1/08/2017 – Vancouver, BC
The delegate of the United Arab Emirates to the General Assembly approached Al Jazeera in the early hours of Sunday morning’s session to express several concerns with the proceedings of the body. While the delegate spoke of their “deep satisfaction” with the proceedings, the UAE underlined the lack of attention being paid to international corporations. The delegate was particularly critical of the U,S, Australia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
“International corporations have no regard for indigenous rights” UAE said “they’re only concerned with their revenues”. The delegate cited the situation in North Dakota as a particularly salient example of national governments putting corporate interests over the rights of indigenous peoples. “We are deeply alarmed by the United States’ efforts to deflect the issue” UAE said.
The Standing Rock protests took social media by storm these past few months, and support for the tribe has brought the Dakota Access Pipeline project to a standstill. Whether this decision is permanent has yet to be seen. The delegate of the UAE said that they had confronted the U.S delegation on this matter, but that their attempts to discuss the protection of indigenous lands from corporate interests. The delegate also noted the glaring irony of the United States’ support for a GA paper which promotes access to clean water for indigenous peoples.
The UAE went on to express their frustration with the delegates of the UK, New Zealand and Australia for dancing around the topic of indigenous land rights. “I cannot trust how truly committed they are” UAE said “they tend to favor big money and they were very hostile to my suggestions that they restitute native lands”. If these member states fail to push for meaningful legal protections for indigenous lands it is uncertain if the prospective resolutions will have any meaningful impact on the status of indigenous groups.