25 Dec Obama’s Reversal on ‘Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Stirs Concern Over Legal Claims (Fox News)
By Judson Berger
President Obama’s decision last week to reverse U.S. policy and back a U.N. declaration on the rights of “indigenous peoples” has touched off a debate on whether the move could boost American Indian legal claims over the ills they suffered dating back to the colonial period.
The president announced his decision at the White House Tribal Nations Conference last week, making the United States the last nation to endorse the statement — the Bush administration had opposed it since it was adopted in 2007. American Indian advocacy groups cheered the move, finalized after a months-long administration review.
But John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the “abstract” document — which in several sections discusses the “right to redress” — will probably be used to fuel new legal claims. And he predicted the issue would complicate those cases more than it would help either side actually resolve them.
“It’s a kind of feel-good document that has so many unclear phrases in it that nobody’s really sure what it means when you agree to it,” Bolton told FoxNews.com. “It’s wrong and potentially dangerous to sign onto a document that you don’t fully understand the implications of.”
The non-binding U.N. document includes dozens of provisions but generally states that indigenous people should not be discriminated against, should be able to sustain their own political and social systems, and have rights to the “lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned” or used. …Go to article.