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Washington, D.C. April 15, 2008 – In a heated debate at OAS headquarters, the Caucus of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas denounced the hypocrisy and discriminatory attitude of the United States and Canada, which are trying to block consensus, blackmail and preemptively veto the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Working Group on the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is meeting this week at the Organization of American States in Washington, D.C. for the 11th Session on the Negotiations in the Quest for Points of Consensus. The mandate of the Working Group is to elaborate an American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
However, today Canada and the United States have stated their reservations on this Declaration and preemptively vetoed its outcome even though Indigenous Peoples are the poorest of the poor and their rights are systematically violated every day by States and others.
“What hypocrites! Canada and the US purport to champion human rights but they voted against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and now are trying to torpedo the drafting of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” said Hector Huertas, Co-Chair of the Caucus of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas and Kuna lawyer from Panama.
Azelene Kaingang, Representative of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, points out that “United States and Canada are blatantly discriminating against the 50 million indigenous peoples of the Americas by denying the OAS’ efforts to enshrine our rights. Furthermore, Canada and the United States need to wake up and smell the coffee: the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is an universal instrument of human rights adopted by the UN’s General Assembly and it applies to every member State of the UN whether they like it or not.“
As stated by Beverley Jacobs, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, “Every day an Indigenous person is criminalized or murdered for fighting for the rights of their peoples and every day Indigenous people suffer from lack of access to their basic human rights – self-determination, land rights, food, health, housing. Nonetheless, Canada and the US oppose making equality a reality for the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas.”
Beverley Jacobs, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada
Mobile: (613) 878-6922 e-mail: bjacobs @ nwac-hq.org (no spaces)
Hector Huertas, Co-Chair of the Caucus of the Indigenous Peoples of the Americas
e-mail: oloubili @ hotmail.com (no spaces)
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