August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wikileaks: US feared Indigenous self-rule and land claims with UN Declaration

The United States feared, and fought, passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com/
Photo by Michelle Cook, Navajo/Cochabamba, Bolivia, Climate Conference 2010.
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Wikileaks has exposed a US diplomatic cable revealing why the United States feared, and fought, the passage and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The US reveals in this cable that its fears Indigenous Peoples will use the UN Declaration to expand self-government, sovereign rule, and initiate new land claims to ancestral lands. Further, the US is alarmed over the potential for Indigenous Peoples gaining control of renewable and non-renewable resources.

The US is alarmed over the right for Indigenous to be consulted on any law pertaining to them. This is now known as the "right to free, prior and informed consent," as stated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The cable is from the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, dated Jan. 28, 2008.

"Although most indigenous leaders seem to view the UN Declaration as a 'feel good' document that will give them more inclusion in the public sector, some leaders are citing the Declaration in support of concrete aims like self-governance and control over land and resources," states the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia.

"Post will watch for further developments, particularly with regards to property rights and potential sovereignty or self-rule issues."

In previous US diplomatic cables exposed by Wikileaks, prior to its passage, the United States threatened Iceland about its relations with the US, if Iceland supported the UN Declaration. Further, other cables revealed that the US undertook an education campaign in an attempt to dissuade Ecuador from voting in favor of the UN Declaration.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly on Sept. 13, 2007. The United States, the last country in the world to signal support, gave provisional support in 2010. The US was preceded by Canada, which gave provisional support.

Wikileaks released the following US diplomatic cable on Sept. 1, 2011. The US Ambassador called it "Bolivia: Repercussions of UN DRIP."

The cable is written by then US Ambassador Phillip Goldberg, President Bush's choice, who arrived from Kosovo with questions rising about his role in ethnic cleansing. Goldberg's role in Bolivia was short-lived. President Evo Morales expelled Goldberg in September of 2008, eight months after Goldberg wrote this cable. President Morales accused Goldberg of spying and attempting to divide the country and his administration. The US denied the allegations.

Goldberg is now US Asst. Secretary of State for Research and Intelligence.
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Reference id aka Wikileaks id #138916  ? 
Subject
Bolivia: Repercussions Of Un Drip
Origin
Embassy La Paz (Bolivia)
Cable time
Mon, 28 Jan 2008 13:29 UTC
Classification
CONFIDENTIAL
Source
http://wikileaks.org/cable/2008/01/08LAPAZ186.html
History
First published on Thu, 1 Sep 2011 23:24 UTC
Media

Comments
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VZCZCXRO2896 PP RUEHCD RUEHGD RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHNG RUEHTM DE RUEHLP #0186 0281329 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 281329Z JAN 08 FM AMEMBASSY LA PAZ TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6314 INFO RUEHZI/WHA POSTS COLLECTIVE
Hide headerC O N F I D E N T I A L LA PAZ 000186 SIPDIS SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/24/2018 TAGS: PGOV [Internal Governmental Affairs], PREL [External Political Relations], PHUM [Human Rights], BL [Bolivia], OAS [Organization of American States] SUBJECT: BOLIVIA: REPERCUSSIONS OF UN DRIP REF: A. LA PAZ 185 B. SECSTATE 4241 C. 07 LA PAZ 3187 Classified By: EcoPol Counselor Mike Hammer, reasons 1.4 b,d ¶1.

(C) On November 7 President Evo Morales signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into law. The new law contradicts existing land laws, and therefore will be subject to judicial interpretation when it begins to be cited in legal cases. Post has not found any evidence that the new law has been yet cited in legal cases, and it probably will not appear in lawsuits for at least six months. ¶2.
(C) However, the ruling Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party's draft constitution includes a section on indigenous rights that closely mirrors the UN Declaration text, granting indigenous Bolivians rights to land and renewable resources on that land, rights to a share in the benefits of non-renewable resources, rights to be consulted on any law that "might affect them", rights to self-governance, rights to participation in all levels of government, and prioritized rights to state benefits. If the draft constitution passes, it would take precedent over other Bolivian laws and could therefore carry more weight in judicial interpretation when it contradicts existing land laws. ¶3.
(C) With the new law untested and the draft constitution not yet passed, indigenous leaders are invoking the UN Declaration itself in support of their causes. Domestically, indigenous leaders are beginning to use the UN Declaration as a rallying cry or as justification for actions such as takeovers of small properties (ref B). Although most indigenous leaders seem to view the UN Declaration as a 'feel good' document that will give them more inclusion in the public sector, some leaders are citing the Declaration in support of concrete aims like self-governance and control over land and resources. ¶4. (C) Post will watch for further developments, particularly with regards to property rights and potential sovereignty or self-rule issues. Highlights of Post's programs that focus on indigenous Bolivians are described in ref A. Post contact for indigenous issues is Beth Mader, madere@state.gov.
GOLDBERG

Imprisonment of Leonard Peltier in new UN Human Rights Council report


By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com

A new report to the UN Human Rights Council from Special Rapporteur James Anaya states that imprisoned Indian activist Leonard Peltier is in poor health and placed in substandard conditions in the maximum security prison in Lewisburg, Penn.

The United Nations human rights report focuses on abuses of indigenous peoples around the world, including the threats to the safety of individuals and dangers to the land and environment of indigenous peoples.

Anaya's report states that Peltier, an indigenous activist serving life sentence, suffers from severe health problems.

"According to the information received, Mr. Leonard Peltier, aged 66, an indigenous Anishinabe/Lakota activist, had been serving two life sentences in a United States federal prison, after being convicted in 1977 for the murder of two FBI agents. Over the years, Mr. Peltier has maintained his innocence, asserting that he was politically persecuted for his activities as a member of the American Indian Movement. Mr. Peltier reportedly suffers from severe health problems that require urgent and immediate medical treatment. In addition to his health situation, Mr. Peltier reportedly lives in substandard conditions at the maximum security prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The Lewisburg prison is allegedly known for violence among inmates," according to the statement dated July 2, 2011.

In the US, the report includes the plan to violate sacred San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona, with snow made from wastewater. The report also includes the case of the need to protect sacred Sogorea Te (Glen Cove in Calif.)

The international cases of human rights abuses in Anaya's August report include the Wixarika (Huicholes) in Mexico struggling to protect their sacred lands from mining, along with cases from indigenous peoples in Guatemala, Chile, Israel, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, Malaysia and Thailand.

The UN Human Rights Council report was issued as protests increased against the tar sands in the US and Canada, with 1, 252 arrests at the White House during the past two weeks."

According to the information received, the TransCanada Corporation has obtained permission from the Alberta Utilities Commission to build the pipeline, in the absence of the Lubicon Lake Nation’s consent or recognition of the Nation’s asserted rights of the area. This has also been carried out in the absence of adequate consideration to the Lubicon’s concerns over the health, safety and environmental impacts of the project. In addition, the Special Rapporteur expressed concern over allegations about the broader issues of the land rights and social and economic conditions of the Lubicon people," Anaya said.