UK HUMAN RIGHTS POLICIES 'ABHORRENT AND
11 March 2005
Indigenous peoples are marking Commonwealth Day on 14 March by attacking
the UK government for blocking the recognition of their rights at the
UN. 'The UK's human rights policies concerning indigenous peoples are
abhorrent and shameful,' says Inuit spokeswoman Dalee Sambo Dorough.
December 2004 saw the end of an international decade for indigenous
peoples, but no progress on the main aim of the decade - a UN Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. This Declaration would
be the most important advance for tribal people for fifty years, but
some governments - mainly the UK, France and the US - are stalling the
process, with potentially dangerous results.
These governments' main objection is to the mention of the collective
rights of indigenous peoples in the Declaration. This marks a reversal
of hundreds of years of British policy, which recognised treaties made
between the British Crown and the tribes of what are now Commonwealth
countries as between one nation and another.
Grand Chief Ted Moses of the Cree people of Canada notes, 'The Blair
government continues to deny us our collective human rights - it is the
height of arrogance for the UK government to insist that indigenous
peoples should best embrace an individual rights approach.'
The UK government is demanding that indigenous peoples should only have
individual rights, but this would mean that their land could easily be
split up and sold off.
Survival International launches a new letter-writing campaign today
targeting Tony Blair over his government's blocking of the UN
declaration. For details, visit
SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELEASE