The statement said the Aboriginal autonomous act proposed by President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration was a backward bill that violated the Constitution and the current global trend of respecting Aborigines’ rights.I pointed to some of problems resulting from the new act and in general, development on the east coast here. This should also be connected back to the long term "shock doctrine" use of the Morakot disaster as a way to lever mountain peoples off their lands so they can be "developed" without the inconvenience of Other People's Ownership. If you ride your bike around the lower altitudes of mountain areas of Taiwan, you will run across cookie cutter style homes, like this one in Majia Township in Pingtung at about 400m, into which local aborigines are being moved from the mountains.
Representatives from the coalition called on legislators to boycott the bill and also urged Aborigines not to vote for Ma and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) in the election Jan. 14 presidential and legislative elections.
Describing the bill as an “empty shell,” National Dong Hwa University College of Indigenous Studies director Shih Cheng-feng (施正鋒) said the bill did not grant Aborigines their own land.
This being so, Shih asked how Aborigines could establish their autonomous regions.
He said the bill stipulated that Aborigines could establish offices and councils in their respective tribes, but it did not abolish current administrative districts. This means that any executive decisions made by tribal regions would have to negotiate with township and county governments, which means they would be likely to go nowhere.
Amis representative Konon Panay (古孟巴奈) said the central government did not define and grant Aboriginal lands, but it has been depriving Aborigines of their lands in the name of development.
The Eastern Development Act (東部發展條例) was approved in June by the legislature and aims to develop land in Hualien and Taitung counties, allowing big developers to destroy land traditionally owned by Aborigines and threatening to ruin the lives of Amis Aborigines, Panay said.
That too is part of the historical drive of the various colonial governments of Taiwan to move the aborigines out of their mountain homes and take over those resources.
Aborigines are a key KMT constituency. Of course, so are the big businesses that support the KMT, so it is not difficult to see why this law is going through just prior to the election. Recall that even if Ma loses, there will be a four month interregnum before Tsai takes over. Although I don't subscribe to any of the wilder theories one hears floating around about what will happen, it is fairly obvious it will be giveaway time for government assets. With this new law just in time for that.... ADDED: Drew responds and elaborates.
The THRAC sent out a letter on the law this week
Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada calls on ROC Executive Yuan to withdraw draft Indigenous Autonomy ActDecember 5, 2011
On December 5 the Indigenous People’s Action Coalition (台灣原住民族真實自治聯盟) held a press conference at the Legislative Yuan to protest against the Executive Yuan’s draft Indigenous Autonomy Act (原住民自治法草案). They decried it as “false self government” because it offers neither fiscal power nor land rights, and would be subject to the existing township/district governments.
THRAC supports the position of the Indigenous People’s Action Coalition, and makes the following statement:
(1) We support the right of Taiwan’s Indigenous Peoples to Self Government
Indigenous self-government is a basic right of Taiwan Indigenous Peoples, and a hope for which they have struggled over many years. Indigenous self-government not only implies managing their own affairs, it also is beneficial to the development of self-identity, continuation of traditional culture, and possession and protection of natural resources in their traditional territories.
(2) The law should uphold the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
In that Declaration it states: Indigenous peoples, in exercising their right to self-determination, have the right to autonomy or self-government in matters relating to their internal and local affairs, as well as ways and means for financing their autonomous functions”.
The Executive Yuan draft Indigenous Autonomy Act offers an extremely low level of self governing authority, within which Indigenous people have no power to use and manage the resources on their land, and so seriously violates the spirit of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
3. The draft Indigenous Autonomy Act should be withdrawn and rewritten
The current draft essentially strips Indigenous peoples of their right to self government, and lacks the fundamental elements of real self-government. As a draft “without land, without fiscal authority, without real power” it should be withdrawn and rewritten, so as to give Indigenous people real autonomy.
Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada
President Michael Stainton and the Executive Committee
Toronto, Canada, December 5, 2011
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