Often in the process of interstellar exploration, worlds and peoples not known to us are revealed to exist, and we engage in contact. Some such peoples are like ourselves, with high technology and expanding borders which eventually meet our own, while others are only taking their first steps into the void of space.
Regardless of technology level or society development, race or belief, these worlds have certain rights to which we must abide, and we have certain rights they must recognize.
For the purposes of this document, Early contact is the state in which a discovered entity has not elected to join or open trade with another government in the known universe. Trade with an independent organization or person is not a consideration for Early Contact, though the organization’s activities can be governed by applicable to that entity’s native law, and the organization must recognize the rights of the society as outlined, if their native government has signed this document.
Those in a state of early contact are hereafter known as “the Discovered”, and those governments who discover them are hereafter known as “the Discoverers”.
The Discovered have the right to safety, and as such the area extending from any star under their control to one-quarter of a light-year in radius is to be considered under their control. This will hereafter be referred to as an “indigenous zone”. Mobile structures that any signed government has placed within this area must be moved upon the request of the government of the discovered people or peoples, and this extends to include the atmosphere, surfaces, bodies of water, and interior of any planet in the indigenous zone.
Also, there is to be no use of stealth or weaponry in the system by any signed party within the indigenous zone, unless a clear threat to life manifests.
These people have the right to understanding. An honest effort at using the native language of the race, or giving needed language data to translate the Discoverer’s language must be made.
The Discovered have the right to information. Upon request, limited network access is permitted, solely to allow information about the different races and governments in known space, as well as history. This does not extend to criminal files, star maps, pornography, or technological data.
The presence of ships is also required to be announced to the government of such a world or people prior to entry into the indigenous zone. If FTL communication has not yet been achieved, contact is required before entering the outermost planet’s orbit, or 5 AU of the outermost inhabited world, whichever comes first.
The Discovered have the right to unhindered deliberation, taking as much time as they wish to come to any decision without any threat or consequence. This decision should be reached through their native government’s process.
The Discovered have the right to denial, in which case they can turn away or decline early contact, or any proposal given in early contact, without fear of violence or coercion. They need not give a reason for their decision. A government turned away from first contact may not try again for another half-year, as defined as the time it takes for a half-orbit of the innermost inhabited world around their star to complete.
Even if denial is issued, and regardless of duration of denial, the indigenous zone is maintained as long as formal trade or membership with another government is not initiated.
The Discovered have the right to native control, and must give consent for a vessel to make a landing upon any of their holdings. For the purposes of communication, a vessel may enter the indigenous zone and establish orbit, but must leave upon demand.
Also, the contactor must contact the government before making their existence known en masse, and operate with the government to initiate first contact. Should any announcements or preparations to the people and society be deemed necessary, the government has the right to do so.
This can take as long as necessary, even if it lasts generations.
The Discovered have the right to their own resources, and no materials shall be taken from the indigenous zone without the consent of the native government.
The Discovered have the right to select their own representative for communicating with the Discoverer, whom will be granted diplomatic immunity save for capital offenses. Diplomatic immunity can be revoked if it is suspected that an intentional malicious effort is involved. This is so that misunderstandings of local law do not result in criminal charges.
The Discovered have the right to pursue contacts, trade agreements, and treaties which whoever they choose. They may select the government they wish to rule under by merit, and not be coerced or limited by their location in traditional expansion areas of space. They can also speak with whoever they choose.
The normal expansion areas of signing governments does not apply to indigenous worlds, and requires the establishment of a travel route between the planet and parent government, if all parties are signers.
The Discoverer has the right to safety, and can leave at any time they feel threatened. They also have the right to ask for the government’s cooperation in keeping them safe from extremists or dangerous persons.
They can use weapons and firearms ONLY if all other methods, including communication and escape, have failed.
The Discoverer has the right to their information, and cannot be told that any deal is contingent on releasing classified data or technical schematics.
The Discoverer has the right to denial, and can terminate contact at any time, for any reason.
The Discoverer has the right to appeal, and can return every half year to ask for contact if previously denied. This half year is again defined as the time it takes for a half-orbit of the innermost inhabited world around their star to complete.
The Discoverer has the right to diplomatic immunity, if contact is assented to by the discoverer. This does not extend to capital offenses. Diplomatic immunity can be revoked if it is suspected that an intentional malicious effort is involved. This is so that misunderstandings of local law do not result in criminal charges.
Upon introduction of the Discoverer to the Discovered, and the notification of intent to engage in contact, this document must be sent to the Discovered for their consideration, so they know their rights. A Discoverer representing a sign MUST abide by this document at all times, regardless of if the Discovered sign.
The Discoverer is obligated to assist in translating and explaining the document to the discovered, and if the Discovered do not sign, the Discoverer understands that they are initiating contact at their own risk.
If the Discovered sign, they agree to acknowledge the rights of the Discoverer throughout the contact process, not just for this individual Discoverer, but all governments who have before and since signed.
Once the Discovered have selected to trade or join a government, this document no longer applies, save for the founding of the travel route between the Discovered and their new parent government. The old indigenous zone will be deemed under the joint control of the Discovered and parent government.