #14
OMG, that will not work here!!! You might as well not open the can of worms.
[quote=taneepak;664821]Now, what is it that the US, Canada, Australia and NZ find it so difficult to protect the rights of their own indigenous peoples when almost all other countries have the decency to do so? Saying that doing so will mean surrendering the land to the indigenous peoples is ridiculous-it is just an excuse because you can pass laws that will respect and protect their basic rights and still not have to surrender your land.[/quote]
09-17-2007, 10:52 PM #15
I believe the recent UN "Decalaration on Indigenous Peoples' Rights" is a non-binding resolution and that it contains a provision that says that nothing in this resolution should impair or adversely affect the sovereign integrity of states. So the Australians shouldn't worry that their aboriginals would take back a big slice of their land and declare it as another sovereign state. It is now more of a local and internal problem-just give them their dues. At the end of the day what really counts is that the indigenous peoples share the fruits of their country equally-quality of life, standard of living, education, political and economic power, etc. You can have the best human rights laws in the world but they will be meaningless if your indigenous peoples die younger, live more in poverty vis-a-vis the others, commit more crimes, have disproportionately less representation in the political and economic field/pie, etc.
Any unfounded fear of losing all to the indeginous peoples will only worsen this great divide.
09-18-2007, 02:51 AM #16
As reported, it took almost a quarter of a century for this Declaration to be accepted by a great majority of UN members.
It is not legally binding but its acceptance meant that more governments and their citizens recognize the fact that indigenous people, often in the minority, should be treated with due respect, and accorded their rightful place in society.
It seems to me that hitherto most of them were deprived of many rights and privileges (as reported) such that they continue to lag behind the rest of the society. Surely their land and other possessions should not be taken away by the more superior immigrants.
Of course it is the government's duty to look after the interests of the country and her people, but this should also extend to the indigenous people who form part of its citizenry. Just because they are in the minority now does not give the majority immigrants the right to displace them in whatever form, as this would cause irreparable damage to the social fabric in the long run.
In order that an equitable solution be found, discussions with the representatives of the indigenous groups should be fostered and amicable agreements be set in writing in the form of laws, etc. This is necessary so that all parties concerned are put on notice regarding their rights and privileges and that going beyond the boundaries is not permitted by law.
The law then takes over to look after the interests of all and no one should then quarrel again and take things into their own hands.
It takes a long time and a large amount of patience and understanding, but each individual country must look into its own unique position to satisfy the needs and demands of both indigenous people and immigrants who came and develop the country and generated prosperity. All should also participate and share in the wealth of the country and make democracy and human rights a living thing.
Nobody says it is easy as it has taken 25 years for UN members to accept the Declaration but a start is necessary to ignite the process. The implementation of the Declaration will certainly take much more effort and time.
But being champions of the higher things in life, why then that the four first world developed countries not sign the Declaration and set a good example? There are many other industrially advanced countries which are signatories. Selfish interest? Whose?
Last edited by Loh; 09-18-2007 at 02:57 AM.
09-18-2007, 08:22 PM #17
My additional 2 cents..worth..
It's definitely true that equal rights should be something that the U.S., and all nations in the world, should strive for. And, yes, we are still stuggling with it.
But as far as i know, from the U.S. perspective, even the American Indians are being treated equally.
For example, some of us probably know that the U.S. government (even the Canadian govt) provides lands to the native American Indians (called reservations, which also didn't have a smooth history), not to be touched nor developed in any ways by non-Indians. Our Phoenix-based bro Quasimodo, in Arizona, can probably chime in a bit about this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_reservation (anyone can read more abt it)..
But as far as my knowledge, most of them, esp. those American Indians who live in the reservations can hardly develop anything with those lands, if at all positive. Speaking also from experience, yes, i've passed by those American Indian reservations in Arizona before, all i saw were lands being left as they are, mostly undeveloped, and in some case built for casinos..Those casinos themselves also have their own "set of problems"..
Here in the Southern California region, there's also an American-Indian owned casino, the Morongo:
Thus, if speaking from the U.S. perspective, the equal rights are definitely there, esp. for the American Indians (U.S.' indigenous population).
Now, the questions that come to me now are:
1. Why would there need to be a different set of treaty if everyone is given an equal treatment?..and..
2. Say, if this treaty allows the native American Indians (America's indigenous population) to have "much more advantage" than normal Americans, then wouldn't that defeat the whole purpose of U.S.' equality-for-all belief?
So, my feeling is, there must be something in the treaty, some written clauses that aren't clear to those 4 countries Whether as to what they are referring to or what they are requiring. Again, politics is definitely a big possibility in their decision making.
Btw, speaking of human rights, here in the U.S., there is also another big struggle of human rights (but something different then what is being brought up; it has more to do with the moral value that is still part of the majority of the U.S. people). Here:
Last edited by ctjcad; 09-18-2007 at 08:30 PM.
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