Foreshore and seabed information   |   Indigenous Peoples Rights

Support the Indigenous Peoples'
Hunger Strike at the UN

Updates on the hunger strike and spiritual fast will be available here as they come in

30 November 2004

Below is the statement from the Indigenous Peoples' Representatives, and their supporters, who have declared a hunger strike and spiritual fast at the United Nations this week to draw attention to the attempts to weaken and undermine the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The statement includes a section on where you can send messages of solidarity; and there is a link below that to the full press release.

As you may be aware, the NZ government is one of those most responsible for undermining the Draft Declaration to the point where it will be essentially meaningless and where it will offer no protection for indigenous peoples basic human rights. Because of the government's reprehensible role, the more messages of support for the strikers and fasters coming from Aotearoa / New Zealand the better. Please take the time to send a message of solidarity to the hunger strikers and fasters today.

Hunger Strike by Indigenous Peoples' Representatives at the United Nations!

Today, November 29th, 2004, at 11 am, we, Indigenous Peoples' delegates, declare a hunger strike and spiritual fast inside the United Nations Palais des Nations in Geneva, during this 3rd week of the 10th session of the Intersessional Working Group on the United Nations Draft Declaration for the Rights on Indigenous Peoples.

We, Indigenous peoples' delegates from different countries, undertake this action, with the support and solidarity of Indigenous Peoples and organizations from around the world, to call the world's attention to the continued attempts by some states, as well as this UN process itself, to weaken and undermine the Draft Declaration developed in the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations and adopted by the UN Subcommission for the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities in 1994.

The Sub Commission text has also been endorsed and supported by hundreds of Indigenous Peoples and organizations around the world as the minimum standard required for the recognition and protection of Indigenous Peoples' rights internationally.

We delegates who will undertake the hunger strike, along with the undersigned Indigenous Peoples, organizations, tribal governments, Nations, communities and Networks, call for the Sub Commission text of the Declaration to be sent back to the UN Commission on Human Rights with the message that in 10 years, proposals by States to weaken or amend the text have not gained the consensus of the Working Group participants, which include both states and Indigenous Peoples.

Mr. Luis Chavez, the Chairman Rapporteur of the Working Group should report this reality and not present a "consolidated text" as if it was "close to consensus." The Commission on Human Rights must establish a process that does not provide a handful of States an opportunity to weaken the human rights of Indigenous Peoples. The process also must take into account the voices of the great numbers of Indigenous Peoples from all parts of the world.

We will not allow our rights to be negotiated, compromised or diminished in this UN process, which was initiated more than 20 years ago by Indigenous Peoples. The United Nations itself says that human rights are inherent and inalienable, and must be applied to all Peoples without discrimination.

We request that the Secretariat of this session immediately inform the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and the High Commissioner herself of this action. We also request that the Secretariat arrange for the hunger strikers to be able remain in the UN during the entire week of the session.

Indigenous delegates participating in the hunger strike inside the United Nations include:

Adelard Blackman, Buffalo River Dene Nation, Canada ;
Andrea Carmen, Yaqui Nation, Arizona United States ;
Alexis Tiouka, Kaliņa, French Guyana ;
Charmaine White Face, Ogala Tetuwan, Sioux Nation Territory, North America ;
Danny Billie, Traditional Independent Seminole Nation of Florida, United States;
Saul Vicente, Zapoteca, Mexico.

  • Send expressions of solidarity from Indigenous Peoples and supporters for the "hunger strike for Indigenous Rights" and for the adoption of the current text of the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to the UN Session during this week.
  • Send faxes to: ++ 41 22 917 00 79 (DoCip, for logistic support); emails to:

    Letters on your organisations letter head would be best; please fax or send by email attachment.

    To have your support letter posted on the IITC web site, also send it to with 'to post' in the subject line.

  • For the full press release including the list of organizations, Nations, Tribal Governments and communities who have signed on in support of this action and of the position presented, see

  • 'Race', 'Privilege', and 'The Treaty'   |   Peace Movement Aotearoa