After thirty years of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland and its final adoption by the UN General Assembly in 2007 one might think that the world’s more tha 1.7 billion indigenous peoples (yes, that’s right. The UN figure of something like 370 million is a gross undercounting) in more than 6,000 nations would now realize freedom and restoration. If anything exploitation of indigenous peoples is greater now than it was thirty years ago.
Oil companies aided and abetted by state’s governments are pushing deeper into indigenous territories to extract oil, gas, natural medicines, precious wood, minerals, and precious metals used in digital electronic devices, as well as other precious metals such as gold, copper, molybdenum, cobalt and silver. In virtually every country signing on to the UN Declaration the natural resource exploitation is accelerating. It seems the Declaration has a long ways to go toward implementation.
Human exploitation is growing as well with sex trafficking, drug trafficking, violence against women and children, the use of children to make up criminal armies led by often insane mock generals, forced refugee status and relocation programs. Indigenous peoples the world over bear the brunt of these state-originated horrors that ravage indigenous communities.
Development forced on to indigenous peoples the world is also taking its toll resulting in significant population displacements.
The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples takes cognizance of these and other frightening horrors, but virtually none of the signtory states does more than institute plans and policies that economically and politically benefit the state at the expense of indigenous populations.
Indigenous governments, both constitutional and customary, are overwhelmed by the power of states, corporations and organized crime–all of which extract wealth (human, natural, commercial and cultural) from indigenous peoples.What is returned for such benefits? More exploitation often with the benefit of some indigenous peoples themselves doing the exploiting.
This is not merely a human rights crisis. It is a crisis of humanity … a crime against humanity.