Rehoboth Baster Community

Statement at the UNWGIP 1995

Published by Jul 25, 1995

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A summary of the statement on behalf of the Rehoboth Basters to the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1995

REHOBOTH BASTER COMMUNITY 25th July, 1995

Distinguish Madame Chairperson, Distinguished members of the working group, Members of observational governments, Members of the non governmental organizations, Members of all indigenous peoples

We the Rehoboth Baster Community regards as the greatest and most magnificent achievement on the working group the unification of 350,000,000 souls into solidarity as well as their laudable effort to restore the dignity and rights of these peoples as stated in the draft `DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' We felt committed towards this achievements and the goals set for a better future for all indigenous peoples

It is thus with great sadness that we read on page 12 paragraph 23 of the document E/CN/Sub2/1994/30 that 82 indigenous participants lodged a partition against us expressing concern about an alleged racist background. In order to clarify this cross misunderstanding we will make a paper available concerning the opinion of the Director of Human Rights in Namibia, Mr Phil Ya Nangolo on our case. Furthermore we wish to extend a friendly invitations to all those who are concerned about our history and background to contact us in order to acquaint themselves with the facts and satisfy their concerns.

Madame Chairperson, we implore the working group to speed up the procedures in order to implement this draft declaration.

Since our leader Captain Diergaardt made his first speech to this conference in 1993, we lost all our communal and ancestral land as well as resources of income. We would not like this to happen to others of our indigenous brothers and sisters.

Although the era of colonial rule for many of us have change, the position did not change. We are still discriminated against by majority groups and authorities still ignored the rights of indigenous population as set out in the draft declaration by the working group of the United Nations.

It is therefore of the utmost importance that a time limit for the implementation of this resolution should be envisaged.

Our forefathers as long back as 1923 petitioned to the League of Nations against the atrocities committed against us by the colonial powers. The original documents are still available in the archives of this building. Today we have nothing not even the privilege to educate our children in our own mother-tongue. All because time was against us.

Let prejudice not lead us astray from reason, but let us unite in solidarity and make use of the opportunity which the working groups of the United Nations on Indigenous Peoples present to us for creating a permanent forum for indigenous peoples.

In conclusion, Madame Chairperson, may we, Rehoboth Baster Community, wish you and your working group success on your enormous task.

I thank you.

J.C.A. McNab