May 26, 2009

Australia supports UN declaration

Native rights declaration challenges 'settler' nations

By Haider RizviApproved by a vast majority of the U.N. member states in September 2007, the General Assembly resolution on the declaration was rejected by the George W. Bush administration over indigenous leaders' argument that no economic or political power has the right to exploit their resources without seeking their "informed consent."

Three other "settler nations" of European descent, namely Canada, New Zealand and Australia, also voted against the declaration, which states that indigenous peoples have the right to maintain their cultures and remain on their land.

However, last month, the new left-leaning government in Canberra reversed its position, announcing support for the declaration.

"We show our respect for indigenous peoples," said Jenny Macklin, a member of the Australian parliament. "We show our faith in a new era of relations between states and indigenous peoples in good faith."
Comment:  The big question is whether the Obama administration will sign the declaration. Despite Obama's pro-Indian pledges, there's been no word on the matter.

For more on the subject, see Hope for the UN Declaration and UN Declaration Passed.

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