September 07, 2007

Conservatives reverse on rights

UN set to adopt native rights declaration, no thanks to Canada:  criticsCritics ranging from the national Assembly of First Nations to Amnesty International say Ottawa has never fully explained its related concerns.

They stress that the declaration is a non-binding document that is specifically required to be interpreted in balance with other laws, standards and the rights of non-native citizens.

"Their argument that it undermines treaties and agreements ... is just not correct," says Malezer. "I think they're making it up. It's not a legal opinion."

The Canadian government not only supported but was a leader of the process toward drafting the declaration before the Liberals were defeated in January 2006, Malezer said from New York. The Liberals pushed for clarifications--especially on land and resource issues--but were clear proponents, he added.

Ottawa's position under the Conservatives changed so drastically that by June 2006, only Canada and Russia voted against the declaration at the UN Human Rights Council.

"Clearly it was a political flip," says Malezer. "And that's just bad behaviour. It's not good faith. It's not about human rights."


Anonymous said...

I do not think we need any extra rights beyond human rights. Any extras for some race, nationality or religion smells racism. I know there are many reasons for native people to claim some extra rights, but there is no good enough reason for such things as racism and segregation.

Think of that this way: do you think black citizens of France should have the same rights as French people? Actually they do. Do you support any special native French rights legislation?

I do not see any good way to fix it now (except native people give up their rights ), but at least lets not make the situation worse signing some documents protecting the segregation.

Rob said...

Your comment is based on a common misconception. Indigenous people aren't demanding rights based on their race. They're demanding rights based on their existence as political entities before they were conquered.

The right to be secure in one's nation without being conquered is indeed a human right. If Westerners have violated that right, they need to make up for it. That's all indigenous people are asking.

See Indian Rights = Special Rights for more on the subject.