+ Preserving the Cultural Heritage of Indigenous Groups
+ Recent Events: What to look for Different types of rights violations (ie. Right to land, Right to political participation, Right to equal access to services, or Basic Human Rights) Causes of rights violations (ie. Development of infrastructure, government policies, or business operations) Positive or negative steps to preserve the cultural heritage of indigenous groups Types of cultural heritage (ie. Heritage sites, knowledge, or traditions) Shared sentiments amongst indigenous groups Possible Solutions
+ Recent Events: Land Rights 2/28/14: Canadian indigenous groups celebrate federal rejection of mine proposal The Canadian government rejected a proposal to construct a mine which would have devastating environmental effects on several indigenous groups’ sacred land. Example of a positive step to respecting indigenous groups’ right to land 2/21/14: Human Rights groups in Panama appeal to the UN to halt forced evictions of the indigenous Ngöbe community The Ngöbe community in Panama is being forcibly evicted from their land to make way for a new hydroelectric dam Example of governments disrespecting indigenous groups’ right to land due to development projects 3/4/14: Wildlife and game reserve leads to evictions of indigenous groups in Botswana Botswana has evicted the San people from their ancestral lands to establish the Central Kalahari Game Reserve A non profit organization has called for a travel boycott against Botswana in order to protest the violation of the San people’s right to land
+ Recent Events: Heritage Sites 3/19/14: United States questioned by the UN Human Rights Committee on implementation of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples While reviewing US compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Human Rights Committee questioned the US’ protection of indigenous sacred sites as well as the US’ obtainment of free and informed consent before acting on indigenous lands 4/5/14: Organization preserving historic indigenous site Anasazi Valley in court battle to fight against pollution Non profit organization Sunhawk Productions purchased an 80.1 acre piece of land and discovered evidence of a past Native American tribe that used to reside in the area Sunhawk is fighting to keep the land sacred and to preserve the Native American Culture as well as educate others about the culture. Sunhawk is now in a court battle to prevent expanding industry from desecrating the land with pollution Example of a positive step to preserve indigenous groups’ cultural heritage
+ Recent Events: Discrimination 3/27/14: Australia’s indigenous groups criticize proposed changes to Australia’s racial discrimination act Australia’s National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples say that proposed changes will abolish important legislative protections for the racially vulnerable The proposed changes seek to protect free speech by repealing a section of the act which protects people against racial vilification Example of a difficult situation where the government must find balance between protecting free speech and protecting indigenous groups from discrimination 4/1/14: New report from the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) describe discrimination and religious oppression in Vietnam The report highlights issues that indigenous groups in Vietnam face, including religious intolerance, arbitrary arrests, confiscation of land, and lack of education The report has been submitted to the UN Committee on Economic Social and Rights which will convene in May 2014 Vietnam’s discrimination is an example of a negative step while the NGO’s appeal to the UN is a positive step
+ Recent Events: Decision Making 3/8/14: Indigenous groups in Nepal demand implementation of free, prior, and informed consent laws A hydropower project that is affecting local indigenous people in Nepal have caused indigenous groups to demand for ‘free, prior, and informed consent’ laws ‘Free, prior, and informed consent’ refers to an indigenous community’s right to be informed of a project or action that may affect them and the government’s responsibility to obtain the indigenous group’s permission before continuing with the project/action Demand for free, prior, and informed consent law is a positive step towards achieving greater indigenous participation in decision making 4/4/14: Canada proceeding with final drafting and introduction of First Nation Control of First Nation Education Act Act will improve education standards of indigenous children and give indigenous groups greater control over their children’s education Since its first introduction in 2013, indigenous groups have voiced criticism and have worked with the government to improve the act Positive step towards achieving greater participation in decision making, protecting indigenous groups’ culture/language, and preventing drastic assimilation
+ Recent Events: Knowledge + Traditions 4/4/14: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that indigenous knowledge practices are an important resource for adapting to climate change An IPCC report acknowledged the importance of recognizing the interests of indigenous groups because of their valuable knowledge and environmentally conscious views on land and resources Example of the impact of indigenous knowledge and traditions as well as the necessity to preserve them 4/4/14: Cultural organization in Bangladesh hosts indigenous culture festival An NGO working to promote local culture in Bangladesh hosted a 3 day indigenous culture festival to preserve age old traditions Example of a positive step in preserving the intangible cultural heritage of indigenous groups
+ Voting Considerations The impact of indigenous groups on your country’s economy or general development If there is a sentiment in your country that indigenous groups are preventing necessary development or economic growth, then you will be less inclined to vote for drastic progressive solutions Regional associations If you belong to a regional organization such as the European Union or African Union, your stance on the issue or certain solutions will likely reflect the stance of your regional organization Past human rights record If your country has a positive human rights record, you will likely be supportive of solutions working towards greater recognition and implementation of indigenous groups’ rights If your country has a negative human rights record, you will likely be more reluctant to support those solutions
+ Recent Events Occupy Wall Street, US An easy to remember, single event in time when American citizens protested against the growing wage inequality in their country. Complaints ranged from poor working conditions to insufficient pay. Proves that even developed nations such as the US need to resolve the increasing wage inequality. Similarly, several other countries, as well as Taiwan had their own Occupy Movement to protest against the low wages or the rich 1%. Rana Plaza Tragedy, Bangladesh The tragic garment factory incident drew attention from labor organizations and NGOs such as the ILO to revisit the condition of workers in Bangladesh. The incident first targeted the issue of poor working conditions but then gradually shifted focus to the workers and wage inequality. Bangladesh’s economic policies were revisited, revealing that the lower status workers were treated unfairly, especially the women and children.
+ Recent Events (cont.) Syrian refugees in Lebanon With over a million of refugees from Syria fleeing into Lebanon, reveals the nation’s poor economic state, as the increasing wage inequality makes it difficult for both the livelihoods of the citizens and Syrian refugees. Similar to Lebanon, many countries, both undeveloped and developed are suffering from wage inequality, and with it, high unemployment, lack of market, low wages, etc. China’s wage inequality skyrockets As China makes astounding progress in industrialization and development, the nation begins to suffer from increasing wage inequality. Due to the large population, it is even harder to make reforms for the workers or changes in the current economic system. Workers in Beijing earn several times more than a worker in Hubei, and the difference between the city and rural areas is shocking. With a Gini coefficient of 4.6 recorded in 2012, China seems to remain unable to properly resolve their wage inequality.
+ Possible Blocs US, Canada and Europe (the developed West) The developed nations are much more well-equipped with the resources and professionals to attempt to resolve their wage inequality. Furthermore, with organizations such as OECD, the developed West tends to link their economic success with their democratic government. The solutions they tend to propose are liberal and empower their citizens. Middle East The Middle East region suffers from political unrest, which results in a poor economy. Depending on which nation, those that have a friendlier relationship with the West are inclined to accept their help in combating wage inequality. Those having hostile relations with the West tend to refuse their solutions due to various reasons, as Middle East nations prefer to be more conservative. Southeast Asian nations, India and China These nations are only beginning to industrialize and develop, and combating wage inequality becomes a priority when wanting to become a developed nation. Nations such as Indonesia, India and China are burdened with a large population, which is troublesome when wanting to make economic reforms. Though these nations want to accept all the help they can receive, they should be especially careful. Furthermore, nations such as China that do not have democratic governments might refuse certain solutions provided by the West.
+ Possible Blocs (cont.) DPRK The DPRK has quite an eccentric opinion on the issue of wage inequality, as the nation believes that no wage inequality exists within the country. The solutions proposed tend to be extreme, and are usually advising other nations to model their form of government and economic system after the DPRK’s. Africa Africa is known to be the continent plagued with poverty. However, many African nations such as South Africa, Morocco or Libya that have a concrete economic system suffer from wage inequality. The upper class lives in a completely different world while the rest of the citizens have no method to empower themselves. African nations want to receive help from organizations and allies, but they remain wary of foreign powers who might want to take advantage of their need for help. South America South America is far behind North America’s development, and is similar to Southeast Asia, as both are rapidly trying to develop. Most nations in South America also have large populations, which result in the same problems as Asia. However, South American nations tend to have a greater reliance on Europe, their former colonizers.
+ Assisting and Ensuring the Safety of Syrian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons
+ Current Events: Syrian Civil War September 2013: UN inspectors confirm the usage of chemical weapons in attack on Damascus The attack on the Ghouta area of Damascus took place in August and killed about 300 people. However, the side responsible for the attack has not been confirmed. October 2013: President Bashar al-Assad allows international inspectors to begin destroying Syria’s chemical weapons Consent is based on a US-Russian agreement in a unanimously agreed- upon UN Security Council resolution that demands Syria to give up its chemical weapons stockpile, but does not threaten military force if it fails to comply. December 2013: US and Britain suspend “non-lethal” support for northern Syrian rebels “non-lethal” aid includes medicine, vehicles, and communications equipment but not humanitarian aid. Suspension happened after reports that Islamist rebels had seized bases belonging to the Western-based Free Syrian Army (FSA).
+ Current Events: Syrian Civil War January-February 2014: Geneva II Conference on Syria (aka Geneva Middle East Peace Conference) fails The conference is a UN-backed international peace conference which aims to reach a peaceful agreement between the Syrian government and the Syrian rebels to discuss clear steps towards a transitional government with full executive power and ending the civil war. It failed largely because the Syrian authorities refused to discuss a transitional government. March 2014: Syrian Army and Hezbollah forces capture Yabroud Yabroud, near the Lebanese border, was one of the last rebel strongholds and a key supply line into Lebanon. It’s fall is a significant blow to the rebels.
+ Current Events: Syrian Refugees September 2013: Largest plans for Syrian refugee resettlement Germany agrees to resettle 5,000 Syrian refugees, which is the largest program yet. Refugees are allowed to stay for 2 years. October 2013: Sweden offers permanent residency to Syrian Refugees The Swedish Migration Board announces that all asylum seekers from Syria granted temporary residency in Sweden can receive permanent permits, which applies to families as well. Sweden becomes the first and only EU country to offer full asylum to Syrian refugees. October 2013: Turkey builds wall on Syrian Border Turkey builds a 2-meter wall in Nusaybin, where clashes between rebels, Kurds, and Arab tribes often take place. Protests broke out during the construction of the wall October 2013: 16 countries make confirmed refugee resettlement pledges UNHCR encouraged countries to offer resettlement opportunities and that the international community opens up to 30,000 by the end of 2014. 16 countries: Australia, Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA more than 10,000 places so far.
+ Current Events: Syrian Refugees November 2013: Greek special forces push back Syrian Refugees A German NGO claims in the report “Pushed Back” that Greek armed forces are conducting operations around the Turkish border to repel Syrian refugees November 2013: Bulgaria builds fence on Turkish border In response to a sudden spike in refugees, Bulgaria starts construction of a 30- km fence along the Turkish border UNHCR urges EU countries to keep their borders open. December 2013: Largest polio immunization campaign in the region UNICEF and WHO launch a massive polio (until recently, thought to be eradicated) eradication campaign in Syria and in neighboring countries after the discovery of new cases in Syria, targeting over 23 million children.
+ Current Events: Syrian Refugees December 2013: UN launches largest appeal yet: $6.5 billion UN estimates that almost ¾ of the Syrian population (22.4 million) will need humanitarian aid in 2014. About $4.2 billion would be spent on assisting refugees in neighboring countries. January 2014: UK announces that it will take Syrian refugees UK has struck a deal with the UN that will allow it to take in 500 of the most vulnerable refugees without having to host a UN-imposed quota. February 2014: Marwan becomes face of Syrian refugee children Social medias storm when a photo appears to show a 4-year old crossing into Jordan alone. He was in fact, separated from his parents, but it still grabbed the public’s attention.