ELKO, Nev. - While the United States fails to respond to the United Nations inquiry into violations of human rights of Western Shoshone, supporters have surpassed an original goal of 10,000 signatures to maintain pressure on the government to answer for the harassment of Shoshone people.
''We've got a fight on our hands,'' Western Shoshone Carrie Dann told Indian Country Today, encouraging the United Nations to increase pressure on the United States to uphold the rights of indigenous peoples.
''This is supposed to be democracy?'' Dann asked and described the United States' manipulation of laws that affect American Indians.
''What is democracy? Is democracy destroying the rights of the indigenous people? We don't see any democracy where indigenous people are concerned.''
The United States missed a year-end deadline to answer questions from the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination concerning violations of Western Shoshone human rights and their right to ancestral lands.
The committee issued a list of 10 questions the government failed to answer by Dec. 31. The questions follow a request for urgent action, which, if accepted, would allow the committee to open an investigation into U.S. conduct regarding land issues and the treatment of indigenous people.
Julie Ann Fishel, land recognition program director for the Western Shoshone Defense Project, said Western Shoshone elders see pressure from the United Nations as the only solution; the petition reveals the support of the people.
''It tells the United States the Western Shoshone are not going away,'' Fishel told ICT. ''We will seek out every opportunity and forum to press this issue.''
Fishel said Western Shoshone rights are a fundamental human rights issue that affects all of civil society in the United States. Further, Western Shoshone hope pressure from the United Nations will increase awareness of indigenous rights as a mainstream issue.
Dann and Fishel were interviewed by telephone in Miami, where they are participating in the Seventh Tribal Sovereignty Symposium, ''Sovereignty and Sustainable Development of Indigenous Peoples.''
Siegfried Wiessner, professor of international law and constitutional law at the St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami, said the recognition of indigenous rights worldwide has made tremendous progress.
''There has been a remarkable resurgence of indigenous rights,'' Wiessner told ICT.
Indigenous rights of self-governance, recognition of autonomy and the execution of treaties are progressing worldwide. Indigenous peoples are transcending borders and coming together as never before to communicate, and the mass media is helping advance indigenous rights, he said.
''Indigenous people are coming together because this is the air they breathe, the land where they live.''
Western Shoshone plan to travel in a delegation to Geneva, Switzerland, in March to meet with UNCERD members and present their case and the petition.
The petition states that the U.S. government is violating the rights of the Western Shoshone to ancestral lands - rights recognized by the Treaty of Ruby Valley of 1863. The lands in question cover 60 million acres stretching across Nevada, Idaho, Utah and California.
The United States, without Western Shoshone consent, has allowed gold mining and military testing of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons on their ancestral lands. Further, Western Shoshone said they are denied fair resolution in U.S. courts.
The United States claims the lands are ''public'' lands and no longer belong to the Western Shoshone. The Bureau of Land Management has upheld impound notices for Western Shoshone livestock in Nevada and imposed heavy trespass fines. This was done while the United States was attempting to privatize large tracts of land for the expansion of multinational gold companies' mining operations.
Without voice or resolution in the United States, the Western Shoshone appealed to the United Nations demanding reform of U.S. laws that allow for the theft and destruction of indigenous lands.
Western Shoshone said the preservation of the cultural and spiritual integrity of their way of life is dependent on protection of the land. Currently, Western Shoshone are faced with the threat of a high-level nuclear waste dump on Yucca Mountain and open-pit gold mining at Mount Tenabo, both areas spiritually significant to Western Shoshone.
The WSDP petition is being carried out in partnership with Oxfam America. The Boston-based international development and relief agency, an affiliate of Oxfam International, delivers development programs and emergency relief services. Oxfam campaigns for change in global practices and policies that keep people in poverty.
''This is a critical land rights issue. The federal government needs to be held accountable for violating treaties with Indian nations, as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has clearly established,'' said Oxfam America's Laura Inouye, referring to an earlier decision by that body which found the BLM had violated Western Shoshone rights to due process, property rights and equality.
''A similar finding by UNCERD will help the Western Shoshone press their case for justice.''
NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
Merry chrismass and A
Happy new year in advance
to you all and your
Peace and Love Prevail on
EarthM'Bele ka Limba
Family and friends John
3:16 For God so
loved the world, that he
gave his only begotten
After witnessing fish
being stolen from one of
the poorest regions on
the world, Greenpeace and
the Environmental Justice
from Guinea(West Africa),
are preparing to arrest
Above are Noemi
Köhler ,Judith with
Beautiful Salesladies of
Please join our Group in
Please join our Group in
Click on people’s
faces in the photo to
Unser Tombola war
an Alle besucher von
Unser Sommerfest ( 12
Juni 2010) in Amorbach ,
Sie haben wirklich Unsere
Tombola LOse kräftig
gekauft das Wir Über
400 Euro verkauft...
für unsere Tombola!
Sehr Geehrte Damen und
Die Pinoy Group in
wollen am 28 November
in unser Haus /Hof
Das ist auch
Like MOthers, like
Before going there,
we wished them all
The Candidates or the
Beauty and Talents
Matea and daughter
Roseaileen and daughter
Caroline and Daughter
Eunica Hija and Daughter
they were al...