Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 22, 2023

World Governments Rattled as Indigenous Expose Atrocities at United Nations

Vice Chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues/ Ms. Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim is an indigenous Mbororo woman from Chad. Screenshot by Censored News

World Governments Rush to Defend Human Rights Records as Indigenous Expose Atrocities at United Nations

Article and images by Brenda Norrell
Censored News
August 20, 2023

NEW YORK -- Governments from around the world are rushing to defend their human rights records as Indigenous Peoples describe the atrocities -- from the shackling of Aboriginal children in Australia to forced police confessions in Vietnam, and cultural genocide in China's Inner Mongolia, during the 22nd session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

From Nicaragua, a Miskito land defender described the assassination of his son and said 79 Indigenous Peoples have been murdered. An Indigenous human rights activist in Brazil said he is targeted for death.

"I am marked for death," said an Indigenous delegate from Brazil. "I don't know how much life I have left." Appealing to the United Nations Forum, he said that he and his brothers, all marked for death, will continue their fight to the end. 

The Indigenous representative from Crimea urged Russia to stop the war in Ukraine.

The Federation of Russia defended itself today and said the countries of the world who accuse Russia of imperialism have not resolved their own colonial way of thinking. Further, Russia said fake non-profits, humanitarian organizations with foreign funding, are claiming to represent Indigenous Peoples abroad.

Federation of Russia speaks at UN Forum

The horrific shackling of Aboriginal children in Australia's child prisons was decried by a representative from Australia today, at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York. Child prisons should not exist anywhere, she said.

Defending Australia's Aboriginal children in child prisons.

Following a passionate appeal for human rights protection of Indigenous Peoples in Vietnam yesterday, speaking now the government of Vietnam is defending its human rights record for ethnic students. Yesterday an Indigenous youth representative said Indigenous were arrested in Vietnam for attending an International Women's Day gathering and forced by police to give false confessions.

Vietnam defends human rights record after being accused to targeting Indigenous Peoples

Native people in Canada are now searching for thousands of unmarked graves of Native children who were kidnapped by Canada, the Catholic Church, and other churches, and imprisoned in residential schools in Canada. They were victims of abuse, torture, and murder. Assembly of First Nations National Chief Rose Ann Archibald told the UN Forum today that these were not schools. Instead, she said they were "institutions of assimilation and genocide."

The government of South Africa (below) defended its human rights record, describing its efforts to preserve its languages, while pointing out the history of genocide and colonization today. He spoke of the need for support for the rights of women, at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.

China's representative denies cultural genocide in Inner Mongolia

China's representative to the UN Indigenous Peoples Forum passionately denied that China is guilty of cultural genocide in Mongolia.

While denying that China is engaged in cultural genocide, China's representative redirected the focus to the genocide of Indigenous Peoples in residential schools.

"China does not have Indigenous Peoples," he said.

China has regional ethnic autonomy, said China's representative at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, on Wednesday afternoon.

Pointing out the historical inequalities and tragedies that Indigenous children have suffered in residential schools, he said Indigenous People have suffered a "dark history of genocide and cultural cleansing."

Efforts must be made to right the historical wrongs and restore justice and equity to Indigenous Peoples, he said.

Denying cultural genocide in Inner Mongolia, he said false comments were made here, at the UN Forum on Tuesday. As a diplomat from Inner Mongolia, he vehemently denied the cultural genocide.

"I want to set the record straight."

China has been a multi-ethnic country since time immemorial, he said, maintaining equality, unity, fraternity, and harmony among its 56 ethnic groups.

China ensures regional ethnic autonomy, he said and guarantees the freedom of language. China has a policy of bilingual education and has newspapers in ethnic languages. Further, he said China promotes traditional medicine and established hospitals and institutions of higher learning in traditional medicine.

"We respect Mongolian traditions."

"You are all welcome to come and see the real China," he said, adding that once people shed their biases they will see that the allegations of cultural genocide against its ethnic minority regions could not be further from the truth.

Meanwhile, Indigenous voices from the north pointed out increased hate speech directed at Sami in Norway, while Paiute Shoshone at Duck Valley in Nevada in the United States exposed the "Green Colonialism" of lithium mining. Already, Paiute Shoshone are dying from a cancer cluster from a hydrocarbon toxic site.

San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler

San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler urged the United Nations to call on the United States to protect sacred Indigenous sites including Chi’chil Bildagoteel, also known as Oak Flat, in Arizona. Resolution Copper plans a devastating copper mine that would dig out a crater in their ceremonial place.

Indigenous reindeer herders in Russia (below) were among those voicing their needs today for land and resources to carry on their traditional way of life, during the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York.


 Indigenous reindeer herder from Russia

False climate solutions like carbon credits in New Zealand are bringing non-Native pine species and destruction, and erosion. Indigenous rights violations mean ecocide and cultural genocide.

Mana Taiao Tairāwhiti representative Renee Raroa's presentation warned of false climate-carbon credit solutions. Raroa grew up in Rangitukia, told the forum that the New Zealand Crown's continuing support for pine forestry has caused severe environmental damage exacerbated by recent cyclones Hale and Gabrielle.

While claiming the United States is protecting Native sacred sites, Interior Secretary Haaland didn't tell the United Nations Forum that the United States approved a permit for a Canadian company to dig into the earth at the Paiute Massacre site at Thacker Pass in Nevada. President Biden is promoting it as green energy for batteries for electric vehicles. Watch the Young Warrior video

The government of Guatemala described language services available to Indigenous Peoples but failed to address the ongoing violence directed at Indigenous Peoples, the violence targeting Indigenous women, the loss of land, and the displacement of Indigenous Peoples.

What governments failed to address: The assassinations of land defenders and leaders

United Nations media: Government responses

Vietnam government's response

The representative of Viet Nam said the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, a foreign-based based organization, has abused the Forum’s platform to falsely malign his country. That organization does not represent the ethnic Khmer people in Viet Nam and its participation in the Forum should be categorically rejected. It has used the platform for its own politically motivated agenda and its aim is to sow seeds of division among Vietnamese ethnic groups. Viet Nam is a country of 54 ethnic groups, which enjoy a long history of living together in peace and harmony, he emphasized, adding that the promotion and protection of the rights of ethnic minorities, including the Khmer people, are among the Government’s top priorities.

South Africa's government response

The representative of South Africa noted that his country’s history is well-known in the corridors of the United Nations because the Organization and the international community played a key role in the struggle against Apartheid. Since the dawn of democracy in 1994, the Government has been working continuously to restore the dignity of previously marginalized peoples through a process of recognition, redress, and restoration of what was stolen and exploited by the Apartheid government. Detailing some of those efforts, he spotlighted bioprospecting and bio-trade agreements concluded with the Khoisan community to ensure that they are able to progressively develop and grow as Peoples.

Colombia's government response

The representative of Colombia said that her country recently hosted the Forum’s Preparatory Committee where delegates discussed the challenges faced by Indigenous Peoples, especially regarding care for the planet.  Indigenous Peoples have taught the international community what it means to oppose a model of oppression or accumulation, she said, recalling the many years of war, poverty, and inequality in her country.  President Gustavo Petro of Colombia was able to express those challenges very clearly with regard to peace and a new economic model. Spaces like the Permanent Forum are important in helping rebuild the planet and building peace.

New Zealand's government response

The representative of New Zealand spotlighted the Government’s ongoing development of a plan to implement the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Since the pandemic and more recently, his country has seen the benefit of indigenous-led nationally supported solutions. The Government will continue to support its Indigenous communities as they respond to the devastating consequences of recent weather events and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. However, that support should not be limited to times of emergencies or crises. New Zealand’s many diverse communities must have a good understanding of Indigenous rights, he stressed, noting that his country throughout the year will focus on developing greater public understanding and support for the Declaration.

Indonesia's government response

The representative of Indonesia said that her country is committed to promoting the rights of women, which are protected by the Constitution and further advanced through national and local policies. She expressed regret, however, that these positive efforts have been hindered by groups in some parts of Papua that spread falsehoods and instigate violence while claiming to represent Indigenous communities to which they have no attachment. Underscoring that “Papua was, is and will always be an integral part of Indonesia” — which has been confirmed by the General Assembly and the international community through General Assembly resolution 2504 — she expressed regret that the Forum is being used to advance a separatist agenda, UN media reports.

Brazil's government: Deforestation

SÔNIA GUAJAJARA, Minister for Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, announced that, today (April 17, 2023, she is representing Brazil for the first time in its history as Minister for Indigenous Peoples. More so, it is also the first time an Indigenous woman is speaking on behalf of Brazil. With this gesture, her country is sending the message that in the face of the climate emergency, it is no longer possible to guide nations without the presence of those who contribute most to the planet’s climate balance. The Indigenous Peoples have witnessed hate speech against them becoming a public policy in Brazil where authorities have not only encouraged the invasion and theft of their lands but allowed genocide practices, as what occurred with the Yanomami people. Moreover, deforestation has increased, and Indigenous leaders and partners continue to be assassinated, UN media reports.

Now is the time to move forward so that the rights and guarantees of Indigenous Peoples are not left at the disposal of rulers who despise human rights and the environment, she emphasized, calling on Member States to urgently guarantee Indigenous People’s presence, voices, and action in spaces of power. Today, Indigenous Peoples in Brazil are holders of innumerable ancestral scientific knowledge. The Amazonian Indigenous Peoples unite several countries in South America, she said, underscoring that the Amazon is a biome essential to the health and preservation of the planet. It is very important that this be recognized not only at the Permanent Forum but at all levels of the United Nations. Zero deforestation in the Amazon must be reached, not in 30 years, but now, she declared, calling on the Forum to help Member States identify ecosystems and 
territories at risk and prevent further degradation, and combat the climate emergency and biodiversity loss.

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Iris Kavanagh said...

Thank you for making us aware.

Lloyd Vivola said...

"Rattled" the nation-state members should be! Their very existence - "legal" "economic", and supposedly "humaine" - is born and shaped by six-hundred years of modern colonialism and the exploitation, the violence, the ideological arrogance, that come with it. These forces and the ecological imbalance they have wrought now threaten the "existence" of the modern nation-state itself and its "citizens" as so perceived with more of the same. Indigenous voices - and communities - demand more than just being "heard". They need to be part of a major ecological reset, partners in the science and wisdom that come with honoring the "places" we call a homeland.