Wikileaks: US Feared Indigenous Self-Rule and Land Claims with UN Declaration

By Brenda Norrell

Wikileaks has exposed a US diplomatic cable revealing why the United States feared, and fought, the passage and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The US reveals in this cable that its fears Indigenous Peoples will use the UN Declaration to expand self-government, sovereign rule, and initiate new land claims to ancestral lands. Further, the US is alarmed over the potential for Indigenous Peoples gaining control of renewable and non-renewable resources.

The US is alarmed over the right for Indigenous to be consulted on any law pertaining to them. This is now known as the “right to free, prior and informed consent,” as stated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The cable is from the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, dated Jan. 28, 2008.

“Although most indigenous leaders seem to view the UN Declaration as a ‘feel good’ document that will give them more inclusion in the public sector, some leaders are citing the Declaration in support of concrete aims like self-governance and control over land and resources,” states the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia.

“Post will watch for further developments, particularly with regards to property rights and potential sovereignty or self-rule issues.”

In previous US diplomatic cables exposed by Wikileaks, prior to its passage, the United States threatened Iceland about its relations with the US, if Iceland supported the UN Declaration. Further, other cables revealed that the US undertook an education campaign in an attempt to dissuade Ecuador from voting in favor of the UN Declaration.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly on Sept. 13, 2007. The United States, the last country in the world to signal support, gave provisional support in 2010. The US was preceded by Canada, which gave provisional support.

Wikileaks released the following US diplomatic cable on Sept. 1, 2011. The US Ambassador called it “Bolivia: Repercussions of UN DRIP.”

The cable is written by then US Ambassador Phillip Goldberg, President Bush’s choice, who arrived from Kosovo with questions rising about his role in ethnic cleansing. Goldberg’s role in Bolivia was short-lived. President Evo Morales expelled Goldberg in September of 2008, eight months after Goldberg wrote this cable. President Morales accused Goldberg of spying and attempting to divide the country and his administration. The US denied the allegations.

Goldberg is now US Asst. Secretary of State for Research and Intelligence.

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Posted on September 10, 2011, in Imperialism & Colonialism, Indigenous Struggles. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Wikileaks: US Feared Indigenous Self-Rule and Land Claims with UN Declaration.

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