UK plays spoilsport

Published: Wednesday 15 December 2004

The uk government is facing flak from indigenous people across the globe for blocking a historic un declaration on indigenous rights, the strongest of its kind so far. The un Decade of Indigenous Peoples ends this year; a draft declaration has been framed after extensive consultations. But the uk has objected to the concept of collective human rights in the declaration.

Recognition of collective rights is crucial to indigenous peoples, particularly with regard to communal ownership of land. If these are not recognised, they will suffer serious harms, especially at the hands of the corporate sector eyeing the mineral and other resources in their lands. "The uk position that our collective rights are not human rights is nonsense. Is this Tony Blair's idea of spreading 'freedom, democracy, rule of law, and justice for the oppressed'? Such a stand will not be tolerated by indigenous peoples," says Dalee Sambo Dorough, a representative of the Inuit people, who live near the Arctic. Groups of indigenous people would take a delegation to the uk on November 24-25, 2004, to express their protest.

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