World Council of Churches (WCC) Statement On The Doctrine Of Discovery And Its Enduring Impact On Indigenous Peoples

WCC Executive Committee
14-17 February 2012
Bossey, Switzerland

1. Indigenous Peoples have the oldest living cultures in the world. Three hundred to five hundred million Indigenous Peoples today live in over 72 countries around the world, and they comprise at least 5,000 distinct peoples. The ways of life, identities, well-being and very existence of Indigenous People are threatened by the continuing effects of colonization and national policies, regulations and laws that attempt to force them to assimilate into the cultures of majoritarian societies. A fundamental historical basis and legal precedent for these policies and laws is the “Doctrine of Discovery”, the idea that Christians enjoy a moral and legal right based solely on their religious identity to invade and seize indigenous lands and to dominate Indigenous Peoples. More

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VIETNAM: Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination discusses situation in Viet Nam and Canada with non-governmental organizations

20 February 2012

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination this morning held an interactive dialogue with non-governmental organizations from Viet Nam and Canada. The reports of those two countries will be reviewed by the Committee this week.

Representatives of non-governmental organizations in Viet Nam raised a number of issues concerning discrimination against the Montagnard Degar people in Viet Nam including arbitrary detention for men, forced sterilization among women, land confiscation without compensation and the unlawful imprisonment of 400 individuals for their Christian faith and exercising their right to peaceful assembly. Speakers also noted the racial discrimination against the Khmer Krom indigenous people in the Mekong Delta of Viet Nam whose ancestral lands were confiscated by the Government and whose religious freedom was denied on the grounds that these minorities were a threat to society. More

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