Mohawk Workers Invited to U.N. to Raise Apartheid & Genocide Allegations at Historic Meeting in New York with James Anaya, UN Special Rapportur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

2013 may 15 - teka news - Mohawk Workers invited to UN

April 29, Letter to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
James Anaya, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Greetings,

We wish to pre-register the Mohawk Workers of the Ouse / Grand River for possible participation and consultations with James Anaya at this event in New York next month.  We also hope you are able to visit our Grand River Territory in order to meet with Ohrerekó:wa, Principle Chief – Ka-nyen-geh-ha-ka (Mohawk) Wolf Clan, and others from our community when you are in Canada in order to better understand our situation.

Our mission is to seek redress for years of oppression including apartheid and genocide and the restoration of a Ka-nyen-geh-ha-kah homeland within our Haldimand Territory.

We expect to engage all relevant parties in the hopes of commencing resolution discussions in advance of the Special Rapporteur’s visit to Canada which we understand is finally set to occur within the coming months.  At this time we expect to further raise concerns of gross violations of the U.N. Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, apartheid and genocide, and follow up on our preliminary submission made in 2012.

The crime of apartheid is defined by the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity “committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”

On 30 November 1973, the United Nations General Assembly opened for signature and ratification the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid. It defined the crime of apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”

2013 may 15 - teka news - First Nations welcome scrutiny of United Nations

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About Rotinonshonni ónhwe - Tkanatáhere

We belong to families organized pursuant to ancient ways. Ka-nyen-geh-ha-kah (Mohawks) of Grand River support site. "Very simply, frauds and deceit have usurped this war reparation and robbed our people of what is rightfully ours, leaving us with only a Land Claim. Broken deals, fraud, embezzlement and genocide – and worse – all perpetrated at the unclean hands of too many to count at this time. We are (Mohawks) Ka-nyen-geh-ha-kah of Grand River, founders of the Five Nation League and what some call the "Great Peace".

3 responses to “Mohawk Workers Invited to U.N. to Raise Apartheid & Genocide Allegations at Historic Meeting in New York with James Anaya, UN Special Rapportur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”

  1. Claudett says :

    The Truth always wins open the heart to change and we all will benifit the Native people are very giving and most importantly very forgiving too!!

  2. Sinkalip says :

    The Declaration of Human Rights and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people are NOT legally binding documents. You want to reference the Rome Statute, the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, and the UN Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide at an international level and the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act (CANADA) at the domestic level. Her Majesty in Right of Canada holds legally binding obligations to all of these legal documents. The law says that everyone is entitled to self-determine your political status meaning that Canada can not force anyone to operate as a legal person, as a Indian Act Indian (Aboriginal), as a citizen, a loyal servant of Her Majesty, etc., without the consent of YOU the free-human-being. If they continue to deprive you of your right to self-determination they are forcing you into Her Majesty’s servitude which is considered slavery and is unlawful. Aboriginal is a legal word that limits your intrinsic and inherent rights as a free-human-being. Technically free-human-beings cannot even present themselves in Court, they can only REPRESENT themselves as a legal PERSON, thats why the courts always want you to get a lawyer to RE-PRESENT you. Remember a legal PERSON includes a Corporation who for legal purposes functions like a human bieng but isn’t in reality a human being. The doublespeak in English society exists in the legal world, in the courts, it is important to comprehend the legal definitions of english words because in the Legal World they operate on entirely different definitions than in the everyday english language. For more information on some good introductory videos of the basic rights of human-beings and how to defend them, see the website…http://eternallyaware.com
    or add a comment and we can help assist in whatever way we can.

    • Mohawk Workers - Kanata says :

      Thanks for that, and for clarifying the point with good examples of what, must and is currently being done.

      Although the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous people are NOT legally binding documents, per se, Canada’s endorsement of the minimum standards by which parties must conduct themselves including principles to which Canada has also agreed sets the stage for further examination.

      As you point out, binding customary law as it pertains to Human Rights is complex – Canada’s reluctant, albeit noteworthy, endorsement of the UNDRIP set the stage for binding effects to be recognized.

      Also, see: IlO convention 169

      ILO Convention 169 is a legally binding international instrument dealing specifically with the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples. To date, it has
      been ratified by 20 countries. The Convention specifies that governments have the responsibility for coordinating and organizing action to protect the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples and ensure that the right mechanisms and resources are available. The content of ILO Convention 169 corresponds to that of the UNDRIP.

      See also: The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Towards Re-empowerment http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2007/10/un-declaration-on-rights-of-indigenous.php October 03, 2007

      “For one, a formal analysis of the Declaration dictates that it does not have legally binding effect per se. That is true for any, non-budget related resolution of the General Assembly. Yet, the name “Declaration” appears to give it a more solemn ring, takes it closer to most important policy statements of the organized world community – into the vicinity of instruments such as the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. While these documents are clearly not binding as treaties, individual component prescriptions of them might have become binding if they can be categorized as reflective or generative of customary international law.

      States voting against this document, including the U.S., have rejected “any possibility that this document is or can become customary international law.” They stated that it does not constitute “evidence of customary international law,” as lacking support in state practice, and that it cannot provide “a proper basis for legal actions, complaints, or other claims in any international, domestic, or other proceedings.”

      This statement is true as it pertains to the non-binding nature of the Declaration itself. As far as it proclaims the absence of state practice in support of the content of the Declaration, the individual rights pronounced, it needs to be independently assessed — just like any other claim to the customary international law character vel non of any new rule. In the case of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the negative vote by four governments, even though they have a significant number of indigenous peoples living in their midst, does not necessarily invalidate the claims to the customary international law character of individual key parts of the instrument or of principles embedded in it. This distinct body of customary international law concerning indigenous peoples, not necessarily coextensive with the full reach of the present Declaration, had formed long before this vote occurred. The starting-point for any such analysis is the ICJ’s definition of the requirements needed to establish new customary international law, as stated in the North Sea Continental Shelf Case, i.e. there needs to be a very widespread and representative state practice in support of the purported new rule, including the specially affected states, as well as a feeling to be obligated (opinio juris).

      In analyzing the individual parts of the Declaration, we see that all new rules of customary international law, as found in our respective surveys of state and international practice of 1999, 2001, and 2004, still remain part of the global consensus. As stated in 1999, “indigenous peoples are entitled to maintain and develop their distinct cultural identity, their spirituality, their language, and their traditional ways of life.” Most of the provisions of the Declaration go to the preservation of culture, language, religion, and identity; and state practice in the states with indigenous peoples largely conforms to these legal tenets. Due to the strength of the indigenous renascence throughout the world, the original goal of assimilation of indigenous cultures into the maelstrom of the modern world has largely been abandoned in favor of preservation and reinvigoration of indigenous cultures, languages and religions. The legal guarantees of these claims are, however, not the real bones of contention.

      One of the issues in contention remains the definition and extent of the right to self-determination. Due to the insistence of the African governments, this right was expressly conditioned by the principles favoring the territorial integrity and political unity of states, principles that are not absolute and that already conditioned the right of self-determination under international law. Now, very few, if any, indigenous peoples actually had asked for anything approaching a threat to the territorial integrity or political unity of existing states. The goal of “indigenous sovereignty,” in particular, was mostly defined in the sense of cultural and spiritual reaffirmation much more than in the Western sense of independent political power. Looking at state practice, very widespread agreement persists, as stated in 1999, that indigenous peoples “hold the right to political, economic and social self-determination, including a wide range of autonomy and the maintenance and strengthening of their own system of justice.” Even the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, in the explanation of its negative vote, pointed out that the “U.S. government recognizes Indian tribes as political entities with inherent powers of self-government as first peoples. In our legal system, the federal government has a government-to-government relationship with Indian tribes. In this domestic context, this means promoting tribal self-government over a broad range of internal and local affairs, including determination of membership, culture, language, religion, education, information, social welfare, maintenance of community safety, family relations, Economic [sic] activities, land and resources management, environment and entry by non-members, as well as ways and means for financing these autonomous functions.” This means at least the recognition of indigenous peoples’ control over their people within their lands. Canada, now an opponent, but under its previous government a longtime and fervent proponent of the Declaration, has guaranteed widespread autonomy via the concept of aboriginal and treaty rights in its 1982 Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, in exchange for the Crown’s sovereignty over New Zealand, the Maori retained what they called rangatiratanga, i.e. their chiefs’ authority, which included their power to own, use and manage Maori lands and other resources according to Maori ways. Colombia, a state abstaining from the Declaration, has accorded indigenous peoples in their various resguardos far-reaching rights of internal autonomy. Its 1991 Constitution guarantees respect for their institutions of self-government, including indigenous courts applying traditional customary standards.

      The same is true for our finding according to which indigenous peoples have a right under customary international law to “demarcation, ownership, development, control and use of the lands they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used.” This customary norm, found partly as the result of our global surveys of state practice, was cited by the Inter-American Commission in its referral of the Awas Tingni community’s complaint against Nicaragua to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The norm underlies the Inter-American Court’s interpretation of the right to property under Article 21 of the American Convention on Human Rights in its landmark decision in the Awas Tingni Case of August 31, 2001. Once a rule has attained the status of customary international law, it can only be abrogated by a new norm of customary law. This year, the African states dropped their initial lack of comfort with the land rights provisions of the Declaration.

      The domestic practice of the four states opposing the Declaration likewise is not opposed to the principle of recognizing indigenous peoples’ right to lands. Australia’s courts had invigorated the international indigenous peoples’ movement with their decisions in Mabo and Wik, which preceded the Native Title Act and land settlements with Aboriginal peoples. The Canadian government had proceeded with land settlement claims and treaties; and the U.S., in its Observations on the Declaration, only objected to what it perceived to be the “overly broad and inconsistent” language of the provisions on land and resources. It maintained that the “intent of the States in the Working Group was to encourage the establishment of mechanisms at the national level for the full legal recognition and protection of the lands, territories and resources indigenous peoples possess by reason of traditional ownership, occupation, or use, as well [as] those which they have otherwise acquired. Furthermore, it was intended that such recognition should take into account the customs, traditions, and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.” Thus, any potential disagreement with the Declaration is a matter of a possibly limiting interpretation, not a denial of the right itself.

      Furthermore, no state opposed the provision of the Declaration that mandates the observance of treaties between States and indigenous peoples. That is in line with our finding according to which “governments are to honor and faithfully observe their treaty commitments to indigenous nations.”

      The U.S. has also stated that the declaration’s “failure to define the phrase “indigenous peoples” is “debilitating to the effective application and implementation of the declaration.” “This obvious shortcoming will subject application of the declaration to endless debate, especially if entities not properly entitled to such status seek to enjoy the special benefits and rights contained in the declaration.” One of us had made this argument years ago and suggested an appropriate definition, while the other favors the flexibility retained in the Declaration as passed. The most interesting aspect of the U.S. argument is, however, the at least implicit recognition that indigenous peoples do have a “status,” that they enjoy “special benefits and rights contained in the declaration.” Somehow, that does not sit well with the other U.S. argument that it be solely an “aspirational declaration with political and moral, rather than legal, force.” The language of “rights” and “status” is the language of law. By participating in this process and the concern shown over the years for special rights and status of indigenous peoples on the international plane, the four opposing states have demonstrated an opinio juris, a willingness to be bound if the provisions as finally formulated were in line with their detailed policy preferences.

      In any event, only a jus cogens norm requires virtual unanimity of all members of the world community. The internal practice of the four opposing states, as well as their consent to accord a special status and rights to indigenous peoples in principle, makes them part of the world consensus on customary international law as formulated above. At most, they can be considered persistent objectors to certain contents of the Declaration. This status appears to be very much in doubt, however, at least for Canada, as it counted itself through many years amongst the staunchest supporters of the Declaration and indigenous peoples’ rights – until its government changed in February 2006.”

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