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Postulat Eppenberger 89.689, "Gute Dienste zur Informationskultur" ¦ Declaration against genocide

18 Oct 07   Library of Congress Advances 2 Digital Projects Abroad, NYT, DOREEN CARVAJAL
22 Nov 05   World Digital Library Planned - Library of Congress To Bridge Cultures, WP, David A. Vise
14 Feb 96   Oil-for-Food-independent budgetary relief
23 Aug 95   INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' ARCHIVE AND WATCH LIST
25 April 95   CORUM/GOGEL/ICESC - UN
27 Feb 95   Internet to Improve Work of the UN Commission on Human Rights
28.Aug 90   Begleitbrief zum Bericht über das Postulat Eppenberger 89.689
21 août 90   VERS UNE MEMOIRE CULTURELLE UNIVERSELLE, CORUM, J.A.Keller




J.A.KELLER
Postfach 2580
1211 Genf 2
022 7346011 (3596)

28.August 1990

Sehr geehrtes Ratsmitglied,

Der von alt Bundespräsident Georges-André CHEVALLAZ als "fort utile" beurteilte beiliegende Bericht über den postulierten Ausbau der Schweizer Guten Dienste bezüglich Völkerbunds-Archiv und UNO-Bibliothek in Genf beleuchtet insbesondere die Schweizer Interessenlage. Das ihm zugrundeliegende Postulat stösst sowohl in Kreisen der Wirtschaft und der Wissenschaft, als auch in Diplomatenkreisen auf einhellig zustimmendes Interesse - dies nicht erst seit der jüngsten Golfkrise. In Verbindung mit den wirtschaftlich verfügbar werdenden Aufzeichnungs- und Kommunikations-Technologien des 21. Jahrhunderts (siehe auch die beiliegenden Presse-Ausschnitte), bietet sich der Eidgenossenschaft in der Tat eine hervorragende Gelegenheit zur kostengünstigen und weitreichenden Förderung bedeutender in- und aussenpolitischer Interessen. In Verbindung mit den Computern, welche auch den Parlamentariern zur Erleichterung ihrer Arbeit zur Verfügung gestellt werden sollen, dürfte der so möglich werdende direkte Zugang zu den Informationsschätzen der UNO auch den Informationsvorsprung der Verwaltung abbauen - und damit für gleichlange Spiesse sorgen. Das passt nicht jedermann. Der freie Lauf der Dinge ist derzeit jedenfalls an diesen Gelegenheiten vorbeigelenkt.

Der vormals für die Behandlung des Postulats zuständige Chef der EDA-Sektion für internationale Organisationen und kulturelle Angelegenheiten akzeptierte zwar mein Angebot, zur Beschleunigung der Postulatsverwirklichung auf meine Kosten bei der UNO, sowie in Benutzerkreisen, unverbindliche Vorabklärungen zu tätigen. Sein Nachfolger leidet aber offenbar bereits derart unter der 2% Budgetkürzung, dass ihm sogar die Besprechung meines Berichts schwerfällt (siehe Rückseite).

Unverständlich, bedauerlich und evt. auch für Sie als Steuerzahler unannehmbar ist hingegen insbesondere die allessagende Bemerkung "kein Handlungsbedarf" - jenes EDA-Sachbearbeiters, der weiterhin dazu bestimmt ist, "gelegentlich" eine Sachverständigengruppe (bestehend aus Beamten des Bundes und der UNO) ins Leben zu rufen und anzuführen, und die Antwort des Bundesrates vorzubereiten. M.W. unterblieb bisher sowohl die Information, als auch die übliche Konsultation der betroffenen Kreise - sowohl auf kantonaler (z.B. Universitäts-Bibliotheken), als auch auf Bundesebene (EDI, Landesbibliothek, Bundesarchiv, ETH, PTT, etc.). Für das in einigen Bundesstuben bedrohlich überhandnehmende Fehlschlagsrezept ARIGIN (ARroganz + IGnoranz + INkompetenz) ist auch die rückseitig abgedruckte Antwort symptomatisch, die eine vielbeschäftigte Exzellenz auf der punktierten Linie zu unterzeichnen geruhte. Die mit solchen Seldwylereien zum Ausdruck gebrachte geringe tatsächliche Wertschätzung dieses parlamentarischen Vorstosses und Auftrags sind m.E. schlechte Voraussetzungen zur Stärkung unserer aussenpolitischen Position durch solche auf private Initiative zurückgehende Projekte - sei es anlässlich des 700-jährigen Bestehens der Eidgenossenschaft oder danach (siehe dazu auch das Schweiz-EG-relevante Eigentor: Beilage, Fussnote 10).

Gegen solches administratives Tun und Lassen, und trotz günstigster Sachlage (siehe z.B. die Stellungnahmen der Botschafter Frankreichs und der BRD, S.6), können positive Beurteilungen und ermunternde Worte alleine nichts ausrichten. Gefragt sind da entschiedene, und insbesondere auf Verwaltungsstufe nachhaltig wirksame Signale und Taten unserer politischen Entscheidungsträger. In diesem Sinne wünsche ich Ihnen für die weitere Legislaturarbeit viel Erfolg - und uns allen die auch zur Verwirklichung dieses "blossen" Postulats unverzichtbare Klugheit, Weitsicht und Durchschlagskraft unserer politischen Führungskräfte.

Oder besteht I.E. für den Bund diesbezüglich tatsächlich "kein Handlungsbedarf" und würden Sie allenfalls eine privatwirtschaftliche Lösung, quasi eine Teil-Privatisierung der Schweizer Aussenpolitik, befürworten?

Beilage: "Vers une Mémoire Culturelle Universelle"

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DECLARATION AGAINST  GENOCIDE
GENEVA, JULY 29, 1993

We, the undersigned Representatives of Indigenous Peoples, First Nations, Minorities and Non-Governmental Organizations, on the occasion of the 11th session of the Working Group on Indigenous Peoples of the UN Commission on Human Rights, Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, held in Geneva July 19-30, 1993,

APPALLED by the genocidal practices which are allowed to continue to visit havoc on the civilian populations of some UN Member States, notably in the former Yugoslavia, in Iraq and in Indonesia, and particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the northern and the southern parts of Iraq and in East Timor, sometimes even in the presence of commendable and individually courageous, yet hapless, ill-equipped, inadequately backed-up and thus easily abused UN troops, EC Monitors, ICRC Delegates and humanitarian aid personnel;

DISMAYED by themanifest facility and impunity with which officers, soldiers and militia continue to maraud particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina, whereby they knowingly and crassly violate fundamental and universally subscribed conventions of humanitarian law and human rights, notably the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, the UN Genocide Convention and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

ALARMED by the apparent unwillingness of most of today's decision-makers, and by the growing incapacity of those international institutions which were set up to preserve international peace and security, to effectively stop and prevent at least the deliberate massacre of unarmed civilian populations of UN Member States;
 

APPALLED by the apparent incapacity of the UN Security Council to act in line with its own mandate with regard to its own resolutions if it turns out that they are no longer part of the solution but have themselves become part of the problem they are intended to address, as is the case with some embargo resolutions which produce such perverse effects as to help the aggressors, to violate the fundamental principles of self-defense and self-help, and to victimize further the civilian victims of aggression, all of which cannot fail to undercut the indispensable respect for the Rule of Law as well as for the international institutions which were set up to serve this corner stone of civilization; and

CONCERNED that Bosnia-Herzegovina in particular might become for the United Nations, for the European Community and even for NATO what Ethiopia was for the League of Nations, namely the fumbled opportunity to promptly and duly defend the family of nations' fundamental principles, thus setting the stage for later large-scale armed conflicts:

1. DECLARE our solidarity with the victims of aggression, human rights violations and lack of respectful and disciplined leadership anywhere on Mother Earth, notably with the Albanian, Bosnian and Hungarian minorities in the Serbian Republic, with the Bogomin, Patarem and other non-Serb and non-Croat ethnies in Bosnia-Herzegovina, with the Assyrians, Kurds and Turkomans in the Mosul Vilayet, with the Marsh Arabs in the South of Iraq, and with the indigenous peoples of East Timor, Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia, Africa and the Americas;

2. CALL FOR THE PROMPT AND EFFECTIVE ENFORCEMENT of all corresponding UN Security Council Resolutions providing for the protection of the civilian populations, humanitarian aid and reconstruction and development, with all necessary means, including air strikes against hostile ground forces, lest "ethnic cleansing" and international border changes by force, helped by political pseudo-leadership and diplomatic ineptitude, become the model for the New World Disorder;

3. REGISTER WITH DISMAY AND CONDEMN the blockage of all effective relief measures, notably in the case of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the UN Security Council by one of its European members;

4. THEREFORE CALL ON the Members of the United Nations General Assembly to provide for a more effective protection of indigenous peoples and minorities particularly against genocide and ethnicide, as well as for a more reliable application and enforcement of INTERNATIONAL MINORITY PROTECTION GUARANTEES, in particular through the mechanisms specified in the UN General Assembly Resolution 24 (I) of February 12, 1946, through the establishment of UN Trust Territories and genuine UN Protectorates in areas where indigenous peoples and minorities are threatened by genocide, and with the help of duly elected Special Representatives which are to advise all relevant UN bodies on related matters;

5. CALL ON all men of good will and non-governmental organizations in a position to do so, to support and participate in the development of a Universal League of First Nations and Indigenous Peoples; and

6. INVITE the Secretary-General of the United Nations, by way of the good offices of the Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, to lend his support to the objectives set out in this Declaration, and to communicate same to the Member States of the United Nations.

*           *          *

At the 1994 session of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations the following indigenous peoples were represented:
 
Aboriginal Nations (Australia)
Aetas Association of Western Luzon (Philippines)
Ainu Association of Hokkaido (Japan)
Alliance of Taiwan Aborigines (Taiwan)
Aymara Movement (Bolivia)
Bougainville Republic (Papua New Guinea)
Chakma People (Bangladesh)
Cheyenne Nation (United States)
Chirapaq People (Peru)
Chukchi People (Russia)
Cordillera Peoples Alliance (Philippines)
Dakota Nation (United States)
Dalit Nations (India)
Dene Nation (Canada)
Dolgany People (Russia)
Dwane Moeders (Suriname)
Ermineskin Nation (Canada)
Eveny People (Russia)
Evenky People (Russia)
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (Canada)
Free Papua Movement (Papua New Guinea)
Grand Council of the Crees (Canada)
Guarani People (Argentina)
Gull Bay Indian Band (Canada)
Hadzabe People (Tanzania)
Haudenosaunee-Mohawk Nation (United States)
Hawaii Nation (United States)
Hmong People (Laos)
Homeland Mission for South Moluccas (Indonesia)
Hopi Indian Tribe (United States)
Iban (Sarawak, Malaysia)
Iina Torres Strait Islanders Corporation (Australia)
Innu Kanantwapatset (Canada)
International Inca Alliance (Peru)
Inuit Tapirisat (Canada)
Jackhead Band of Manitoba (Canada)
Kaayellii Dine (United States)
Kachin Independence Organization (Myanmar)
Kakchiquel People (Guatemala)
Kechua People (Ecuador)
Kola Sami (Russia)
Koryak People (Russia)
Kuna Movement (Panama)
Kwanyama Tribe (Kenya)
Lakota Sioux Nation (United States)
Lil'wat Nation (Canada)
Lokonon (Suriname)
Lumad Mindanaw (Philippines)
Maori Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Mapuches (Argentina)
Mapuche People (Chile)
Mayan Nation Council (Guatemala)
Metis National Council (Canada)
Mikmaq Nation (Canada)
Miskitu People (Nicaragua)
Mohawk Nation (Canada)
Montana Cree Nation (United States)
Mosul Vilayet Council (Iraq)
Naga People's Movement (India)
Navajo Nation (United States)
Nentsy People (Russia)
Nishnawbe-Aski Nation (Canada)
Ogoni (Nigeria)
Ojibway Nation (United States)
Onondaga Nation (United States)
Pacha-Anu (Aymaras) (Chile)
Peru Kechua (Peru)
Pichincha Riccarimui Organization (Ecuador)
Potiguara Peoples (Brazil)
Quintin Lame Movement (Colombia)
Roraima People (Brazil)
Samson Cree Nation (Canada)
Seneca Nation (United States)
Shoal Lake Ojibway First Nation (Canada)
Shuar Federation (Ecuador)
Stl'atl'imx Nation (Canada)
Sukawala Organization (Nicaragua)
Tanganikeld People (Tanzania)
Tlahtokan Tzkalotl (Mexico)
Toledo Maya Council (Belize)
Tsistsistas Nation (United States)
Tuaregs (Mali)
Tupak Katari Movement (Bolivia)
Tuscarora Nation (United States)
Twa Du (Rwanda)
Tynasarapa (Suriname)
United Indian Councils of the Mississauga and Chippewa
(United States)
Vedda Community (Sri Lanka)
Wayamu (Suriname)
Western Shoshone Nation (United States)
West Papua Peoples Front (Indonesia)
Xavante People (Brazil)
Yakut-Sakha (Russia)
Yankuikanahuak (Mexico)
Yanama Indigenous Organization (Colombia)
Yanomami People (Brazil)
Yarawato (Suriname)
Yupik Alaska (United States)
Yupit Nation (United States)
Zapotec Nation (Mexico)




INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE
FOR EUROPEAN SECURITY AND COOPERATION
statement presented by J.A.Keller, ICESC Representative
to the UN Commission on Human Rights, 51st Session, under Agenda item 11 on 27 February 1995

Improving the Effectiveness of the Commission's Work
through pacta sunt servanda, in Iraq and elsewhere,
better use of existing instruments, like INTERNET,
and more imaginative human rights measures

Mr.Chairman, since the end of the cold war - and partially even as a substitute for it - individual and group human rights have become a central issue in international relations. And both they and the related mechanisms are likely to become ever more important vehicles for seeking to bring about changes in many parts of the world not least in the political, social and economic realms. In this light, there is every reason to look not only for real and prompt improvements in the Commission's work, but also to ask whether the Commission's mandate, its structure and its mechanisms are still adequate.

Mr.Chairman, it is notorious that the UN General Assembly and the Security Council increasingly find it necessary to refer to NGOs and to call on their comparatively more flexible and more efficient cooperation for addressing man-made and other humanitarian disasters. Take for example the Security Council resolutions 688 on Iraq and the corresponding ones on former Yugoslavia. Sadly, this trend has yet to find its proper reflection in the way this Commission is set up and works. Indeed, a contrary picture is apparent here, where NGOs, year after year, find themselves ever more marginalized and even physically crowded out. Previously agreed upon practices, such as daily consultations between the Secretariat and NGO representatives have yet to be heard of again. And in one case, the response is still outstanding to a repeated request for proper guidance on particularly sensitive testimonies and on the recent blatant arrest at the airport in Istanbul of torture victims who were on their way to Geneva for testimonies in front of this Commission. But this is perhaps not the right moment for addressing those issues. Instead, I may point at some sources of inspiration for improving the effectiveness of the Commission's work. One is of the more distant past and concerns the mechanisms of the League of Nations's international minority protection guarantees. A second involves the Nonproliferation Treaty. And a future-oriented solution to the problem of disappeared persons involves possibly the INTERNET.

Mr.Chairman, in 1932, as a sine qua non obligation of its independence and continued existence as a sovereign State, Iraq solemnly incurred comprehensive and still binding international minority protection obligations (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27, annex), providing, a.o., a) that "Full and complete protection of life and liberty will be assured to all inhabitants of Iraq without distinction of birth, nationality, language, race or religion", b) that these and other minority protection stipulations "constitute obligations of international concern and will be placed under the guarantee of the League of Nations", c) that Iraq may not alter or abrogate them unilaterally, and d) that in case of "infraction or danger of infraction" of any of these international minority protection guarantees, the United Nations General Assembly, in line with its Resolution 24 (I) of 12 February 1946 as the legal successor of the League of Nations, may now "take such measures and give such directions as it may deem proper and effective in the circumstances."

Mr.Chairman, the Iraqi Government likes to ignore or belittle this recently re-discovered Iraqi Declaration, but it has yet to demonstrate that it was ever relieved of any of these constitutive undertakings, or that they no longer apply in international law. In fact, the UN General Assembly formally and effectively transferred these and other political powers and functions to the United Nations system already in 1946, and the UN Secretariat confirmed the validity of these international obligations of Iraq in a special report (E/CN.4/367). Accordingly, and in light of the vast body of evidence compiled by the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iraq (E/CN.4/1995/56) this Commission might start to make a real dent in the human rights conditions in Iraq and elsewhere by undusting and getting this old but readily available minority protection mechanism back into operation.

A further avenue for improvement concerns the Special Rapporteurs who are deprived of an opportunity to visit the countries concerned. Iraq and Turkey are cases in point. The leadership of the Mosul Vilayet Council decided to turn the table around by bringing the victims and witnesses to the UN in Geneva for direct testimony. This program is under way, and it cannot be blocked by either Iraqi or Turkish officials. But the recent arrest of 4 such Iraqi witnesses at the airport in Istanbul also highlights the Commission's responsibility for making sure that such obstructions of its work will not be encouraged by its failure to even take note of them.

To be sure, neither Iraqi nor Turkish officials have a monopoly for regrettable behavior. Nor are human rights violations confined to governmental levels. In fact, significant human rights abuses are often committed by non-governmental and even private sources and outside the reach of a free society's effective governmental controls. Of course, this phenomena is not new and the Commission has attempted to deal with its effects on numerous occasions. But there seems to be scope for improvements when one considers it from the angle of human rights violations associated with the proliferation and eventual use of weapons of mass destruction.

So far public attention almost exclusively concentrated on the governmental level of proliferation. This is particularly noticable in the presently re-debated Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Indeed, not all that can and should be done is in fact done on the very real and growing danger of proliferation by criminal organizations and other non-governmental entities (NGEs) with regard to materials which are capable of mass destruction, mass poisoning and mass infections. And while there appear to be neither ready nor easy answers for this, it would seem to be indicated that both the governments concerned and the Commission would take a close look into that.

On a more traditional human rights track, there is another universal phenomena of growing proportions. The subject is disappeared persons, persons being held in detention without trial, and persons being held incommunicado. This is an unbearable situation for the families concerned. And it is a stigma not only on the authorities involved but also on the responsible individuals.

From a huge number of cases, the following examples may serve to illustrate the problems. They concern another area which is outside of the world's public attention, i.e. Sindh on the Subasian continent. A Sindh leader, Dr Maqbool Khushik and two others reportedly were taken away from their homes by the Pakistan Security Forces three months ago. As yet they have not been produced in any Court of Law. The families have failed to locate them as the authorities have persistently refused to give any information regarding their safety, conditions and whereabouts. Experiences show that it cannot be excluded that they have been tortured and might in fact already have died in custody. Another illustrative case is that of the 92 year old Father of Sindhi nation, H.E. G.M. Syed, who is being detained without trial for demanding the right of self-determination for his people, and the government blankly refuses to produce him in front of any Court of Law, inspite of the appeals for his release from all over the world.

Perhaps, in these, as in most other cases around the world, an adapted version of the old principle of habeas corpus could provide effective relief. Concretely, the walls of silence and darkness must be broken down. Effective measures to make governments more responsive and accountable are thus called for. And if, e.g., some motivated and competent representatives of NGOs were to put their heads together and to start coordinating their intellectual, networking and other resources, appropriate ways and means are likely to be found to get the detaining authorities, or the responsible ministry, to effectively furnish the crucial information they have on any given person.

Perhaps, the agrieved family could be helped to effectively sideline the local and the national authorities and access directly the existing inquiry mechanism built into the mandates of the UN Commissioner on Human Rights, the Working Group on Forced or Involontary Disappearances, or of another suitable human rights body. The Center for Human Rights (CHR) might be equipped to make full use of the information technology. In cooperation with interested NGOs, it might allow itself to be accessed by individuals through INTERNET. And with the help of the information highways and corresponding resources, their present fax hotline might be developed into a joint CHR-NGO Red List which would be regularly updated and published on the INTERNET and as a Joint Written Statement under ECOSOC Resolution 1296 (XLIV).

And perhaps these already overloaded and underfunded UN institutions could be assisted by regional representatives who might be supported by local NGOs and funded from alternative sources not dependent on the themselves overburdened taxpayers, including sponsorships by privately funded Arts Ambassadors and imaginative commercial firms and private persons.
 


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CORUM
J.A.Keller, Director of Research
box 2580 - 1211 Geneva
t+f (private): 0033-450322842

25 April 1995 (rev.1)
10 January 1997 (second mail copy)

Your Excellency,

Following my discussions notably with the Director of the UN Library, Mr.Pierre Pelou, I take pleasure submitting my request for continuation, without UN budgetary implications, of our on-going research project

"The International Minority Protection Guarantees of the League of Nations"
(mentioned in UN document E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/27, footnote 5),

inluding the granting of a small, stable office space in or near the building of the UN Library, as originally agreed upon and practised from 1989 to 1991 (B 416) and continued at the UN pavillon at Petit-Saconnex.

Our initial project aimed at getting the Swiss Confederation to provide for notably the electronisation of the UN Library catalogue and the League of Nations Archives. For reasons which, essentially, have been beyond our control, we have only recently seen some concrete results in that direction. With proper coordination and support from both sides, we are confident that this project can and will succeed. And we shall be glad to further contribute to that end.

Meanwhile, we have concentrated on more immediate applications of the unique treasures hidden in the UN Library and the League of Nations Archives. In 1990, we published the network of forgotten but valid commerce treaties the newly independent countries of Eastern Europe have had in their archives (issues so far: France, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Czechoslovakia). In the hands of visionary politicians and competent diplomats, they could still be very useful for promoting Bruxelles-independent intra-European cooperation, for art.234 of the EU's Treaty of Rome of 1957 provides for their often more liberal conditions to take precedence over any subsequent rules.

With the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, our network with parliamentarians was strengthened and mobilized for analyzing the root causes of the related problems as a pre-condition for eventually contributing to their lasting solution. Drawing extensively from UN Library resources, we dug up forgotten but potentially useful documents and developed methods which we later adapted and refined for addressing ethnic, religious and other minority conflicts in other parts of the world - Baltics, ex-Yugoslavia, Iraq and Algeria. In recognition of these achievements, services and possibilities, we have been entrusted with corresponding good offices mandates, e.g. in June 1991 by Yugoslavia's then-supreme legislative body, i.e. the Chamber of Republics and Provinces (reproduced in: UN document E/CN.4/ Sub.2/1993/NGO/29, see footnotes 4 and 5), and in October 1992 by the Mosul Vilayet Council.

Also, some related UN papers (enclosures) have been sponsored by such NGOs as Pax Christi International, the International Fellowship for Reconciliation, the International Committee for European Security and Cooperation, etc. Thus intending to further strengthen with practical means the unique rôle the United Nations and, particularly, its archives and library can play in the anticipation, analysis and eventual prevention or resolution of conflicts, we are looking forward to further close co-operation with your services and staff under conditions which also facilitate our related work.

We take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the UN's manifold contributions in this sense. And we assure Your Excellency of our highest consideration. Sincerely yours,

cc: H.E. Kofi Annan, Mr.PelouMme. Ruser
enclosures: CV; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27, E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/27, E/CN.4/Sub.2/1993/NGO/29, E/CN.4/1994/NGO/48, E/CN.4/1994/NGO/54; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/45; E/CN.4/Sub.2/1995/NGO/27; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/47; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/51; E/CN.4/1995/NGO/52.

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INTERNATIONAL COMMITTE
FOR EUROPEAN SECURITY AND COOPERATION
statement by J.A.Keller, ICESC Representative
presented on 23 August 1995 to the UNITED NATIONS COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities Forty-seventh session,
Agenda item 14: Discrimination Against Indigenous People.
 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' ARCHIVE AND WATCH LIST

Thank you Mr. President. With your permission, I wish to make a few observations on two subjects under item 14, namely the treaties of indigenous peoples and, secondly, the question of detention of indigenous activists.

We greatly appreciate the efforts deployed and the results obtained in difficult circumstances by the Special Rapporteur Alfonso Martinez with regard to the treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements between indigenous populations and governments. We consider this part of the UN's involvement in indigenous matters as perhaps the most promising pathway for all concerned. As such, this field of study deserves in our view much more attention and reliable financial, intellectual and institutional long-term support.

We were particularly interested in a resolution which was signed by representatives of some 20 indigenous peoples and nations who attended last year's Working Group on Indigenous Peoples. That resolution called for treaties of indigenous peoples to be collected in an archive which will not be subject to the tender mercies of UN budget-cutters. We looked into possibilities for organizations like ours to contribute to such an endeavor. We consulted with governments and lawmakers from different countries. And now we are happy to report to you that we have obtained from the Geneva authorities the first building block for such a universal indigenous peoples' archive, i.e. we have been given a first part of the premises necessary for collecting, organizing and studying the related treaties and information about them.

Of course, this effort of us is intended not to compete with, but to complement the UN's own work in this field. Our objective is to eventually accomodate all related texts and make them available also electronically. We trust this effort to receive the indispensable financial, political and data backing primarily from the users. Indeed, we expect it to become a focal and meeting point of both representatives of indigenous peoples everywhere and of those in- and outside of government who have to deal with indigenous problems on a professional level. Accordingly, we may take this opportunity to invite all indigenous peoples to send us copies of their treaties and related information for registration and processing, and for others who are interested in this work to contact us.

On the second subject, we have proposed on 27 February to the Commission on Human Rights an adapted version of the time-tested principle of habeas corpus as a possible remedy against administrative excesses in penal matters. Meanwhile, we have had the opportunity to successfully test the effectiveness of related ideas in three cases involving two countries and six detained persons. As a result, we find ourselves encouraged to help protect the human rights of detained indigenous activists by requesting the authorities concerned to provide information on the whereabouts and human rights conditions of indigenous detainees in particular, and to allow our representative to visit the detainee on a basis of mutual respect, confidence and confidentiality.

Accordingly, as a rule, we intend first to communicate privately with the responsible authorities on the person(s) concerned and, in the event, to include the latter's name in a list which may be published and updated regularly on the INTERNET and/or in appropriate UN documents. As the works of the ICRC amply demonstrate, a successful outcome of such operations depends on confidential negotiations with the authorities concerned. Accordingly, we do not intend to publish systematically information about our successes, unless the interest of the parties concerned requires publicity. Indeed, the principle President Ronald Reagan is said to have had enshrined on his desk appears to be also applicable to groups and organizations:

"There is no limit where a man can go if he is prepared not to take credit for it:"


INDIGENOUS PEOPLE WATCH LIST - HABEAS CORPUS LIST

(under construction)

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I.C.E.S.C.              INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE
FOR EUROPEAN SECURITY AND COOPERATION

Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva
box 2580 - 1211 Geneva 2 - t+f: +4122-7400362

14 February 1996
20 Febr 96 (second mail copy, corr.)

re: Budgetary Relief - Independent of Eventual Implementation of SCR 986

Your Excellency,

Responding to the funding plea you made at the CONGO's cross-Atlantic NGO forum of last November, the undersigned suggested on that occasion to consider involving NGOs more directly in the UN's conflict-prevention work, i.e. in those cost-intensive security fields from which they're now mostly excluded due to their UN attachment through ECOSOC only. Helping to avoid the need to spend taxpayer money on relief measures to man-made - and thus often avoidable - humanitarian catastrophes appears to go a long way to cope with increasingly scarce resources in an environment of growing public doubt and apathy. We are following up on our theoretical remarks with concrete elements and invite you to act upon.

SCR 986 - if and when implemented - is understood to be a godsend not only to the sanctions-suffering Iraqi people but also to the treasury of many cash-short UN agencies. As outlined by your services in the enclosed April 1992 memo which came to our attention, the key problem of SCR 706/712 was that Iraq had questionable title to the petroleum which was to be exchanged for food and medicineignoring this problem did not make it go away. Thus UN/Iraq discussions alone should not be expected to lead to successful applications of any correspondingly deficient formula. According to our information, the implementation of SCR 986 is likely to be frustrated with effective means by both determined people on the ground and influential outside-supporters in the courts. We have come to understand that this, to use the words of the former U.S. Secretary of State Jim Baker, is "not a threat but a promise." Unless the property rights, international guarantees and conditions laid down in the Declaration of Iraq of 30 May 1932 - reproduced in: E/CN.4/Sub.2/1992/NGO/27 - will have been honored (e.g. in line with the recommendations contained in said UN memo). Or unless these rights, guarantees and obligations will have been voided in favor of the Iraqi regime and the International Court of Justice will have confirmed this state of affairs and thus reversed its related position:

We understand full well that the above elements are not the only relevant ones. Yet, in our research we have not come across facts which diminish their significance. We are concerned that failure to properly attend to such matters, in the above case, will cause not only further sufferings among the Iraqis but entail significant political harm to the United Nations as an international instrument for peace, security and humanitarian help. We would thus like to know the reasons which so far have prevented a serious dialogue on, e.g., the recommendations contained in said UN memo of April 1992 which could also significantly help to reduce the humanitarian load on the UN budget. And whether or not such NGO contributions and unorthodox pathways to increased public confidence, respect and budgetary balance are at all welcome. Trusting this to be helpful, we are looking forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience and remain, sincerely yours, encl: UN memo 4/1992

PS. We have been asked by claimants of petroleum rights which may thus be involved in the implementation of SCR 986 to look into this matter. They expect us to advise them on how best to procede towards a settlement which will properly honor their petroleum rights particularly in Northern Iraq and which, without strengthening the position of the Iraqi regime, will provide effective relief to the overly abused Iraqi people through the appropriate UN agencies without, however, causing further burden for the taxpayers and the UN budgets. We have sent an ICESC Representative to the Irak/Turkey, Irak/Iran border area for determining conditions on the ground and laying the groundwork for corresponding plans. The results obtained so far encourage us to consider accepting a corresponding mandate in line with SCR 688 if that were agreeable with you.

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washingtonpost.com    November 22, 2005

World Digital Library Planned
Library of Congress Envisions Collection To Bridge Cultures

By  David A. Vise, Washington Post Staff Writer

    The Library of Congress is launching a campaign today to create the World Digital Library, an online collection of rare books, manuscripts, maps, posters, stamps and other materials from its holdings and those of other national libraries that would be freely accessible for viewing by anyone, anywhere with Internet access.
    This is the most ambitious international effort ever undertaken to put precious items of artistic, historical, and literary significance on the Internet so that people can learn about other cultures without traveling further than the nearest computer, according to James H. Billington, head of the Library of Congress.
    Billington said his goal is to bring together materials from the United States and Europe with precious items from Islamic nations stretching from Indonesia through Central and West Africa, as well as important materials from collections in East and South Asia.
    "We are aiming for a cooperative undertaking in which each culture can articulate its own cultural identity within a shared global undertaking," Billington said in an interview. "We will go as far as we can. The danger we all face is a clash of civilizations. This is the old dream of better international understanding. The dream is that this could make a contribution, particularly among young people brought up in the multimedia age."
    Billington said he envisions the initiative as a public-private partnership. Yesterday, he said that the Library of Congress has accepted $3 million from Google Inc. as its first corporate contribution.
    Google co-founder and President Sergey Brin said in an interview that he and Billington began discussions roughly one year ago about ways for the Library of Congress and Google to team up. Brin said he became intrigued after seeing a range of "beautiful" items in the Library of Congress collection during private meetings with Billington.
    "To me, this is about preserving history and making it available to everyone," Brin said.
    During the past year, Google has digitized about 5,000 books from the Library of Congress as part of a pilot project to refine the techniques to make copies of fragile books without damaging them. In the next phase of the project, Billington said Google will digitize books and other materials from the Library of Congress Law Library.
    Earlier this fall, a group of publishers filed a lawsuit in New York against Google, alleging copyright infringement over the search engine's ongoing digitization of millions of library books from the collections of Stanford University, Harvard University, University of Michigan, Oxford University and the New York Public Library. Google is battling the publishers in court -- and also fighting a related class-action lawsuit filed by authors -- by arguing that its effort to scan all library books is legal and in the public interest.
    Brin and Billington said Google would only digitize materials from the Library of Congress that are in the public domain and therefore not subject to copyright protection.
    Brin said he will help raise additional private funds to finance the World Digital Library. Billington said the $3 million gift from Google will be used over the next few years to develop the details of the project and pay for global outreach.
    "Working with UNESCO, we want to encourage other countries to make use of our experiences in developing their own digitization projects," Billington said.
    Brin -- whose personal fortune exceeds $11 billion, mostly in Google stock -- said the corporate contribution is consistent with his company's goal of putting all of the world's information online and making it freely available. He also said that Google was learning much from the Library of Congress about the scanning of fragile materials that are hundreds of years old.
    Yesterday, Allan Adler, vice president for legal and government affairs of the Association of American Publishers, said Google's $3 million contribution to the Library of Congress, and the company's pilot scanning projects there, are unlikely to raise any thorny legal issues.
    "In all likelihood, the Library of Congress and Dr. Billington will be consulting closely with the U.S. Copyright Office housed in the Library of Congress," Adler said. "It is unlikely that publishers and authors and creators of other copyrighted works will have much to fear in this kind of project." Adler also expressed hope that Google and the publishers would resume talks and resolve their differences in an out-of-court agreement, rather than proceeding with costly litigation.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company




October 18, 2007

Library of Congress Advances 2 Digital Projects Abroad
By DOREEN CARVAJAL

PARIS, Oct. 17 — The Library of Congress announced an ambitious plan on Wednesday to digitize a collection of the world’s rare cultural materials — artifacts ranging from a photo collection of a 19th-century Brazilian empress to a crackly recording of the 101-year-old grandson of a slave.

The library also signed an agreement with Unesco in Paris to move ahead with the World Digital Library project, which is in the testing phase and will not be available for public use until next year.

Other national libraries appear poised to cooperate in the venture, which is modeled after the Library of Congress’s vast American Memory project that has posted millions of original items on the Web, including Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

“The vision is simply that this is a means for promoting far better intercultural understanding in the world,” said James Billington, the librarian of Congress for more than 20 years and the driving force behind the project, which aims to overcome the digital divide in developing countries by offering the collection free online.

The World Digital Library is proceeding as European libraries develop their own digital collections. The European Digital Library will release its prototype next year, and is a response to Google’s efforts to digitize libraries in the United States and Britain.

The French National Library has already developed a test project, Europeana, for the European library and is in the process of digitizing 300,000 books. Bruno Racine, the president of the French library, said there was no competition between that project and the World Digital Library.

“The multilingual dimension seems to be a very ambitious challenge, and if we can contribute usefully, we will be happy to do so,” Mr. Racine said of the World Digital Library.

The world library started two years ago with a $3 million grant from Google and technical assistance by Apple. Initially, five other libraries contributed material for the prototype, including the national libraries of Egypt, Brazil and Russia.

The digital library is searchable in seven languages, with video commentaries from curators alongside material including original maps, manuscripts, photographs and recordings.

The aim is that the material will ultimately be available on personal computers, hand-held devices and some of the basic, inexpensive laptops that are being developed for use in emerging economies.

When library officials displayed their new handiwork, though, the high technology was overshadowed by the ancient treasures it could show off: an elaborate 17th century map of the world with California depicted as a sliced-off island; a 1903 Thomas Edison film of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island; and a 17th century Arabic manuscript on the fundamentals of geometry.

“My name is Fountain Hughes,” declared a firm Southern voice in one of the recordings posted on the site dating to the 1940s. “My grandfather belonged to Thomas Jefferson. My grandfather was 115 years old when he died. And now I am 101 years old.”

The project’s organizers, according to Laura Campbell, an associate librarian at the Library of Congress, are working to raise money, discussing alliances with Nokia and the Vodafone Group and gathering commitments from countries to participate.