August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Friday, November 5, 2010

US Mexico Border Women Will Hold Hunger Strike in DC

U.S.-Mexico Border Women Will Hold Hunger Strike in DC

November, 2010

Demanding Alternatives to Violence, Poverty for Long-Term Security By La Mujer Obrera View campaign video at:

EL PASO – Ten women whose families have been impacted by the violence, poverty and unemployment engulfing the Ciudad Juarez/El Paso border region are launching a hunger strike in front of the White House at noon on Monday, November 8. They call on federal decision-makers focused on short-sighted border security initiatives to establish immediate and long-term strategies to support community-led development of the nation’s poorest region.The women, who live in El Paso and have family members on both sides of the border, are part of the nationally recognized grassroots organization, La Mujer Obrera, one of several organizations on the U.S.-Mexico border committed to long term development. Read more ...

GENEVA: Peltier Case a Stain on US Human Rights Record

Contact: Delaney Bruce, Legal Team Liaison, Leonard Peltier Defense
Offense Committee, PO Box 7488, Fargo, ND 58106, USA; Telephone:

Peltier case a stain on US human rights record
By Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
Censored News

Today, the United States submitted to a review by the United Nations Human Rights Council as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), an assessment of a government’s compliance with human rights obligations.
The Council reviews each member nation every four years. This was the
United States’ first review. Representatives from the U.S. presented its report and answered questions from the Council and UN member nations.
Native Americans have eagerly awaited a sign that the U.S. has listened to their concerns about the Peltier case, but were disappointed to see no mention of it in the U.S. report.
“A good place for the U.S. to have started was to simply acknowledge that politically motivated prosecutions are a reality in the U.S.,” said a spokesperson for the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee, one of 300 human rights organizations that contributed to a stakeholders
report submitted to the Council.
An innocent man, Native American activist Leonard Peltier was wrongfully convicted in connection with the 1975 shooting deaths of two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Tried separately, his co-defendants were found not guilty by reason of self-defense.
“With no evidence whatsoever, the FBI decided to ‘lock Peltier into the case’. Government officials presented false statements to a Canadian court to extradite Peltier to the U.S. where prosecutors went judge shopping and venue hopping to secure a conviction. In a racially
charged courtroom, prosecutors lied to the judge, ignored court orders, and made inappropriate statements to the jury. They intentionally hid evidence of Peltier’s innocence and instead manufactured a ‘murder weapon’. As the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has noted, ‘these
facts are not disputed’.”
Peltier has been designated a political prisoner by Amnesty International. Various governments and dignitaries—including Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, as well as the late Mother Theresa— have called for his release.
In addition to working to win Peltier’s freedom, the LPDOC advocates for Indigenous rights, overall criminal justice reform, and the abolishment of the death penalty.
“Frankly, we consider the long-term imprisonment of Leonard Peltier in the harshest of conditions, and repeated denials of parole despite his having met all eligibility requirements, a de facto death sentence.”
Imprisoned for nearly 35 years, Peltier was denied parole in 2009.
“The guarantee of a fair trial is recognized as fundamental—not only in the U.S., but also by the signatory nations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This case exemplifies how the U.S. government is willing to use its judicial system as an instrument of revenge and a tool of political repression against those who dare to criticize the domestic and foreign policies of the United States.”
Demonstrations in support of Leonard Peltier and other political prisoners occurred today at U.S. court houses and U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide.
The LPDOC pledges to continue its work to hold the U.S. government accountable and see that UPR recommendations are fully implemented.
Submission to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Ninth Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) Working Group on the UPR 22 November-3 December 2010. Stakeholder Submission by the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee:
US Versus Leonard Peltier: Evidence of a Wrongful Conviction. From the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:

UN Periodic Review: US torture, racial profiling of migrants and phony war on terrorism

"Let there be no doubt, the United States does not torture and it will not torture," Harold Hongju Koh, State Department legal adviser, told the council.
more by Harold Koh - 1 hour ago - Reuters
The first ever UN Periodic Review of US Human Rights today in Geneva:
US Defends Human Rights Record at UN
By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA Fri Nov 5, 2010 2:56pm EDT

GENEVA (Reuters) - The United States defended itself against criticism of its human rights record from friend and foe alike on Friday in a United Nations forum that the former Bush administration had boycotted as hypocritical.

Senior U.S. officials said President Barack Obama's government had begun "turning the page" on practices of George W. Bush's administration that had caused global outrage, and denied allegations that the U.S. used torture.

"Let there be no doubt, the United States does not torture and it will not torture," Harold Hongju Koh, State Department legal adviser, told the council.

"Between Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo we have conducted hundreds of investigations regarding detainee abuse allegations and those have led to hundreds of disciplinary actions."

Bush had shunned the U.N. Human Rights Council, saying it did not need to be scolded by countries such as Syria and Cuba whose own records on human rights were poor. It also accused the council of being biased against Israel.

But U.S. conduct in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and its campaign against terrorism -- notably its treatment of prisoners in the Guantanamo Bay prison and the Abu Ghraib jail near Baghdad -- has come under heavy criticism from many human rights organizations in recent years.

The Obama administration was committed to closing Guantanamo and ensuring that all detainees held at home or in the war on terrorism were treated humanely, U.S. officials said.

But closing the U.S. prison at Guantanamo, which now holds 174 detainees, was very complex and required help from allies, the U.S. courts and Congress.

The council will issue its recommendations on Tuesday and the U.S. delegation will indicate which of them are acceptable before reporting back in March when a final report is adopted.

QUEUE TO Criticize

The council's first review of the U.S. rights record was part of a gradual examination of the performance of all 192 U.N. members over a four-year period.

Diplomats from countries at odds with Washington -- some of whom queued overnight to be among the first on the speakers' list -- hammered the U.S. delegation for alleged abuses.

Cuban ambassador Rodolfo Reyes Rodriguez spoke first, calling on Washington to end its embargo on the communist-ruled island and to respect its people's right to self-determination.

Iran's delegation accused the United States of violating human rights though covert CIA operations "carried out on pretext of combating terrorism."

But allies also chided the United States.

European countries said Washington should ban the death penalty. Mexico urged it to halt racial profiling and the use of lethal force in controlling illegal migration over their border.

"U.S. officials were often reduced to restating current practices that grossly violate human rights, like the death penalty, poor prison conditions and sentencing youth offenders to life without parole," said Antonio Ginatta of the New York-based group Human Rights Watch.

Amnesty International, recalling its long-standing appeals for ending indefinite detention of prisoners and trials before military commissions in Guantanamo, said that the United States must also hold accountable those responsible for torture.

"These recommendations must be at the heart of rebuilding the United States' human rights record," it said in a statement.

"We feel we got a fair hearing. This is part of an ongoing process to engage with the Council and the U.N.," Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, told a news briefing after a three-hour debate.

(Editing by Michael Roddy)