[News] Listening Conferences for UN Report: No one was listening to Native Americans
news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Aug 24 17:25:21 EDT 2010
Listening Conferences for UN Report: No one was listening to Native Americans
By Brenda Norrell
Updated Aug. 24, 2010
It appears no one was listening at the US State Department's
Listening Conferences this year, when Native Americans offered
testimony on human rights for a report to the United Nations.
The US Periodic Review on Human Rights released Monday, Aug. 23,
shows the Obama Administration giving itself a glossy, positive
review on the issue of Native Americans and human rights to the
United Nations Human Rights Council.
However, the release of the final document proves Russell Means was
accurate when he described the Listening Conferences as a "Smokescreen."
"Once again, the occupation government of the United States of
America has trotted out its dogs and ponies to provide a smokescreen
and diversion from its continuing crimes against the indigenous
peoples and nations of the Western Hemisphere," Means said in March.
The US report to the UN fails to describe the ongoing environmental
genocide, where corporations in collusion with the US government
target Indian country with power plants, coal mines and oil and gas wells.
The United States does not address the uranium mining that now
threatens water supplies of Navajos or Lakotas, nor of the proposed
Desert Rock power plant that threatens the health of Navajos. There
is no mention of the so-called Navajo Hopi land dispute that resulted
in the relocation of 14,000 Navajos on Black Mesa. It was
manufactured by attorneys, Congressmen and Peabody Coal to make way
for Peabody Coal mining. The report does does not mention the
Forgotten Navajos of the Bennett Freeze zone, where development was
frozen by federal legislation.
The US report does not address the poisoned groundwater of the Tohono
O'odham from mining, nor the conditions on South Dakota Indian lands.
It does not address the violations of the rights of the Western
Shoshone as gold mining targets sacred Mount Tenabo. There is no
mention of how the use of recycled sewage water on sacred San
Francisco Peaks will affect American Indian Nations.
There is no mention of the radioactive spills and radioactive
tailings strewn across the Navajo Nation or the live Cold War bombs
in the Badlands on Pine Ridge, S.D. There is no mention of the
genocide of uranium mining, leaving behind a legacy of cancer and
death, in Acoma and Laguna Pueblos. There was no mention of testimony
to protect Zuni Pueblo sacred places.
The US Periodic Review fails to address the widespread abuses by the
US Border Patrol of Indigenous Peoples traveling in their own
territories, or the violations of NAGPRA and other federal laws
during construction of the US/Mexico border wall. This included
Boeing digging up the ancestors of the O'odham.
There is no mention of the physical abuse of Haudenosaunee and others
on the northern border by border agents. The US fails to describe the
racial profiling that has become acceptable for police and border
agents in the US. There is no mention of the destruction of
ceremonial items by border agents.
The US does not address the violations of fishing and hunting rights
of Native Americans in violations of Treaties. There is no mention of
the loss of water rights.
The report fails to describe the targeting of American Indians by
police during traffic stops, the longer prison sentences issued by
courts for American Indians or the ongoing hate crimes in Indian
country bordertowns. The US fails to admit to the denials of American
Indian religious freedom in US prisons.
While giving a sweeping rosy report of the United States in regards
to Native Americans and human rights, the US says it is considering
passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The US fails to point out that it is trailing all the other countries
in the world in adoption of the Declaration.
The US is currently attempting a flim-flam approach to the adoption
of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. But
Indigenous Peoples say that US laws of "Discovery" and "Conquest" can
not supersede the UN Declaration.
Tonya Gonellaa Frichner, Onondaga, said the US House of
Representatives submitted Resolution 1551.1H to Congress and referred
it to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on July 22.
"The resolution expresses the sense of Congress that the United
States should 'promote respect for and full implementation of the
provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
consistent with US law.'
"As positive as this wording of the resolution may seem, the phrase
'consistent with US law' is highly problematic because US law with
regard to American Indian nations and peoples is premised on
unacceptable doctrines such as 'discovery,' 'conquest,' and 'plenary
power,' and on a presumption of United States supremacy over
Indigenous peoples," said Frichner, North American Regional
Representative to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
"The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is an
international human rights instrument that recognizes the individual,
collective, and group rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the
right of self-determination, and the right of Indigenous Peoples to
give or withhold their free, prior, and informed consent when it
comes to the exploitation of their Indigenous lands, territories, and
"It is incumbent upon the United States government to fully endorse
and implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
in a manner consistent with international standards of human rights,
and in keeping with the recognition of the individual, group, and
collective rights of Indigenous Peoples," she said.
Meanwhile, in the Periodic Review to the UN, while applauding
freedom of expression in America, the US fails to point out that
spying on private citizens is nearing the Cold War spying level.
There is no mention of ongoing US war crimes.
The ACLU, in its response to the US Periodic Report, stressed the US
abuse of the rights of prisoners and migrants.
Although Window Rock, Ariz., on the Navajo Nation was one site of the
testimony at the Listening Conferences, there are no specifics of
Navajo testimony in the final report.
Although written testimony was presented on behalf of Leonard
Peltier, there is no mention of Peltier in the final report.
Means said, in his statement in March, "As we can see, many
indigenous people have been duped to participate, yet again, in a
lying and duplicitous process of the United States. The United States
has absolutely no interest or intention of admitting to the world its
human rights record that is neither justifiable nor defensible. In
particular, the record of the United States with regard to
historical, and ongoing, violations of over 370 treaties that were
negotiated and signed with indigenous nations must be, but will not
be, addressed by the United States."
The ACLU listed the shortcomings of the report and made
recommendations today, stressing the United States abuse of the
rights of prisoners and migrants:
View the US Periodic Review to the UN Human Rights Council:
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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