Thursday, 24 June 2010

Welsh not an indigenous people say Commission

It should not need pointing out that the Welsh are in fact the indigenous people of Wales. Most people would not disagree with that and would probably comment that I am highlighting the blindingly obvious by making such a remark. Yet, the Human Rights and Equality Commission last week gave evidence to the Welsh Assembly stating the opposite. The evidence heard by the Welsh Assembly Petitions Committee from the Commission was that "Welsh people within the UK don't fit as an indigenous grouping" and therefore are not entitled to protection under Human Rights legislation, specifically the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

A view was requested from the commission after a 20,000 strong petition was submitted to the Assembly in December last year, asking the government to withdraw from the West Cheshire/North East Wales sub-regional strategy. The evidence presented at the time included detailed extracts from the UN Declaration of Human Rights and specifically the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Evidence was submitted detailing how the plan breached these human rights as it acknowledged it would damage Welsh communities, identity and language through large planned population movements.

You can imagine my surprise when the response from the Human Rights and Equality Commission (yes I'm repeating their title deliberately) is that the Welsh are not classed as an indigenous people. We have no status what so ever in the United Nations and are therefore not entitled to protection under human rights law.

What a nice little loop hole to say that any plan or strategy, no matter how damaging, can be implemented in Wales because the Welsh as a nation don't officially exist. Of course if we were acknowledged as an indigenous people, the West Cheshire plan would be breaching human rights law left right and centre but of course no one has to pay any attention to that in Wales.

Having such a status would also give us the right to protect our language and communities across the country. So the question is really quite simple, do we have a right to exist?

Just in case anyone from the Human Rights Commission clicks on here, the definition of indigenous is as follows:

"originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native".

Here is the link to the Petitions Committee meeting held last week, the relevant info is around 23 minutes in.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

We shall have to protect ourselves then, if there is no law to help us!

bethan said...

I think a campaign is needed here to amend the UN Declaration on human rights so that Welsh people are defined as indigenous peoples. You are correct in stating that our rights are not protected due to this fact. I'd argue whether its a loophole, however, and whether it just means that we have been lumped in with being British, ignoring the fact that we have our own language and culture.

Plaid Queensway said...

I agree Bethan. Although it could certainly be used as a loop hole to avoid facing the issues raised as regards the West Cheshire plan. This is probably the first time people have used the indigenous peoples legislation to challenge anything in Wales. At the first hurdle we've been told it doesn't apply to us because technically we're not included.

Plaid Gwersyllt said...

At the moment all we have is a letter to say were not indigenous but where's the evidence?

Anonymous said...

so how many people on the human rights commission were welsh then?

Plaid Queensway said...

Details for the Wales committee are here:

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/wales/the-commission-in-wales/

Anonymous said...

The Wales Committee is chaired by Ann Beynon who is I understand Leighton Andrews's partner. More Welsh Labour nepotism!!

Anonymous said...

This article is confusing.It seems to indicate that there is paranoia amongst some that an 'invasion' of 'non- Welsh' be they English, Chinese, Polish, Asian etc, will inevitably damage the social structure of 'Welsh' communities.A negative assumption that denies the interesting contributions made possible to good food takeaways, new innovations and in certain valleys- a floundering gene pool?Welcome to the real world....human rights are breached everyday,social justice is a farce, dominant structures prevail and have done for centuries....why enter the dialogue on separatism rather than point to the dangers of capitalism....the daffodil has taken a leek along with the Welsh dollies made in Taiwan in sweatshops by little children- that's where pride in false idols takes you.......one world consciousness is what is needed, routed in a social identity of embracing the new healthier choices grounded in social justice, fair distribution of wealth, equal opportunity irrespective of what language or culture you have been born into- not routed in brand names and worn out patriotic symbols of sentimental nostalgia for glimpses of former glory but dealing with planetary concerns and healthier living options.So fight for small schools fight for the beautiful language but first lets identify what preserves this bitter illusion that keeps us from confronting the lie that we are more significantly strong amongst our fellow brethren, if we can only control our boundaries.Confidence is required and a good story to share our cultural aspirations..........