August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Native Hawaiians Vow to Protect Mauna Kea from Telescope Desecration

Native Hawaiians Battle to Protect Mauna Kea from Desecration

July 11th, 2019
Today David Ige reaffirmed the State of Hawaiʻiʻs commitment to ensure the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea beginning Monday, July 15, 2019. Ige also reaffirmed the State’s commitment to protect the interests of foreign private corporations rather than the rights of the people of Hawaiʻi through a long, coordinated and organized mass mobilization of Hawai‘i law enforcement at the expense of Hawaiʻi tax-payers.
ʻAkahi, Kanaka Maoli have never given consent to the construction of the TMT on Maunakea. In fact, we have overwhelmingly demonstrated our opposition to the construction of the TMT in every venue; court cases, testimonies, declarations, hearings, forums, and community meetings. The most explicit examples were the series of large protests and arrests of dozens of Kiaʻi (Protectors) on Maunakea which physically halted the construction of the TMT in 2015.
ʻAlua, Kanaka Maoli reassert our rights to our national crown and government lands. The TMT Corporation has no interest or ownership in the land. The summit of Maunakea, specifically the exact location where the TMT Corporation hopes to build their telescope, are national lands of Kanaka Maoli. Indeed, the TMT Corporation has a mere sublease from the University of Hawaiʻi.
ʻAkolu, we reaffirm that Maunakea is sacred to Kanaka Maoli. The summit of Maunakea is kapu as the highest point in the Pacific. Therefore, like all humanity, we have sacred places that should be recognized and protected.
ʻAhā, we emphasize that the summit of Maunakea is a conservation district. It is environmentally sensitive and pristine. Yet the TMT Corporation plans to build a telescope that is over 180 feet tall in a place that lawfully should be afforded the highest level of environmental protection as a recognized conservation district.
ʻAlima, Kanaka Maoli will continue to assert and increase stewardship of Mauna Kea. We affirm our rights as hoaʻāina to access and manage our national lands, to practice our religion and culture and to protect these lands from further destruction and desecration.
Therefore, while the TMT Corporation and the State of Hawaiʻi continue to ignore our massive opposition and existence as a living people, Kanaka Maoli have no other choice but to engage in peaceful and nonviolent direct action.
We will forever fight the TMT, until the last aloha ʻāina. Truth and history are on our side, and our commitment and mana is only rising. We are prepared for intense and lengthy struggles but stand firm in Kapu Aloha - peace and nonviolence. We ask everyone to honor this kuleana and to conduct ourselves in PONO.
*The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is a proposed astronomical observatory with an extremely large telescope (ELT) that has become the source of controversy over its planned location on Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii. Construction of the TMT on land which is sacred to Native Hawaiians.

Also see:
ACLU threatens lawsuit over possible LRAD use at Mauna:

The Protest Papers -- Canada's Spying on Indigenous Opposing Enbridge

"Together with the organizations involved in the complaint, the Sierra Club of BC, the Dogwood Initiative,, and STAND (formerly ForestEthics Advocacy), we are seeking accountability and an end to unconstitutional spying on Canadians."
By BC Civil Liberties Association
Censored News 
In 2014 the BCCLA fought back against illegal spying by filing complaints against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Those complaints alleged that the Canadian government’s security agencies had been illegally spying on Indigenous and community groups opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.
The Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), the body responsible for CSIS oversight, held secret hearings to find out what really happened. SIRC ordered the witnesses involved in the complaint to keep silent about what happened in the proceedings.This gag order prevented us from revealing what was exposed during the hearing. This is largely unprecedented and is contrary to the principles of accountability and transparency that oversight bodies are meant to serve.
Read all 19 volumes of the Protest Papers

Two Indigenous Rights Activists Killed in Guatemala

Democracy Now!
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Two indigenous rights activists and land protectors were murdered in eastern Guatemala on Friday. Isidro Pérez and Melecio Ramírez were attending a peaceful action organized by the peasants’ rights group CODECA, when 15 armed men stormed in and started shooting at the group. CODECA’s leader Thelma Cabrera ran for president in last month’s Guatemalan elections, placing fourth in the race. Last year, six members of CODECA were murdered for their activism in Guatemala. No one has been arrested for the crimes.
Democracy Now!

Cuba Helped End Apartheid in South Africa by Destroying Myth of Invincibility of the White Oppressor -- Democracy Now!

How Cuba helped eliminate Apartheid in South Africa, by destroying the myth of the invincibility of the white oppressor

On Democracy Now!
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Nelson Mandela said, “The Cuban victory,” referring to the Cuban victory over the South Africans in Angola in 1988, “destroyed the myth of the invincibility of the white oppressor and inspired the fighting masses of South Africa. Cuito Cuanavale,” which is a victory of the Cubans in Angola, “is the turning point in the liberation of our continent and of my people from the scourge of apartheid.”
Watch on Democracy Now!

Rights of Nature in Ohio: Recognizing the Rights of an Aquifer to Exist and Flourish

Rights for Michindoh Aquifer Encounter First Hurdle

Board of Elections refuses to certify signatures, deems county charter unconstitutional. 

Censored News
Contact: Tish O’Dell, Ohio Community Organizer
July 11, 2019

BRYAN, OH: On Monday, the Williams County Board of Elections (BOE) attempted to block a proposed county charter initiative brought forward by residents seeking to protect the Michindoh Aquifer from privatization. The initiative recognizes the rights of the aquifer to exist and flourish. The BOE was responsible for verifying signatures and forwarding the initiative to county commissioners. Instead, they determined the initiative was unconstitutional. Petitioners gathered 2,077 valid signatures, well more than the required 1,364.

Williams County residents are threatened by the private company Artesian of Pioneer’s (AOP) proposed withdrawal and sale of millions of gallons of water daily, to outside municipalities and whoever else might want to purchase it. The Michindoh Aquifer spans nine counties across Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. It is Williams County’s only drinking water source. AOP is owned by a local mayor.

The BOE’s action is part of increasing attempts to quash Rights of Nature laws that are gaining momentum across Ohio and other states. Most recently, Toledo residents adopted the Lake Erie Bill of Rights in an effort to protect the Great Lake from pollution. An agribusiness corporation, backed by the Ohio Farm Bureau, and joined by the State of Ohio immediately filed suit to overturn LEBOR. That case is ongoing.

Sherry Fleming of Williams County Alliance (WCA), the local group behind the initiative, stated, “The BOE is responsible for certifying the signatures – not acting as judge to determine the constitutionality of a charter that has not even been enacted. This is beyond their authority. We, the people of Williams County are concerned about protecting our future – our land, water and community. This collusion between the BOE, corporations and our own purported government is clear, but it is not just, and we will not allow our essential drinking water to be privatized for profit.”

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) assisted WCA in drafting the charter. CELDF Ohio organizer Tish O’Dell stated, “The BOE chose to act outside their duties to prevent the initiative from going to the people for a vote. Stripping democratic rights is a dangerous trend we see across the state and the country. The people of Williams County will not give up so easily as our governing system tries to stop them from protecting themselves.”

CELDF filed a federal civil rights lawsuit last winter on behalf of seven Ohio communities who have been blocked from the ballot despite successfully qualifying similar initiatives.

The Williams County residents have requested the BOE initiate a lawsuit in the court of common pleas. The court must rule prior to 4:00 PM next Wednesday in order to give the county commissioners time to meet their required deadline per the Ohio Revised Code.

About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is building a movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature to advance democratic, economic, social, and environmental rights – building upward from the grassroots to the state, federal, and international level.

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