Canada behind the declaration
With Canada talking about recognising the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People in domestic law, how does New Zealand score. No deep thinking going on here that is for sure. It guess its one of the problems when Māori are not thinking as global citizens with our own focus and relationships to build and support. Here is a link to a really good paper from a First Nations thinker on the thinking that needs to go into this issue if New Zealand is ever brave enough to do the same.
Here are some details on the issues being discussed. Emphasis is on Human Rights protections but I think there needs to be some though on Indigenous People who have existing Treaties and how these are affected. Acknowledging a party other than the Crown as a Treaty Partner could risk erosion of our Treaty Rights.
Participating in the United Nations Workshop on Indigenous Peoples and International Investment. Two hours in and listening to some really interesting korero. There are many different ways Indigenous People are responding to the challenges that International Trade Agreements are having on their rights. I think their is an opportunity for Māori, now that the Waitangi Tribunal has ruled, to lead some work nationally and internationally to protect and promote Indigenous Rights in International Investment Agreements. Few ideas:
Ka pai. This is a thumbs up for the United Nations and in particular the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples. Within 24 hours we have received a response to our submission with an invitation to contribute to a Workshop on Indigenous Peoples and International investment in New York. This will contribute to the Special Rapporteur’s second thematic report on international investment agreements and the rights of indigenous peoples.
Here is our opportunity for the TPPA to get international scrutiny and to offer alternative views on how international trade agreements can be done in support of Indigenous Peoples Rights.
And no this isn't just an academic exercise as it could provide the impetus for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) to become more active in promoting and supporting alternative trade agreements to improve the economic and social outcomes for Indigenous People.
So here is an opportunity to have our voice heard. I am looking for support and if you would like to contribute to the conversation please either leave your comments here or email me at: email@example.com.
15th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is due to start in the next few days and we have submitted a request to the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples to ask the Forum to hold a special meeting of the 12 Indigenous Peoples affected by the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) so they may respond with a unified message to their respective Governments. Further I have proposed that they support establishing alternative trade agreements between the 12 nations that recognise Indigenous rights while supporting mutually beneficial trade .
The Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples is holding an investigation into International Investment Agreements (IIAs) and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. You can make your submission here.
Here is a copy of our submission.
MPP David Zimmer, Ontario's Minister of Aboriginal Affairs is in Aotearoa seeking to learn from New Zealand on Indigenous relations. Doing the usual meetings with Government agencies and Ministers. A bit of a shame he missed the opportunity to connect with Māori businesses in the regions, particularly those who are already in Canada. Thinking KONO and Mangatu's Integrated Foods. Maybe the next time round we will get him out to where the real work is done.
I have just asked the members of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) to raise concerns about the TPPA and to support development of alternative trade agreements by Indigenous People for Indigenous People. Let them know you support this by contacting the chair of the Committee Ms. Megan Davis, Chairperson via firstname.lastname@example.org. Below is a copy of my email to the chairperson. Please feel free to use it.
Kia ora Ms. Megan Davis,
The pending ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) as noted by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Rights, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, threatens Indigenous land rights, while Indigenous leaders from the 12 counties covered by the TPPA are strongly voicing their opposition to the agreement because it undermines their Treaty Rights.
I would like to ask that at the up coming 15th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that the Committee:
1) Place on record its opposition to the agreement.
2) Seeks to form a working committee under the forum's mandate to promote economic and social development, to support efforts of Indigenous leaders to oppose TPPA.
3) And that the Committee provide a mechanism for the development and mandating of alternative trade agreements negotiated and agreed between Indigenous Peoples internationally to counter the imposition of trade agreements such as TPPA on Indigenous People.
So when a Nobel laureate economist , Joseph E. Stiglitz, says Canada should reject TPP then maybe people need to listen. Mr Stiglitz sights the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism as particular concern as it allows companies to sue governments over any regulations that may reduce their profits. This will undermine Government's ability to properly respond to critical issues facing Canada from climate change to addressing Indigenous People's economic, social and cultural expectations. Does this sound familiar, oh yea same concerns for New Zealand and Māori Treaty rights. Come on the world is waking up to the real and dangerous downside to these type of deals but the good news it isn't to late. Yes lets trade but we can work together as Indigenous People to show an alternative trade route that actually priorities the environment and our future generations over companies that are increasingly building their own walled states, putting themselves above the communities they exploit. Take Back Trade.
So a bit more about "take back trade" logo. We have decided to license it under the Creative Commons copyright. Read about it here. So please feel free to use it as long as you honor the meaning behind it and display it as a symbol challenging unfair trade.
Like many of you out there I'm not seeing the upside of the TPPA for Indigenous People. Sure we might get to sell a bit more wood, meat and milk (unprocessed and without value add) but at the expense of Treaty Rights. We know Governments come and go and like the wind their promises tend to be more blow than substance but we can't just say no to trade because its part of a healthy and vibrant society so what do we do? Yes reject the TPPA but let's offer an alternative option, trade based on Indigenous values. Ideas like respecting the value of culture and language in building strong cohesive societies; approaches which look after our planet rather than using unsustainable practices to increase profits for a small few and commitments which secure a future for our children and the generations to come.
So here's an idea, lets get the Indigenous People covered by the TPPA together to sign our own Trade and Cooperation Treaties, get them sanctioned under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which supports economic independence of Indigenous People and provide the alternative vision for business that is done the right way. Be leaders that actually make a difference.
So today we at Indigenous Traders are committing to supporting a campaign called "Take Back Trade" (+b+). Its initial goal is to ask Indigenous leaders from the 12 counties covered by the TPPA to convene a meeting to work together to provide an alternative trade agreement that protects our indigenous rights and supports trade and development done right, based on shared values that protects our language and culture, our planet and our future generations. Very much a seed of an idea so we need your support to grow. If you are a seasoned campaigner help us make this campaign work or if you just want to help let us know. And as long as you want an alternative to TPPA promote +B+ to make it happen.