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Sunday, April 25, 2010

What’s so scary about self determination for indigenous peoples?

Perhaps there is a good reason for a declaration on indigenous rights if indigenous peoples are not getting human rights as per other similar human rights instruments. Perhaps an indigenous emphasis is needed.

The International Bill of Rights comprises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as civil and political rights (freedom and democracy) and economic, social and cultural rights (social justice).

New Zealand ratified both the international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights( ICCPR) and the international Covenant on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights. With the UDHR, ratifed in 1948, together these three documents are known as the International Bill of Rights.

Article 1 of both covenants state:
All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
Now I didn’t hear any complaints when we ratified these covenants. But people are complaining about this, describing it as separatism.
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.
The above is from article 3 of the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). It’s a declaration, not a covenant, but because it has that nasty word “indigenous” in it, rednecks like Michael Laws assume it will further a separatist agenda for Māori because they can “freely determine their political status”. This is despite the article being pretty much word for word as the International Bill of Rights which people had no initial problem with - which also states that states shall promote the realisation of the right of self-determination, and shall respect that right.. subject to its jurisdiction.

Laws in mentioning the ICCPR, must have conveniently glossed over Article 26, which notes that “All persons are equal before the law”. The ACT party should also like this. It’s a pity they don’t mention this clause much - it's party policy. It would also be nice if Laws and Rodney Hide acknowledged Article 46 of UNDRIP, which states that nothing in the declaration may be interpreted as authorizing or encouraging any action which would dismember or impair the political unity of sovereign and independent States.

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May 17, 2010 at 3:15 AM  

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