If the most important part of any United Nations world conference or high level plenary meeting is the Outcome Document, then states were the beneficiaries of the document adopted at the High Level Plenary Meeting to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples WCIP held recently in New York.The conference was held for states to form an agreement on implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples UNDRIP. That the two-day conference was needed now – after the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on September 13, 2007 – speaks to the unhurried approach states have taken to advance the human rights of the world’s 379 million Indigenous Peoples.The Outcome Document OD was prepared prior to the WCIP and adopted by the UN member states without a vote on Monday, September 22. The OD reaffirms states’ commitment to support the Declaration and promises to consult and cooperate with Indigenous Peoples and obtain their free, prior and informed consent FPIC before doing anything affecting their lands and resources. The document also commits states “to empower” Indigenous Peoples, to improve access to “appropriate” education, health and economic development and to make the elimination of violence against Indigenous Peoples, especially against women, a priority.Essentially, the OD commits states to implement the human rights they committed to in adopting the Declaration seven years ago.Indigenous Peoples did not participate in writing the final OD, other than their input during the preparation process, ICTMN columnist Dina Gilio-Whitaker said. “The WCIP Outcome Document, as expected, makes no revolutionary new commitments to elevate the political status of Indigenous Peoples in the UN.”RELATED: What Did Indigenous Peoples Get Out of the World Conference?Gilio-Whittaker noted that the International Indian Treaty Council issued a statement appreciating the states’ commitment to strengthen efforts toward the repatriation of cultural and ceremonial items and human remains and acknowledged sections of the document that encourage states to incorporate UNDRIP more fully with their human rights obligations.But the Treaty Councils statement also expressed “regret that the final WCIP Outcome Document did not include a specific reference to the development of an international oversight mechanism for the observance of Treaties, Agreements and other Constructive “Arrangements” as recommended in the Alta Outcome document. The Alta Document was created as a roadmap for the WCIP by representatives of Indigenous Peoples from all of the worlds global geo-political regions at the Global Indigenous Preparatory Conference in Alta, Norway in June 2013.“Additionally, the Document was adopted with reservations by the Holy See objecting to a clause guaranteeing reproductive rights and Canada who objects to the concept of ‘free, prior, and informed consent’,” Gilio-Whitaker said. “Reservations” means that states’ governments opt out of those clauses to which it objects, and it’s possible that more governments will formally register written reservations, she said.
Jorge Barrera APTN National News. Ottawa didn’t think much of the high-profile UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples’ outcome document and quietly posted an official statement outlining its displeasure in a back corner of its website.The statement is posted under Foreign Affairs’ website for the Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations. It’s not easy to find on the website as it’s not highlighted on the front page. It can be found first by clicking through a section on “Canadian Statements” and then the section subtitled “Statements on Human Rights.” The statement also did not make it onto Canada’s UN mission’s Twitter stream.The Assembly of First Nations’ website, however, posted Canada’s statement under “Latest News.”The first ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples ran over two days and ended Tuesday.Canada rejected the conference’s outcome document because it gave Indigenous people too much power over development on their territories. In particular, Canadian diplomats rejected the conference document’s position on “free prior and informed consent,” which is one of the key aspects of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.“Free, prior and informed consent…could be interpreted as providing a veto to Aboriginal groups and in that regard, cannot be reconciled with Canadian law, as it exists,” said Canada’s official statement. “Agreeing…would commit Canada to work to integrate free, prior and informed consent in its processes with respect to implementing legislative or administrative measures affecting Aboriginal peoples. This would run counter to Canada’s constitution, and if implemented, would risk fettering Parliamentary supremacy.”
Irin News 16 September The EcologistThe World Bank is considering ‘reforms’ to its policies to protect indigenous peoples from the impacts of projects it finances that would devolve key decisions to national governments – such as whether an ethnic group is ‘indigenous’ at all. If passed by the Bank’s Board, the changes would strip away a raft of essential human rights protections..Setting the standard is something an institution as powerful and influential as the World Bank should be considering as mandatory, rather than optional.Activists are warning of a harmful regression in the World Bank’s safeguard policies, claiming that proposed changes being considered this autumn could weaken the rights of indigenous people, and others in danger of displacement and abuse as a result of Bank-funded development projects.“This [version of the safeguards] will be dangerous backsliding into their bad legacy of treatment against indigenous people if it is approved”, said Joan Carling, secretary-general of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact AIPP, a network that operates in 14 Asian countries.According to the World Bank, “the proposed Environmental and Social Framework builds on the decades-old safeguard policies and aims to consolidate them into a more modern, unified framework that is more efficient and effective to apply and implement.”
The people of Ferguson and those in solidarity with them took to the streets within a context of racial repression broader than just one horrific shooting. Between 2005 and 2012, African-Americans have been killed by white police officers at the rate of nearly twice a week. In the month preceding Brown’s slaying, police in this country killed at least four unarmed black men. And in a state like Missouri, African-American drivers are the targets of 92 percent of vehicle searches conducted by police, even though illegal items are found in less than 25 percent of these searches.
The fact that Barack Obama is the president of the United States is the most tangible daily reminder that black people are full citizens of the United States, endowed with the same inalienable rights as their fellow Americans, and capable of exerting their political will to bring forth the political and policy outcomes they prefer. President Obama is the contemporary embodiment of the astonishing possibilities of black citizenship. He can be faulted—or rather credited—with helping ignite the refusal of black citizens to be relegated to second-class status in the wake of Brown’s slaying.
esterday, Israeli defence minister and former Israeli Defence Force IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon announced that Operation Protective Edge marks the beginning of a protracted assault on Hamas. The operation “wont end in just a few days,” he said, adding that “we are preparing to expand the operation by all means standing at our disposal so as to continue striking Hamas.”This morning, he said:”We continue with strikes that draw a very heavy price from Hamas. We are destroying weapons, terror infrastructures, command and control systems, Hamas institutions, regime buildings, the houses of terrorists, and killing terrorists of various ranks of command… The campaign against Hamas will expand in the coming days, and the price the organization will pay will be very heavy.”But in 2007, a year before Operation Cast Lead, Yaalons concerns focused on the 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast, valued at $4 billion. Yaalon dismissed the notion that “Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state” as “misguided.” The problem, he said, is that:”Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israels past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel…A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority [PA] will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three… It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”Operation Cast Lead did not succeed in uprooting Hamas, but the conflict did take the lives of 1,387 Palestinians 773 of whom were civilians and 9 Israelis 3 of whom were civilians.Since the discovery of oil and gas in the Occupied Territories, resource competition has increasingly been at the heart of the conflict, motivated largely by Israels increasing domestic energy woes.Mark Turner, founder of the Research Journalism Initiative, reported that the siege of Gaza and ensuing military pressure was designed to “eliminate” Hamas as “a viable political entity in Gaza” to generate a “political climate” conducive to a gas deal. This involved rehabilitating the defeated Fatah as the dominant political player in the West Bank, and “leveraging political tensions between the two parties, arming forces loyal to Abbas and the selective resumption of financial aid.”Yaalons comments in 2007 illustrate that the Israeli cabinet is not just concerned about Hamas – but concerned that if Palestinians develop their own gas resources, the resulting economic transformation could in turn fundamentally increase Palestinian clout.Meanwhile, Israel has made successive major discoveries in recent years – such as the Leviathan field estimated to hold 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas – which could transform the country from energy importer into aspiring energy exporter with ambitions to supply Europe, Jordan and Egypt. A potential obstacle is that much of the 122 trillion cubic feet of gas and 1.6 billion barrels of oil in the Levant Basin Province lies in territorial waters where borders are hotly disputed between Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Cyprus.Amidst this regional jockeying for gas, though, Israel faces its own little-understood energy challenges. It could, for instance, take until 2020 for much of these domestic resources to be properly mobilised.But this is the tip of the iceberg. A 2012 letter by two Israeli government chief scientists – which the Israeli government chose not to disclose – warned the government that Israel still had insufficient gas resources to sustain exports despite all the stupendous discoveries. The letter, according to Haaretz, stated that Israels domestic resources were 50% less than needed to support meaningful exports, and could be depleted in decades:”We believe Israel should increase its [domestic] use of natural gas by 2020 and should not export gas. The Natural Gas Authoritys estimates are lacking. Theres a gap of 100 to 150 billion cubic meters between the demand projections that were presented to the committee and the most recent projections. The gas reserves are likely to last even less than 40 years!”As Dr Gary Luft – an advisor to the US Energy Security Council – wrote in the Journal of Energy Security, “with the depletion of Israels domestic gas supplies accelerating, and without an imminent rise in Egyptian gas imports, Israel could face a power crisis in the next few years… If Israel is to continue to pursue its natural gas plans it must diversify its supply sources.”
Last week there was a six-year-old boy wandering in the street, with either autism or post-traumatic stress disorder, and he was screaming. It sounds awful, but somebody had tied him to a tree. The International Committee of the Red Cross talked to the combatants, and it was arranged for an ambulance crew from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society to go to rescue him. But when they went to save the child the crew was attacked and the driver shot dead.Another time I was at a hospital dealing with 180 casualties who came in. A Palestinian doctor there was in tears, sobbing uncontrollably. He told me he had been called over from another hospital in the middle of the night because of an attack.One of the casualties was a girl, about 19 or 20, who had lost her baby and sister. This surgeon amputated her right leg, performed a vascular bypass graft, shortened her femur, and fixed up her abdomen. He was crying because she was his sister.There is terrible human suffering here. It needs to stop.
Yesterday, Israeli defence minister and former Israeli Defence Force IDF chief of staff Moshe Yaalon announced that Operation Protective Edge marks the beginning of a protracted assault on Hamas. The operation “wont end in just a few days,” he said, adding that “we are preparing to expand the operation by all means standing at our disposal so as to continue striking Hamas.”This morning, he said:”We continue with strikes that draw a very heavy price from Hamas. We are destroying weapons, terror infrastructures, command and control systems, Hamas institutions, regime buildings, the houses of terrorists, and killing terrorists of various ranks of command… The campaign against Hamas will expand in the coming days, and the price the organization will pay will be very heavy.”But in 2007, a year before Operation Cast Lead, Yaalons concerns focused on the 1.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas discovered in 2000 off the Gaza coast, valued at $4 billion. Yaalon dismissed the notion that “Gaza gas can be a key driver of an economically more viable Palestinian state” as “misguided.” The problem, he said, is that:”Proceeds of a Palestinian gas sale to Israel would likely not trickle down to help an impoverished Palestinian public. Rather, based on Israels past experience, the proceeds will likely serve to fund further terror attacks against Israel…A gas transaction with the Palestinian Authority [PA] will, by definition, involve Hamas. Hamas will either benefit from the royalties or it will sabotage the project and launch attacks against Fatah, the gas installations, Israel – or all three… It is clear that without an overall military operation to uproot Hamas control of Gaza, no drilling work can take place without the consent of the radical Islamic movement.”Operation Cast Lead did not succeed in uprooting Hamas, but the conflict did take the lives of 1,387 Palestinians 773 of whom were civilians and 9 Israelis 3 of whom were civilians.
“….Since I have arrived, countless civilian targets have been bombarded in broad daylight with clear sky and in free sight. Amongst them are a primary school for girls from the United Nations in Beit Hanoun where hundreds of refugees had taken shelter, in spite of the UN having sent the GPS coordinates of the school to the general commandment of the Israeli army. I cannot even recall the exact number of deaths and don’t have internet to look it up. Moreover, a park in the refugee camp Schatti has been attacked. The eight children that played in front of it are all dead now. And 17 people died during the late afternoon of the 30th of June, when a market in the North of the Gaza Strip was bombarded. A further 160 Palestinians injured, who were doing their groceries. The enumeration of the massacres on the civilian population could be continued endlessly, as since the 8th of July around 1000 civilians have been killed.I simply cannot understand the motivation of the Israeli armed forces. Why would they intentionally aim at civilian targets and bombard large gatherings of people? Precise knowledge of the targets in the cross thread should be available through the surveillance drones, which deliver high resolution imagery. Why are the pilots in their fighter jets deliberately killing women and children? Which ethical standards do these lords of the skies follow that decide over life and death?”
In a flagrant violation of international law, Israels assault on Gaza has killed hundreds of civilians and devastated civilian infrastructure.
On the 26th of July, WILPF’s section in the United States published a statement calling for,WILPF US demands that our US government immediately suspend military aid to Israel, and instead use our tax dollars for humanitarian aid to Gaza.WILPF US urges that all nations calling for a cease fire will also join the call to give assistance to the Palestinian refugees.WILPF US further demands that US military aid to Israel remain suspended pending investigation of violations of US and International Laws for crimes against Palestinian civilians with the weapons thus obtained.The world has stood by and allowed these atrocities to happen again and again. No more.Read the full statement.