Aboriginal rights

Today I was asked why disabled people should be concerned about bill C-51. This was my response :

I’m not sure I’m understanding your question, are you saying that the serious potential for the violation of human rights is not a concern of the disability community? “Demonstrating without an official permit or protesting despite a court order, activities that are commonly carried out by Indigenous communities, environmental groups, the labour movement and many others, could be targeted by the new CSIS powers, even though they are fully protected under the Charter of Rights and international law.
These new powers to reduce security threats by CSIS agents are not defined. The only exclusions are acts that would lead to death, bodily harm, perversion of justice or violation of sexual integrity. Other internationally guaranteed human rights such as liberty, privacy and freedom of expression are not protected from these new CSIS powers.
CSIS agents can also seek authorization from Federal Court Judges for warrants to take action that violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and permits them to act in disregard of local law in the countries where they are operating.” (Amnesty International)

Many disabled people are concerned about this bill, as it impacts our ability to support our rights, and it impacts the rights of those who show solidarity with us.

Say no to Bill C-51! Find a local rally, sign a petition, and contact your MP.

More ways to get involved

LONDON – Members of a tribe in Orissa who have been battling against a multinational mining company now want the director of the Hollywood blockbuster ‘Avatar’ to join their high-profile campaign.

An advertisement placed Monday in Variety, the Hollywood entertainment magazine, informs director James Cameron about the tribe’s fight against the mining company Vedanta Resources – likening it to the story of ‘Avatar.’

The ad says: Appeal to James Cameron: Avatar is fantasy… and real.

The Dongria Kondh tribe in India are struggling to defend their land against a mining company hell-bent on destroying their sacred mountain.

Please help the Dongria. We’ve watched your film – now watch ours, it said referring to a 10-minute documentary film, ‘Mine: Story of a Sacred Mountain,’ made by the British film actress Joanna Lumley.

The advertisement was placed by the international NGO Survival, which said the story of the Dongria Kondh is uncannily similar to that of the Na’vi in Avatar.

The Dongria, who live in the Niyamgiri Hills of Orissa state, have been opposing plans by the British FTSE-100 mining company Vedanta Resources to extract bauxite from the hill which they consider sacred.

Survival director Stephen Corry said: The fundamental story of Avatar – if you take away the multi-coloured lemurs, the long-trunked horses and warring androids – is being played out today in the hills of Niyamgiri.

I do hope that James Cameron will join the Dongria’s struggle to save their sacred mountain and secure their future.