November 17, 2006 – by Joseph Quesnel — Canadian representatives at the United Nations are attempting to bribe African member states in order to buy their support for a motion to delay final passage of the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights at the General Assembly in New York, alleged the chief of a prominent Manitoba Aboriginal organization.
“We heard of this at a recent international treaties summit. It is unsubstantiated,” said Grand Chief Chris Henderson of the Southern Chiefs Organization, at a press conference held in the group’s Winnipeg office.
Henderson went on to elaborate saying he was informed that African states were told that their lucrative commercial arrangements with Canada would be “expedited” if they were to support a procedural delay to prevent passage of the declaration. According to the chief, if the motion is delayed it would effectively kill the declaration’s passage.
“This is economic blackmail.”
The federal government opposed the Declaration when it was before the United Nations Human Rights Council, on the grounds that the international document left the term “right of national self-determination” largely undefined and conflicted with domestic Canadian law.
Henderson said Aboriginal organizations are already on the ground in New York attempting to drum up support for the declaration as it approaches a final vote, which could come as early as next week.
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