[Ppnews] Message from the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Aug 9 11:23:18 EDT 2006

To: Leonard Peltier Supporters
From: Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Subject: Indigenous peoples and conflict resolution - UN Commission on Human

Please click here for photos of Bobby Castillo, International Spokesperson,
Leonard Peltier Defense Committee at UN Commission on Human Rights:
July 31, 2006 - August 4, 2006:


Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights
Working Group on Indigenous Peoples
Twenty Third Session
31July - 04 August 2006

Statement of Bobby Castillo -
International Spokesperson for Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

Item 4

Review of developments pertaining to the promotion and protection of human
rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples

(c)  "Indigenous peoples and conflict resolution"

  Mr. Chairperson,

On behalf of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, I would like to express
our thoughts on the theme "Indigenous peoples and conflict resolution".

On February 27, 1973, members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) began
their seventy-two day occupation of the village of Wounded Knee on the Pine
Ridge Lakota Reservation. Their goal was to protest injustices against their
indigenous nations, violations of the many treaties, and current abuses and
repression against their people. The U.S. government responded with a
military style assault against the protesters.

Throughout the next three years, long referred to by local Indigenous
Peoples and by the U.S. - Commission on Civil Rights, as the "Reign of
Terror," the FBI carried out a Counterinsurgency war on the Pine Ridge
Reservation. During this "Reign of Terror," some sixty-four local Native
Americans were murdered. Virtually all of the victims were either affiliated
with AIM or their allies from the Lakota Nation. The FBI had jurisdiction to
investigate major crimes, yet these deaths were never adequately
investigated nor resolved.

The strife between the FBI and AIM culminated in a shootout on June 26, 1975
in Oglala. When the shootout ended, AIM member Joseph Killsright Stuntz lay
dead, shot in the head by a U.S. Government sniper.  His death has also
never been investigated. Two FBI agents also found death that day. As you
well know, Mr. Chair, these events led to the wrongful incarceration of
Leonard Peltier.

After more than 30 years, the U.S. Government still won't recognize nor
correct the wrongs of the past. Therefore, again this year, the Lakota
people of Oglala organized another Commemoration last June 26th under the
theme "Let the Great Healing Begin" to remember the people who died during
the Reign of Terror and to call for the release of Leonard Peltier. The
community uses traditional ways such as prayers, ceremonies and conferences
with youth and elders to heal the sacred hoop.  Truth, justice and
reconciliation are needed between Indigenous Peoples and States around the

We should all together be able to heal the transgressions of the past and to
find a way to put an end to the injustices historically perpetrated on
Indigenous peoples. We feel that wounds and scars of our peoples will heal
one day. We are led to believe that most issues in our struggle to survive
encourage forms of alternative justice and traditional, as well as
contemporary ways of conflict resolution.

Mr. Chairperson, as it is mentioned on last years' report
(E/CN.4/sub.2/2004) paragraph 40: "Serious consideration should be given to
arbitration as a means of conflict resolutions". Therefore our organization
would like to renew our call for the creation of an international mechanism
with the mandate to act as an impartial third parties to help establish
dialogue between States and Indigenous peoples for peaceful resolution. This
mechanism would have been very important this year during several conflicts
involving indigenous peoples (in Osweken / Six Nations in Canada, in the
community of Atenco or in Chiapas - Mexico, in indigenous lands in Colombia
or in Kanaky). We would like also to have a thought for the Bedouin peoples
and all civilians suffering in Palestine and Lebanon.

We need to find ways to help us survive these difficult times. Therefore we
are grateful that this Working Group has initiated this very important
debate on Indigenous peoples and conflict resolution. This shows the
importance of the work of this Working Group because it give an opportunity
to us indigenous peoples to present the development of our fundamental
rights and to the United Nations to act at different level by standard
setting and independent review. We hope that all together we will find
solutions for a world of peace, justice and equitality..

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

Bobby Castillo, LPDC International Spokesperson

Leonard Peltier Defense Committee

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