Wednesday, 25 March 2009

UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples

It seems Australia is about to sign off on the UN declaration on indigenous rights (pdf).

Only four nations went against the declaration originally. Australia, Canada, New Zealand and The States. Anyone know why they did?. I read in an article about how it was thought it would put custom law above the laws of a nation.

Anyone explain this to me?.


  1. Yep becuase at the time it was felt that the tribal laws and customs would not punish a miscreant to a sufficient degree, although i'd be most of our nyongar blokes would prefer a spell in prison compared to ritual spearing.

    Also you'd proably fuind a strain of victorian fabianism in there that would mean the checks and balances of common law etc would be superceded by a more 'primative' system.

  2. I know bugger all about it Moko but I do recall some talk here about the generalised language used in the declaration and the potential effect on matters already settled by our treaty. If I remember rightly that was Canada's issue also but I don't recall what Australia's stance was. Sorry not more help.

  3. If you look at the list of the nations they seem to be the ones who treated the aboriginal peoples in the worst fashion. Also, the land claims issues in Canada would probably be affected by the declaration.

  4. Canada would have a problem with Article 26:

    "Article 26
    1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources
    which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired.
    2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the
    lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership
    or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise
    3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands,
    territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to
    the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples

  5. Yeah, its basically that British Law upon which these four countries based their laws was seen as superior to traditional law and didn't want it out trumped. Oh yeah, there's all the stuff about land and resources ownership as well.

  6. I've read all these and thanks for replying. I'm real busy today and tomorrow with a recruiting thingo for the cops. I'll get back to it tomorrow arvo.


Please leave your name/handle with your comment. It's important to stand next to our thoughts.