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Oh Gosh Canada: Blocking Food?

Published: October 6, 2014, Author: Rÿser Rudolph C.

In this space I called attention to the government of Canada and its objection to the World Council of Indigenous Peoples Outcome Document. That document would commit UN Member states to secure the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous nations BEFORE enacting or approving administrative acts, legislation, judicial decisions or policies that have an effect on the rights, property, territory and people of such nations. Canada, as we all know now, is the only state in the world to overtly object to this principle and has stated that it will not apply the principle inside its claimed domain. Russia, China and a few other states are covertly objecting without public statement.

Well, buckle your seat belts as the government of Canada now seeks to deny that same principle in a document two years in the making that would guarantee indigenous peoples the right of free, prior and informed consent concerning the foods they eat. The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) established in 1974 will adopt on 13 October its document reporting “Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems.” As a membership body within the Food and Agriculture Organization the CFS is a major international mechanism concerned with eliminating hunger and the continuing global crises that is FOOD INSECURITY.

The Center for World Indigenous Studies has been working to contribute to the CFS inquiries as well as other international bodies concerned with food security and food sovereignty and this organization is perhaps the most influential. Access to commercial foods or foods in nature is critical to the continuing survival of millions of indigenous peoples’ world wide.

Stressing that the Committee on Food Security document principles are “voluntary and non-binding” the draft document present Principle 9 [iv] that is the object of Canada’s disdain:

[Effective and meaningful consultation with indigenous peoples, through their representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent under the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples and with due regard for particular positions and understanding of individual States;] (Brackets are inserted around this single paragraph in the Principles due to Canada’s objections. It is possible the paragraph can be thrown out or Canada may block the whole document.)

Canada will now deny the simple principle of democratic dialogue and negotiations between its government and the representative institutions of indigenous peoples as an appropriate mechanism for securing their free, prior and informed consent. Their consent will ensure indigenous peoples’ physical, social and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and health life. Canada apparently wishes to prevent this.

Russia with its nationalities policy adopted a day after the 16 July UN Informal Consultations on the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples Draft Outcome Statement essentially denies that their are indigenous peoples inside its claimed domain.  Despite the fact that there are more than 150 different [non-Russian] indigenous nations the government of Russia claims the absolute right to dictate the social, economic, political and cultural rights of these peoples without their consent.

The Peoples’ Republic of China essentially takes the same stance as Russia, though it is quiet about it, in connection with the tens of millions of indigenous peoples in more than 56 indigenous nations (e.g., Tibet (6.2 million), Uyghurs (10 million), Manchurians (10.3 million), Miao (9.4 million) among them). China essentially claims there are no indigenous peoples inside its claimed domain and reserves to itself the absolute authority to decide the social, economic and political future of these peoples without their consent.

Canada joins with Russia and PR of China essentially denying the right of indigenous peoples to exercise their right of free, prior and informed consent–a central principle inherent in the principle of self-determination and the practice of self-government.

Now Canada extends its disgraceful reactionary policy to deny indigenous peoples inside its domain and elsewhere in the world the democratic right to freely decide whether they will consume adulterated foods produced by Canadian commercial food manufacturers or they will be able to choose agricultural and food harvesting methods that produce clean and healthy foods. Canada now seeks to block the Committee for Food Security principles in an effort to deny indigenous peoples the right to choose for themselves.

I wrote it once and I will write it again. The shameful policies of the Canadian government toward indigenous peoples must be fully and completely denounced and Canada must be held accountable for the damage its political violence does to indigenous peoples. Russia and China and Canada now sleep in the same bed claiming the same authoritarian powers over indigenous peoples.


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