Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Passed!

Added on by PS Cat02.

This is my (Kim) second post. The others are still sick but getting better. Now they are eating soup.

Yesterday the United Nations finally passed the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. All around the world so many indigenous people have been treated so badly, not just now but throughout history (colonization). So I hope this turns out to be a step in the right direction. It took the UN over 20 years to create, discuss, and pass this declaration. In the final vote yesterday almost everybody (143 nations) voted for indigenous rights, only 4 countries voted against. The four countries who voted against were the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

I guess it makes sense that four of the most 'developed' settler societies on the planet voted against the Declaration. They are just trying to keep more power for themselves by denying power to the people whose land they built their countries on. But to me it seems dishonest to talk about how it is our duty to spread freedom around the world (for example, President Bush's televised speech to the nation yesterday) and at the same time do everything we can to block freedom for indigenous people 'at home'. The main problem the U.S. has with the Declaration is that the document recognizes the right of indigenous people to have self-determination and also control over their own land and resources. So basically the Declaration makes it harder for corporations and the U.S. government to keep on exploiting Native Lands for profits. That's why the U.S. voted against it.

After we heard the news last night Bunny reminded us that the U.S. also voted against a UN treaty on biological diversity. The issue of biodiversity is closely connected to indigenous rights. The main 'problem' the U.S. government had with that treaty was that it called for a "fair and equitable" portion of the benefits resulting from the use of Native Lands by commercial enterprises to be given back to indigenous people. So apparently a fair amount is too much. Maybe the U.S. government might have signed it if the treaty had called for an unfair share of benefits, or maybe no share at all. That would have made their corporate friends very happy, and even more rich. But anyway, the U.S. refuses to sign that one.

So lonely - more info here.

Since this is a diary entry I don't mind saying my opinon. My opinion is that I would like the U.S. to choose a way to go.

1) One choice is that we can keep talking about freedom, but then we should try to make the world more free.

2) Another choice is that we can squash all people and animals with less power if it's good for rich people's profits, but then we should stop talking about spreading freedom.

Just choose one already. The way we say one thing and do another is making me angry.

Okay, I'm done. Writing is not easy. I won't be making fun of Pinky's or Bunny's writing any more.



[ Pinky: Nice report Kim! You should write more diary entries! ]


[ Kim: No thank you very much. ]


[ Bunny: The UN's passing of the new measure was front-page news at OneWorld, CommonDreams, Democracy Now!, and so on. On the other hand, I couldn't even find the story in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and most of the other major U.S. newspapers I checked. Which leads me to conclude that either 1) the U.N. is no longer relevant; 2) indigenous peoples are simply not worth thinking about; 3) the editors at these newspapers are smart enough to not bite the hands that feed them; or 4) any combination of the above. ]


[ Mimi: Our nation's priorities are upside-down. ]


[ Bunny: I think they're right-side-up for an upside-down nation. ]


[ Pinky: Bunny, I hope you don't mind, but I was just going through some of our old notes and I found this thing that you wrote before. I'm glad I saved it because now I get to post it here:

"Why are all these people calling on the mainstream media to offer 'quality programming'? To present 'balanced' news reporting? Do they not understand what dominant culture is there for? If you're waiting for your drug dealer to help you kick your addiction, good luck with that." - Bunny

I think that pretty much summarizes what we're discussing here. ]