Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 16, 2023

Peltier, Oak Flat and Enbridge Line 5: Priorities in UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Report

The U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues urged UNESCO to step up the protection of world heritage sites to protect sites from the mining giant Rio Tinto, including Apaches Oak Flat. Rio Tinto blew up 46,000 years of Australian Aboriginals' history and sacred teachings when it blew up Juukan Gorge caves in Western Australia. (Panel of ancient rock art painting, Quinkan Cave near Laura, Cape York, Queensland, Australia)

By Brenda Norrell

Censored News

June 16, 2023

NEW YORK -- The release of imprisoned Leonard Peltier, the protection of Apaches sacred Oak Flat, and the halt of Enbridge's Line 5 were included in the final report of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The murders of Indigenous in Nicaragua, the imprisonment of Australian Aboriginal children, cross-border crime in the Amazon, and the rights and safety of Indigenous journalists are in the report from the UNPFII's 22nd session held in New York, April 17 -- 28, 2023.

The preservation of language was given the highest priority, pointing to the vision that Indigenous languages contain concepts that the future of the planet depends on. 

Urging clemency for Leonard Peltier, the report states, “Owing to his age and poor health, his release is a humanitarian imperative.”

Stressing the need for the protection of world cultural sites from the mining giant Rio Tinto, the Forum urges UNESCO to step up its protection of world heritage and cultural sites to protect sacred places from Rio Tinto mining, including Apaches Oak Flat in Arizona. Rio Tinto blew up Australian Aborigines' ancient Juukan Gorge caves in Western Australia and 46,000 years of history was lost.

Fishing rights and the decommissioning of Enbridge's Line 5 are among the priorities included in the report. Urging Canada to decommission Enbridge’s Line 5, the report states, “The pipeline presents a real and credible threat to the treaty-protected fishing rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United States and Canada."

Deploring the horrific solitary confinement and imprisonment of Aboriginal children in Australia, the Forum urges a halt to the human rights abuses, and reform to prevent the removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities. During the live broadcast, it was reported that Aboriginal children are held in blood-stained cells and given "suicide tips."

The final report includes the alarming increase in murders of Indigenous women defending their rights, land and resources, and mercenaries targeting Sahel in Africa. Encroachment and land theft are ongoing globally. The report stresses the need to protect DNA, intellectual property rights and ancestral knowledge.

The Forum said Nicaragua must halt the gross human rights violations against the Mayangna Sauni and Wilu communities by armed settlers and bring murderers to justice.

The U.N. Permanent Forum said it is alarmed that the development of "green transition" energy is resulting in mineral extraction and the building of hydroelectric dams. And further, the creation of conservation sites is resulting in the displacement of Indigenous Peoples.

The impacts of the new green technology include the windmills that are reducing grazing areas for Saami reindeer herders in Norway. Further, Norway is urged to address the hate speech toward Saami.

Among the most noticeable omissions in the report was the genocide in residential schools.

The final report did not include the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Native children in residential schools in Canada and the ongoing search for tens of thousands of unmarked graves of Native children abducted by Canada and the churches and abused in residential schools. The report does not include the fact that the Pope confirmed, in July of 2022, that the Catholic Church committed the crime of genocide of Indigenous Peoples.

The report omits the fact that The Holy See was given the floor at the session. The Holy See did not address the genocide, but instead spoke on climate change.

The report includes only a few references to the widespread targeted assassinations of Indigenous Peoples around the world who are defending their lands, water and forests from mining, logging and development.

The final report omits the report by a Mongolian youth who said that China is carrying out cultural genocide in Mongolia. It also omits the report by a Vietnamese youth that police are unlawfully arresting youths. It doesn't include the responses of the governments of Russia and China.

During the session, broadcast live on the web, China's representative denied that China is carrying out cultural genocide in Mongolia. China does not have Indigenous Peoples, he said, but instead has regional ethnic autonomy. While denying cultural genocide in China, he redirected the attention to abuse in residential schools.

China's representative pointed to the historical inequalities and tragedies that Indigenous children have suffered in residential schools. 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.

During the session, the Federation of Russia defended itself 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.

Land rights, the rights of youths and women, the need to protect the water, and the rights of migrants resounded around the world. Governments and corporations are seizing water and land without the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples. Hunting and fishing rights are endangered globally.

The final 26-page report includes these priorities:

Clemency for Leonard Peltier

The U.N. Permanent Forum report urges the release of Leonard Peltier, which was presented to the Forum by AIM West. 

"The Permanent Forum reiterates the regrets that it expressed at its twenty-first session regarding the very high and inhumane incarceration rates of Indigenous Peoples globally, which contribute to poor health, poverty and early and preventable deaths. The Permanent Forum repeats its previous recommendation to the United States of America on the grating of clemency to Leonard Peltier. Owing to his age and poor health, his release is a humanitarian imperative."

Decommission Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline

"The Permanent Forum calls upon Canada to re-examine its support for the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline, which jeopardizes the Great Lakes in the United States. The pipeline presents a real and credible threat to the treaty-protected fishing rights of Indigenous Peoples in the United States and Canada. The Permanent Forum recommends that Canada and the United States decommission Line 5."

San Carlos Apache Chairman Terry Rambler told the UN Forum that Oak Flat is an area filled with power. “Oak Flat is a holy site, an area of irreplaceable beauty akin to a church, no different than the Wailing Wall, Temple Mount, Australia’s Juukan Gorge, or Mecca’s Kaaba." (Screenshot by Censored News)

Protect Oak Flat and Juukan George from Rio Tinto mining

"The Permanent Forum calls upon UNESCO, including its Intergovernmental  Committee for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, to step up its policies, safeguards and actions on the protection of Indigenous Peoples’ tangible and intangible cultural heritage. UNESCO safeguards that reflect robust free, prior and informed consent protocols, as prescribed by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, could contribute to the prevention of the destruction and desecration of Indigenous Peoples’ lands and sites by public and private enterprises. Examples include mining activities of the company Rio Tinto on the ancient Aboriginal site Juukan Gorge in Western Australia and the sacred Oak Flat of the San Carlos Apache Tribe in Arizona, United States of America." 

Saami youth delegate: "Green energy' is just more 'green colonialism' at the expense of Saami. The green transition is being used to promote industrialism. Saami's response to those who say, "Everyone has to sacrifice something," is this: 'Colonizers have already taken everything we have, there is nothing left to sacrifice.' She received a roar of applause at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York. (Screenshot by Censored News)

Green Transition: Mineral Mining and Dams

"The Permanent Forum recognizes the development of renewable energy sources but remains alarmed that irresponsible development related to green technology and the green transition, has led, at times, to violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, including mineral extraction and the building of hydroelectric dams and other large scale infrastructure without the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples. The Permanent Forum recommends that Member States provide the resources necessary to develop and implement Indigenous Peoples’ own free, prior and informed consent protocols in such contexts."

Conservation Areas Resulting in Displacement

"The Permanent Forum is equally alarmed at the many testimonies from Indigenous Peoples on the establishment of protected areas and conservation measures without the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples and the persistent violations of their human rights in the context of conservation. The Permanent Forum underlines that it is the responsibility of Member States and other actors to obtain free, prior and informed consent directly from Indigenous Peoples when developing policies and legislation pertaining to conservation measures and protected areas."

Indigenous Languages Critically Endangered

"Importantly, and in parallel with action plans, the Permanent Forum calls upon Member States to urgently provide adequate and appropriate support and resources for Indigenous Peoples’ languages, with a focus on Indigenous-led initiatives. That is especially crucial in circumstances in which the languages are critically endangered. When an Indigenous Peoples’ language becomes extinct, the richness of the ways of life and world views of Indigenous Peoples is lost, which is detrimental both to Indigenous Peoples and to the world."

Colonization and Destruction of the Earth

"The destruction of the Earth is driving a global health and humanitarian crisis. Colonization and colonialism and market forces beyond democratic control have driven not only the inequities and injustices in health outcomes facing Indigenous Peoples, but also the destruction of the planet. Indigenous Peoples suffer the most immediate and drastic impacts of this crisis. The unique cosmovision and world views of Indigenous Peoples are essential to protecting the health of humans and of Mother Earth."

Mercenaries in Africa

"The Permanent Forum invites the Working Group on the use of mercenaries as a means of violating human rights and impeding the exercise of the right of peoples to self-determination to conduct a study on the human rights abuses against Indigenous Peoples of the Sahel region by mercenaries and other non-State armed actors."

The Sahel region is between the Sahara Desert and the savanna region.

Australian Aboriginal Children in Solitary Confinement

"The Permanent Forum was presented with horrific testimonies of Indigenous children incarcerated in prisons and other holding facilities. The Permanent Forum reminds Member States to fulfill their obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child in relation to the arrest, detention, or imprisonment of a child. No child should be in prison. In that regard, the Permanent Forum notes the finding in 2022 of the Supreme Court of Western Australia that the extensive solitary confinement and significant reduction in liberty of children, primarily Aboriginal children, was unlawful. The Permanent Forum calls upon Australia to respect the Court decision and remove its reservation to article 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Permanent Forum recommends that Member States review and reform their child E/2023/43 E/C.19/2023/7 14/24 23-08492 protection policies and systems to prevent undue removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities."
Saami: Targeted by hate speech in Norway, battling windmills in reindeer pastures

"The Permanent Forum welcomes the landmark ruling in October 2021 by the Supreme Court of Norway protecting Indigenous Peoples from the establishment of a windmill park that would interfere with their traditional reindeer grazing areas. The Permanent Forum urges the Government of Norway to implement the decision of the Supreme Court without delay. It also recommends that Norway urgently address the allegations of increased incidents of hate speech online and offline against the Saami peoples following the Supreme Court ruling."

Indigenous in Amazon endangered by cross-border crime

"The Permanent Forum urges that discussions at the forthcoming summit to renew the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization, scheduled to be held in Brazil in August 2023, fully involve Indigenous Peoples from the Amazon region in determining a road map that addresses their situation, including cross-border illegal activities and organized crime."

Nicaragua: Killing of Indigenous by white settlers

"The Permanent Forum welcomes the intent of Nicaragua in drafting legislation on territorial regulation of Indigenous territories. The Permanent Forum urges  Nicaragua to establish dialogue with the legitimate Indigenous authorities to initiate and conclude drafting of the legislation as soon as possible, in order to prevent the repetition of the recent gross human rights violations against the Mayangna Sauni and  Wilu communities, allegedly committed by armed settlers. It further urges Nicaragua to ensure that perpetrators are held to account through the justice system for the murders committed and for the destruction of property. Impunity is not an option."

Peace Accord for Bangladesh

"The Permanent Forum welcomes information from the Government of  Bangladesh on progress towards the implementation of the Chittagong Hill Tracts  Peace Accord. It calls upon Bangladesh to make further efforts towards full implementation of the Accord through constructive dialogue and cooperation with the  Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council, the three Hill District Councils and the Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Resolution Commission."

Rights of Women in Nepal

"The Constitution of Nepal has provisions for special, protected and autonomous regions for Indigenous Peoples. The Permanent Forum welcomes further progress towards realizing the provisions of the Constitution, including by considering the recommendations of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to Nepal in  2018 on respect for Indigenous Peoples’ rights to their traditional lands and resources and to self-determination." 

The impacts of residential schools, displacement for the U.S. military bases, and Ecuador's rights of nature were revealed in the live web TV, but the details are not included in the final report.

Live Voices

In Canada, stolen lands and genocide

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Roseanne Archibald First Nations said lands and resources in Canada are being stolen, without free, prior and informed consent. Speaking on intergenerational trauma, she stressed the need for economic means for recovery. Residential schools were "institutions of assimilation and genocide." She amplified the voices at the Forum and called for justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Archibald's comments were broadcast live. Watch on web TV

Revealed in the live webcast: Indigenous displaced for US military base in Indian Ocean

(Center) Chagossian speaks on horrific displacement and poverty as a result of a U.S. military base and quotes Human Rights Watch during the live broadcast. "About 60 years ago, the United Kingdom government secretly planned, with the United States, to force an entire Indigenous people, the Chagossians, from their homes in the Chagos Archipelago. The Indian Ocean islands were part of Mauritius, then a UK colony. The two governments agreed that a US military base would be built on Diego Garcia, the largest of the inhabited Chagos islands, and the island’s inhabitants would be removed. The UK government split the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius, creating a new colony in Africa, the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). So that it would not have to report to the United Nations about its continued colonial rule, the UK falsely declared that Chagos had no permanent population." Watch on web TV: (Screenshot Censored News)

Ecuador's Indigenous Live at the United Nations 

Achuar Indigenous from Ecuador's rainforest near the border of Peru spoke as guardians and warriors who want to ensure the protection of their culture and Mother Earth. During the session broadcast live, Achuar, representing 13,000 Indigenous People, made recommendations to Ecuador, which guarantees the rights of nature in its constitution. Their intervention was not included in UNPFII's final report. Achuar said Ecuador should recognize the autonomy of Achuar's territory in order to guarantee its protection, taking into account the vulnerability of the communities. Ancestral medicines need to be patented to ensure their sovereignty and the vision of their ancestors. "The future is in the waters, the forests, and the land," Achuar said. "We are known as warriors, that is our heritage, and we want to use those skills now to protect our Mother Earth." (Screenshot Censored News)

Censored News Original Series

  Justice and Freedom for Leonard Peltier by AIM West at UN Permanent Forum
  Blackfeet: U.S. is the greatest violator of Native rights
  Live coverage: Winnemem Wintu, Alaska fishing, more
  Mongolian youth: China's genocide cost language and lives
  China Denies Cultural Genocide in Mongolia
  What Interior Sec. Deb Haaland Failed to Tell UN: Lithium Mining at the Paiute Massacre Site at Thacker Pass in Nevada
  Lithium Mining is Green Colonialism -- Duck Valley Shoshone-Paiute to UN Permanent Forum
  World Governments Rattled as Atrocities Exposed by Indigenous at UN Permanent Forum
  Water is Life video: Lakota: Dismantling water colonialism
  Miskito Father of Assassinated Youth: Courage in Nicaragua

Related News at Censored News

  Mohawk Mothers Court Statement: Defending Native children's graves, the search for graves at the hospital used by the CIA and Canada for MK Ultra torture and mind control experiments in Montreal, Canada
  Foreign mining giants join the United States government and oppose Apaches in court to seize Oak Flat for copper mining in Arizona:
  Inside the files: TigerSwan's spy documents at Standing Rock: Militarized police, surveillance by Energy Transfer's Dakota Access pipeline private security force, and infiltrators in North Dakota


BBC: Australian boy 13 served six weeks in solitary confinement, had no prior record

What Interior Secretary Deb Haaland Failed to Tell the U.N. Permanent Forum

What Interior Sec. Deb Haaland Failed to Tell UN: Lithium Mining is Underway into the Paiute Massacre Site at Thacker Pass in Northern Nevada. Currently, the foreign company Lithium Americas of Vancouver, Canada is digging into the burial places of Paiute who were massacred here by U.S. soldiers in 1865. Lithium Americas has just served restraining orders on descendants of the survivor, Ox Sam. Ox Sam Camp was raided in June by law enforcement and private security. A young Navajo woman was terrorized during her arrest, and transferred on the highway into a pitch-black box in the back of a pickup truck. Eagle Feathers and the Sacred Staff were illegally confiscated and placed upside down in a garbage bag by the lithium company's private security Allied Universal. The permit was issued by the U.S. Interior Department and its Bureau of Land Management, BLM. President Biden is promoting the massive lithium mine, for batteries for electric cars, on the massacre site, as "green energy." The mine violates federal laws protecting Native American burial and religious places; endangered species and their habitat; and groundwater in this delicate ecosystem.

Descendants of Ox Sam, survivors of the massacre of Paiutes, have now been served restraining orders in June 2023 by Lithium Americas of Canada, for protecting the burial place. Courtesy photo Ox Sam Camp.

Rio Tinto Admitted Widespread Rapes in Mine

Rio Tinto admitted widespread rape at its mining sites in Australia and South Africa. So why are Biden and the Interior joining the mining company to fight Apaches in federal court, to allow it to destroy Apaches' sacred Oak Flat with a copper mine? The same 'culture of rape' documented within the U.S. Border Patrol is documented at Rio Tinto mines. By joining forces with Rio Tinto, Biden and Interior Sec. Deb Haaland are perpetuating the out-of-control rapes and crimes in mines and mining camps.

About the author

Brenda Norrell has been a news reporter in Indian country for 40 years, beginning at the Navajo Times during the 18 years that she lived on the Navajo Nation. She was a correspondent for Lakota Times, Associated Press, and USA Today. After serving as a longtime staff reporter for Indian Country Today, she was censored and terminated. She began Censored News in 2006. It is now a collective, in its 17th year with no ads, salaries, or revenues, with more than 22 million page views. Norrell has a master's degree in international health.

Copyright Censored News

1 comment:

Lloyd Vivola said...

Thank you for this impressive summary and for ongoing coverage of these issues. Indigenous rights and the struggle to apply them throughout the world in diverse locations are integral to understanding the violence and ecocide that is threatening life for all inhabitants - human and non-human - on planet Earth.

Key point: that the recent UNPFII would place highest priority on concern for disappearing languages that are intrinsic to alternative views of knowledge, wisdom, and "sustaining" the life-giving land base.

This was a concern I learned about some fifty years ago as a young reader.

To the contrary, the Internet for one - whatever its thematic range and positive impact - has reinforced the mindset of Anglo-American, European and globalist thinking throughout the world and in ways that slowly - and not so slowly - also reinforce neocolonialist applications posing as free trade, economic prosperity, and scientific progress. In other words, a better life - and peaceful coexistence - for all, which evidently is far from the case.

Also: It is shocking that elected officials, artists, and celebrities continue to pander media publicity by having audience with the Holy See while controversy swirls around his institution. My mother, a high-school educated daughter of a baker, distanced herself from the Church forever due to Pope Pius' failure to confront Hitler and the Holocaust. Of course, as Gandhi and others have said, religion is political. And apparently tradition - and influence - dies not easily in Rome.