Posts Tagged ‘Ausschuss fuer Menschenrechte’

TODAY: The ILO Convention No. 169 debate at the German Bundestag – since 24 years Rights of Indigenous Peoples still not recognized by the Germans

Thursday, February 28th, 2013
Himba women from Omuhonga, Namibia (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Himba women from Omuhonga, Namibia (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

By Rebecca Sommer

The year 2013 marks the 24th anniversary of the final adoption of the historic United Nations ILO convention No. 169 (Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (No. 169)). Together with the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other human rights instruments, the Convention is key for the promotion and protection of the rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples.

As a Convention it entails the international set of laws for Indigenous Peoples that are “binding” for those countries that ratified it. Since adoption, the ILO Convention No. 169 has been crucial in changing, correcting and shaping national policies, programs and laws regarding the rights of Indigenous and Tribal Peoples worldwide, particularly in ratifying countries.

Yanomami from Papiuu Novo (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Yanomami from Papiuu Novo (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

And that is the very reason why most governments refuse to ratify it.

German parties that argue today against the ratification of the ILO 169 should be ashamed of themselves.

Big business oriented Parties such as the CDU and FDP argument for example, that there are no Indigenous Peoples in Germany (they can be lucky that the Friesen People don’t claim indigenous status) and lie about the very reason why they do not want to do right by giving rights to the Indigenous Peoples of the world.

In order to protect German companies, governmental and financial institutions’ economical interests that want the very resources from Indigenous Peoples lands and territories, certain German parties don’t want to do the right thing and sign the ILO 169. They want to get a freebee. With no strings (rights) attached.

In support of the ILO Convention ratification, members of the SPD and the Green party applied for the discussion on the previous denial of Germany to ratify the Convention, but the discussion moved back on the agenda item to about 1am – tomorrow morning. In other words, there won’t be a discussion at all. You see, for them it is that easy.

 Diné Bikéyah Grandma Ana (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Diné Bikéyah Grandma Ana (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

They forgot that we depend on the Indigenous Peoples as Indigenous Peoples  depend on our “leaders” to sign laws that do right, such as the ILO Convention.

We are all connected. Indigenous Peoples are caretakers of the last few spots of intact environments in the world. And they would be able to continue doing so, if states such as Germany would support them. And that benefits ultimately humanity.

Indigenous Peoples maintained their traditional knowledge from time immemorial, and they continue to forward it to the next generations. You and I can survive many diseases because of what they have taught pharmaceutical researchers. Indigenous Peoples are the keepers of an enormous variety of traditional knowledge that is ancient, molded and shaped through centuries.

24 years have passed, since the ILO Convention 169 was adopted. Indigenous Peoples are growingly pushed against the wall and are in despair, marginalized, often killed in the ever increasing vicious globalized capitalist economical war for land, the last bit’s of first growth forests, any resources, the water, now even the air (through programs such as REDD, carbon credits for trees on Indigenous land that “in theory-but not really” would absorb the CO2 emissions, including those – so the plan – from Germany).  It is truly alarming how slick and sinister German elected representatives of the German people kick human rights into the mud.

Across the world, Indigenous /Tribal Peoples’ lands are being stolen and their communities and way of life destroyed. ILO Convention 169 is the only international law designed to protect their collective rights as a people.

You can help.

If you are German, please take a moment and send to your governmental representatives a clear message (you find all contacts on the internet- write them), speak about it at your schools, universities, at work, collect signatures, – do something. Your taxes fund many projects that affect and even murder vulnerable Indigenous Tribal Peoples.

And…next time you vote, think carefully where you put your cross.