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.