August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Sunday, August 29, 2021

O'odham Voice Against the Wall releases new report exposing violations of Elbit spy towers



Elbit spy tower surveillance on Tohono O'odham Nation. Photo by Ophelia Rivas


Elbit spy destruction on Tohono O'odham Nation. Photos by Ophelia Rivas


Elbit spy tower destruction on Tohono O'odham Nation. Photo by Ophelia Rivas

New report details violations of human rights by Elbit Systems

Article by Brenda Norrell
Photos by Ophelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham
Censored News

O'odham Voice Against the Wall demands a halt to the destruction and surveillance underway by Israel's Elbit Systems on the Tohono O'odham Nation and an end to the militarization by the U.S. Border Patrol, in a new 81-page report released to the world today.

Ophelia Rivas, Tohono O'odham and founder of O'odham Voice Against the Wall, describes the militarization on her homeland and the devastating impact of Elbit System's integrated fixed towers.



With a contract from the U.S. Homeland Security, Elbit is now conducting surveillance on the most vulnerable Tohono O'odham -- women, children and elderly -- at their homes, and on their land.

Sacred land has already been destroyed by the construction of Elbit Systems spy towers and O'odham ceremonies disrupted by the constant harassment of out-of-control U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Rivas said in her community of Ali Jegk hunters have been unable to bring back a deer for six years during their ceremonial hunt, because of the constant disruption by border patrol agents.

"It's our spiritual food, our kind of energy food for the whole year, and for six years we didn't have that," Rivas says in the report released to the world today.

"In Pisinemo -- the district next to us -- when they were doing their ceremony hunt, the border patrol surrounded them, tied their hands behind their back, and made them sit there until someone came and verified that they were hunters on a ceremonial hunt."

The 81-page report, "A Global Call for Divestment," released today urges divestment in Elbit Systems and the integrated fixed towers, known as spy towers, and demands that free, prior and informed consent be conducted with grassroots Native people before further damage is done to the people, their land, and ceremonial ways, in the region known as the southern border.

On the Tohono O'odham Nation, Rivas said, "O’odham are constantly surveilled by both border patrol agents and Elbit Systems workers. O’odham are unable to move freely or participate in ceremonies."

"Traditional crossings to connect O’odham have been closed by border patrol and are surveilled. Construction of both the border wall and the integrated fixed towers has scarred the land and further endangered animal and plant life that are sacred and integral to O’odham’s way of life," Rivas said.

The report is being released today as Rivas joins global Indigenous, and Zapatistas, in a forum in Paris in defense of the water and land. Rivas joins the Indigenous Peoples Conference by teleconference at 8 a.m. (Phoenix Mountain Time) Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2021.

The report comes as protests continue around the world, demanding that Elbit manufacturing plants be shut down due to human rights violations using drones, abuses in prisons, and the surveillance and wall construction in Palestine.

Rivas, who testified on the militarization of her homeland before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, told Censored News today, "I am in solidarity with all people surviving in honor and dignity with original teachings of harmony and peace on this Mother Earth."

Surveillance has become big business for corporations.

As with wars, military spending and weapons sales, both the United States and Israel, and their corporations, are thriving economically on surveillance.



Read the full report at https://www.oodhamrights.org/news/divestment-report/
and view the press statement below.




O’odham VOICE Against the WALL, Release Elbit Systems Human Rights Report, Calling for Divestment

To The World
From: Indigenous Women
Date: Aug 2021
RE: Press Release for Border Report
Media Contact: https://www.oodhamrights.org/

TUCSON, Arizona (Aug. 2021) -- O’odham VOICE Against the WALL has created a human rights report on adverse impacts and violations committed by act or omission by Elbit Systems and the U.S. government in relation to integrated fixed towers (IFTs) and the border wall.

The report is a grass-roots Indigenous human rights perspective on the human rights violations occurring to Indigenous peoples, particularly the impacts that traditional O’odham (O’odham translates to people) face while living in their ancestral territories and where the international border has crossed them.

The report shows that these human rights violations have been mounting for hundreds of years and are currently exacerbated by anti-immigration sentiment and increasing militarization.

Moreover, the U.S. has failed to uphold its responsibility to meaningfully consult with grass-roots O’odham and communities specifically in relation to impacts of Elbit Systems’ integrated fixed towers. Likewise, the U.S. has also failed to uphold its obligations under international human rights principles by not obtaining consent from the O’odham on both sides of the border when building the U.S./Mexico wall.

As a result, O’odham are constantly surveilled by both border patrol agents and Elbit Systems workers. O’odham are unable to move freely or participate in ceremonies. Traditional crossings to connect O’odham have been closed by border patrol and are surveilled. Construction of both the border wall and the integrated fixed towers has scarred the land and further endangered animal and plant life that are sacred and integral to O’odham’s way of life.

The U.S. and Elbit Systems should cease their activities along the border and uphold human rights standards for Indigenous peoples and provide remedy for adverse impacts to land and communities that have been identified.

Despite all of these challenges, the O’odham still fight on this frontline for justice, visibility, and dignity to remain on O’odham traditional territories as they have done so for millennia. Their story and their strength through adversity is a testament to the power of O’odham and the power of Indigenous peoples throughout Turtle Island.







Twitter:

O'odham VOICE Against the WALL launches an eye-opening Indigenous-led human rights report on the adverse impacts of the U.S./Mexico border wall on Indigenous peoples and asks for divestment from companies like Elbit Systems who build Integrated Fixed Tower on our traditional lands. Support O'odham VOICE Against the WALL and find our new report here! https://www.oodhamrights.org/news/divestment-report/
#DivestTheWalls #DefundTheWalls #OVAW

Facebook:

O'odham VOICE Against the WALL launches an eye-opening Indigenous-led human rights report on the adverse impacts of the U.S./Mexico border wall on Indigenous peoples and asks for divestment from companies like Elbit Systems who build Integrated Fixed Tower on our traditional lands. Support O'odham VOICE Against the WALL and find our new report here! https://www.oodhamrights.org/news/divestment-report/
#DivestTheWalls #DefundTheWalls #OVAW

Instagram:

O'odham VOICE Against the WALL launches an eye-opening Indigenous-led human rights report on the adverse impacts of the U.S./Mexico border wall on Indigenous peoples and asks for divestment from companies like Elbit Systems who build Integrated Fixed Tower on our traditional lands. Support O'odham VOICE Against the WALL and find our new report here! https://www.oodhamrights.org/news/divestment-report/

#DivestTheWalls #DefundTheWalls #OVAW

For More Resources on Border Wall Finance See:

Elbit Systems, American Friends and Service, 
https://investigate.afsc.org/company/elbit-systems

Mark Akkerman, Financing Border Wars: The border industry, its financiers and human rights, Transnational Institute (TIN) (April 9, 2021)

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