NGO Documents for the UN
Commission on Sustainable Development 8th Session, 2000
[ Back to NGO
Documents for CSD ]
Human Rights Caucus to CSD 1999
Cui Bono? - To Whom the Benefit?
Due to the close relationship between protecting the
human rights of people and safeguarding their lives, livelihood,
community, resources and environment, the Human Rights Caucus to the
Commission on Sustainable Development was specifically called upon by
representatives of NGO's to address the following issues:
1) Production and Consumption Patterns [of the
It has been a major failure of the CSD that the military
has not been identified as a sector. In response to this intentional and
seven year omission, we raise the Latin dictum cui bono? Along with the
Norwegian Forum* for Environment and Development, the HR Caucus calls on
the CSD to rectify this error. We deplore the on-going evasion by
governments that keep the military out of these discussions and protect
the military, and those who profit from the manufacture and trade of
ordnance, from the scrutiny applied to other sectors that are reviewed
during the meetings of the CSD. The Rio Declaration on Environment and
Development in Principles 24 ( on the impact of war on the environment)
and 25 ( on the interdependence and indivisibility of peace, development
and environmental protection) mandate such scrutiny.
We call upon the governments to investigate, study,
analyse, report, and publicise all of the environmental, economic, social
and opportunity costs of the military sector. The military is the most
destructive and costly sector of all social sectors, and the worse
polluter world-wide. Not only must the consumption and production patterns
of the military be examined and reported on, but this data must then be
compared to the data on the worldwide increase in human rights violations
and hunger, disease, pollution, lack of potable water, illiteracy,
oppression, violence, commercial exploitation, unemployment, and infant
mortality to demonstrate the fallacy of the poorly chosen priorities of
the elite who control the corporations and governments around the world.
Cui bono? The shareholders who receive annual reports, but not the
majority of humanity ~ the earth that sustains us or the next generations.
2) Tourism [that Exploits the Cultural and Spiritual
Values of Indigenous Peoples].
The recent public displays for scientific and commercial
profit by the National Geographic Society and the Florida International
Museum of the human remains of Inca ancestors** violates Articles 5 and 1
of ILO Convention 169. The remains and funerary objects were at sacred
ritual burial sites near the peaks of the mountains venerated as the
Spirit of God. People in Peru - descendants of the Incas - adhere to
traditional beliefs of the Incas and regard these burial sites as sacred
and consider the anthropologists who trespassed to be as criminal as grave
robbers. Indigenous people and concerned NGO's cite US Public Law 101-601,
the '"Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act"
for recourse and in calling for application worldwide of a uniform
standard of protection.
The spirituality of indigenous peoples must be taken
into account by the tourist industry ... symbols of genocide- the remains
of Indigenous peoples should not be used to attract tourists.
The HR Caucus calls upon the governments of the ON to
adopt the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to
provide immediate protection of the rights of the Incas to safeguard their
religion and sacred and cultural heritage from scientific and commercial
exploitation. The Draft Declaration reads that "States shall take
effective measures, in conjunction with the Indigenous peoples concerned,
to ensure that Indigenous sacred places, including burial sites, be
preserved, respected and protected."
3) Small Island Developing States [Bermuda]:
The HR Caucus calls on the governments of the ON to
guarantee to the people of the Small Island Developing State of Bermuda,
their right to self-determination i.e., the right of the people to decide
on their own political status or form of government, without outside
influence. This right has been recognized and heralded by all of the
nations that have emerged from their colonial ties since the end of World
War n and by the United Nations. The International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, each declares in common in Article I, that all peoples
have the right to self-determination. These covenants, which have been
adopted by the United Kingdom, require that States Parties to these
Covenants shall promote the realization of the right of
self-determination, and respect that right, in conformity with the Charter
of the United Nations.
These covenants also grant that by virtue of the right
of self-determination the people may freely pursue their economic, social
and cultural development.
4) Call for the "Uniting for Peace
Resolution" by the General Assembly with Respect to Kosovo
The HR Caucus also calls on the governments of the UN to
condemn the use of war fare for disputes resolutions as an egregious
violation of Articles 33 through 38 of Chapter Six of the Charter of the
United Nations regarding Pacific Settlement of Disputes- Given the extreme
human suffering of the people of Iraq and Kosovo, and the destruction of
their societies by aggressor nations, we call upon the General Assembly to
apply the "Uniting for Peace Resolution" (resolution 377 of the
General Assembly passed in 1950).
Under the "Uniting for Peace" resolution the
Assembly may take action if the Security Council - because of a lack of
unanimity of its permanent members -fails to act in a case where there-
appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of
aggression. The Assembly is empowered to consider this matter immediately
with a view to making recommendations to members for collective measures,
to maintain or restore international peace and security. We call on
governmental officials who work in our names to make use of the diplomatic
relationships and friendships that abound here. We call on all UN member
states to obtain a peaceful resolution to the situations in Kosovo and
Iraq. We deplore the environmental devastation -caused by the bombings and
call upon the countries responsible to desist immediately from their
environmentally devastating actions as required by Principle 24 of the Rio
Declaration on Environment and Development.
5) Payment of Membership Dues to the United Nations.
The HR Caucus notes that financial constraints inhibit
the CSD and the UN in general from effectively playing their roles in
safeguarding the environment. Therefore, the HR Caucus calls upon the
member nations to make immediate payment of their dues owed to the United
Nations on pain of loss of voting rights.
April 30,1999 . New York New York
*.ForUM Position Paper for CSD 1999- "Wanted on CSD
Agenda: the Military Sector's Production and Consumption of Goods."
**."Desecration of Indigenous Burial Sites and
Display of Indigenous Remains,." by M. Samuel and R. Mucaro Borrero,
April 23 ~ 1999.