Doctrine of Discovery at the United Nations

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is meeting in New York City May 7-18.  The primary theme for this year's conference is the Doctrine of Discovery. 

The international law Doctrine is being examined from all angles.  This international law is correctly seen as the original justification put forth by European Christians to try to explain and justify their attempted domination of the rest of the world.

Here's one example:  On May 8, 2012. the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo presented a Joint Statement to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on the issue of the Doctrine of Discovery.

His statement focused on the rights and survival of indigenous peoples around the world through the eradication of racist doctrines such as “discovery” and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

"The consequences of the past wrongs regarding the taking of Indigenous lands and resources are visible worldwide, through debilitating impoverishment and suffering endured by Indigenous peoples. In Canada, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples concluded in its 1996 Report: "Without adequate lands and resources, Aboriginal nations … will be pushed to the edge of economic, cultural and political extinction," said AFN National Chief Atleo.

He supported measures that had been recommended the day before to the Permanent Forum as a means to redress past wrongs:

"1. Request States, in conjunction with Indigenous peoples, to examine State history, laws, practices and policies and report on their reliance of doctrines of superiority, including "discovery", as the foundation of State claims of sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. States should complete and provide their reports by the 12th Session of the PFII.

2. Urge States, in conjunction with Indigenous peoples, to establish national plans of evaluation and work, with clear timelines and priorities, to eradicate from existing laws and policies any remnants of doctrines of superiority, including "discovery", as a basis for the assumed sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. States should report regularly on the progress of their work to their national legislatures and to the PFII."

A copy of the full statement is available at www.afn.ca. The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

This year marks the eleventh session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The Forum provides expert advice and recommendations on Indigenous issues to the UN system.  It is part of the Economic and Social Council and is tasked with raising awareness and promoting the integration and coordination of relevant activities within the UN system; and disseminates information on Indigenous issues.

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