Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

September 29, 2014

Demilitarization Censored: Pacific Islanders withdraw support for Indigenous World Conference

"What happens at the UN when indigenous peoples even attempt to speak to the issue of demilitarization? We are forced to leave the "process" with the one thing we cannot even consider bargaining away: our conscience." -- Noho Hewa

Statement by Kalamaoka’aina Niheu
Ohana Koa-NFIP
Censored News

Aloha kakou,
It is with great sadness and outrage to find at the 11th hour that Paragraph 21 regarding Demilitarization has been removed from the Outcome Document.
For this reason, Ohana Koa –Nuclear Free and Independent Pacific can no longer consent to our participation in the High Level Plenary Meeting (HLPM) also known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP).
At every stage in the process on the road to the HLPM, demilitarization has been a critical demand for the different regions throughout the world. Its removal at this stage indicates a gross disregard for one of the key issues facing our community and an indication of the lack of strength of this document.
Military violence, occupation, transport, storage, practice, and construction have been the cornerstone for the destruction of all Indigenous Peoples. For what reason have we been forced to watch as our culture, lands, and peoples are destroyed and abused for economic gain? Because political power grows out of the barrel of their guns.

Unfortunately this is far from the only key issue that has been significantly diluted in this process. If the intent were to remove the teeth in order to prove more palatable to the States, I would deem this a success.
But this is far from my only concern.
A second has been with the lack of adequate processes to ensure true Free Prior and Informed consent in the practice of how we have been moving forward. There have been several instances where it has been made clear to the participants that if they do not follow the lead of the Global Coordinating Group, that they will no longer be allowed a seat at the table. I have observed this with several members of the Pacific Caucus who have been denied position and funding based upon their role as critics in this process. Indigenous peoples are rarely able to afford joining these meetings halfway across the world without funding. Refusal of funding in this case is equivalent to silencing; a practice of selective inclusion that is the cornerstone of manufacturing consent.
One of the most disturbing recent proposals was to bring back only a few GCG approved members of the North American Indian People’s Caucus (NAIPC) after their caucus officially called for a cessation of the HLPM. A bypassing of the UN designated and recognized NAIPC leadership. I asked, would Italy allow Germany to determine their representative? No. Yet we would have the other Caucuses determine the representation of NAIPC? It is an incredibly dangerous precedent and indicates the lack of checks and balances to this process.
Third is a clear disconnect with the key issues facing Indigenous Peoples and their implementation. Case in point is the Climate Change March, occurring concurrently with the HLMPM. It is a landmark demonstration on Climate Change involving thousands in New York. Instead of encouraging leadership roles, the GCG refused to allow the Indigenous representatives to the HLP to participate or allow for accomodations of the schedule to honor this critical issue threatening the survival of the entire world; an issue for which we are only beginning to feel the full effects; an issue which we, as the first peoples of the land, already have many solutions.
The list of reasons is far from complete and the concerns shared by many hundreds of other Peoples who have previously withdrawn their consent to this process.
As always I will stand in Solidarity with my brothers and sisters. Many of you whom I have met are doing truly inspiring work and are struggling nobly in your own lands to find justice. However, I can no longer in good conscience participate in a process that does not act upon the principles it espouses. We withdraw our consent from this process and will no longer attend.
Malama pono,
Kalamaoka’aina Niheu
Ohana Koa-NFIP

Listen to Radio Australia: Are Indigenous issues being sold out at the UN?

Kalamaoka’aina Niheu position, interactive discussion #2, WCIP

By arnie
Interactive discussion #2
Presented by Kalamaoka’aina Niheu
Hawaii, Pacific Caucus
Aloha aina. Kalamaoka’aina Kil Soon Niheu o Ka Pae ‘Aina o Hawaii Nei. Pali Ku o na Ko’olau. Kapapa, moku o Hina.
Indigenous peoples’ lands, territories, resources, ocean, and water
The Pacific Caucus supports the statements provided by various Caucuses here at the Informal Interactive Dialogue. In particular, that not enough progress has been made since the adoption of the UNDRIP. Our priorities from the Alta Outcome Document (AOD) and UNDRIP are as follows.
1. “Recommend that states implement a human rights and ecosystem-based approach to climate change while also recognizing Indigenous peoples’ world views and positive contributions to combatting climate change.” AODS Theme 1 Para 7
Rationale: International initiatives and state policies on climate change can negatively impact on the rights of Indigenous Peoples in profound ways. Examples include the low lying islands and atolls such as Kiribas, Tokelau, and the Marshall Islands where climate change is causing sea levels to rise. The “hungry tide” this has caused threatens to overwhelm many of our homes and many are faced with imminent displacement. Deliberate and meaningful inclusion of Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives with Free, Prior, and Informed Consent will help ensure that more definitive solutions will be reached in regards to climate change.
2. “Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”Article 3 UNDRIP
Rationale: Proposed mechanisms need to include protection from exploitation via transnational corporations. International transnational corporations are making agreements that bridge nations and territories. In our region the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement could have devastating, long range affects, as noted by the current suit arising from one district in Hawaii who created legislation that would place restrictions on GMO’s. The companies are now suing that district. The TPPA could provide a framework for future suits against both Nations and IP’s. (The link is included below and the article is attached for those who are interested in learning more)
3. “Recommend States cease current, and refrain from any further, militarization and initiate processes to demilitarize the lands, territories, waters and oceans of Indigenous Peoples. This can be achieved inter alia through the repeal and/or discontinuance of “anti terrorist”, national security, immigration, border control and other special laws, regulations, operations and executive orders that violate the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Special measures should be taken to ensure the protection of Indigenous Elders, women, youth, children and persons with disabilities, particularly in the context of armed conflicts.” Theme 3 AODs Para 7
Rationale: Military zones and areas result in long-term sequelae which disproportionately affects the first peoples of the land. In our region this includes but is not limited to Hawaii, Guam, West Papua, Maluku, French Polynesia, and the Marshall Islands. There is still a great deal of damage and contamination from past activities. Kaho’olawe has significant unexploded ordnance from live fire training and irradiation may affect Bikini Atoll, Marshalls, Mo’oroa, French Polynesia, Kalama Atoll, and Hawaii in perpetuity. Current activities include the training of the Indonesian army at Pohakuloa, Hawaii for deployment in West Papua and Maluku. It is with particular pain that we as Kanaka Maoli have our lands be utilized in the oppression of our cousins throughout the Pacific.
Environmental degradation from military activities has resulted in the inability to harvest and cultivate the foods that nourish our communities. One clear example is Pearl Harbor which used to be an enormous, traditional aquaculture site but now is too toxic to eat anything in its waters.
Globally, armed conflict has resulted in displacement and fear of cultural genocide. Of particular note are the effects on women and children in the cases of violence, human trafficking and sex trade. The stated justification for militarisation in many of these situations is to combat terrorism but the repression of Indigenous Peoples is the main outcome.
Mahalo a me Malama pono

No comments: