Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

July 28, 2023

Indigenous Peoples Under Attack by Militarized Forces: From Peru to the Tohono O'odham Nation, murder with impunity

United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, UN Human Rights Council

Indigenous Peoples Under Attack by Militarized Forces: From Peru to the Tohono O'odham Nation, Murder with Impunity

Native Hawaiians and Indigenous in Guam want the US military out; Russian youths want an end to war

By Brenda Norrell, 
Censored News
July 17, updated July 29, 2023

GENEVA -- Native Hawaiians want the US military off their lands, and training exercises in the Pacific shut down. An aquifer has been poisoned in Honolulu, and unexploded ordinances left behind make lands inaccessible.

Christopher Edward said the U.S. military installation in Hawaii is the largest in the world, 200,000 acres, and has resulted in the displacement of Native Hawaiians from their traditional lands. Edward testified before the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Edward joined Indigenous from around the world in reporting human rights abuses, during the session, "The Impact of Militarization on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples."

Edward, Native Hawaiian, and an Army veteran, said the military training has resulted in the degradation of biodiversity and a high cost of living. Native Hawaiians should receive restitution and compensation, he said.

Appealing to the United Nations in Geneva, Indigenous in Guam also want the US military off their lands. The Pacific Indigenous Women's Network urged the United Nations General Assembly to join the effort for the US military to cease operations in Guam. Guam has been occupied by the U.S. military without the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous People.

In Guam, the U.S. military is an "imperial hammer" that ensures the oppression of Indigenous People in its acts of global domination. Toxic pollution, and the threat of a nuclear attack, are the results of the presence of the U.S. military.

Indigenous are offering testimony today, and all week, before the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, of the UN Human Rights Council.

Around the world, Indigenous Peoples are under attack by military forces.

Latin America

During the session on the impacts of militarization on Monday, Indigenous from Colombia pointed out that there are land mines and ongoing intense militarization and drug trafficking that threaten survival. There are now seven new U.S. military bases in Colombia.

Police savagely suppressed the protest of the people of Puno. Indigenous women resisted and deactivated their bombs. The population repudiates the actions of President Dina Boluarte who has given orders to kill and disappear people. -- Voices in Movement, July 29, 2023

Indigenous from Peru described "systematic violations of human rights." The military is attacking, torturing, and killing, those who are isolated and have marched against the current government.

More than 80 people, including Indigenous children, have been killed, and more than 1,000 injured since protests began in Peru in December. U.S. military forces were approved for deployment to Peru in June, to be used against the movement led by Indigenous women. US special forces, airforce, and space force (satellites) were authorized for use in Peru, to serve the coup.

Quechua and Aymara from Peru told the United Nations that the president has ordered the army to shoot Indigenous from helicopters. Indigenous are marching to protect their lands, and the roads are being blocked by tanks. They are struggling to protect the earth, protect their water, and protect the minerals, and the president is labeling them "terrorists." 

Indigenous in Guatemala echoed the descriptions of militarized force, as did Indigenous in Brazil, where Indigenous are under attack by government forces. In Mexico, Indigenous are disappeared and journalists are murdered.

In Venezuela, and throughout the Amazon, military forces are killing the people, and seizing the land under the guise of the war on drugs. Indigenous lands are being stolen for illegal logging and mining.

In one community in Chile, Mapuche worked hard to grow their own food, only for their harvest to be seized by the military and their crops burned, violating their right to food.

Indigenous Peoples Rights International said, "In several countries where IPRI works, such as Colombia, Brazil or Mexico, increased militarization of indigenous territories is happening in the context of the so-called war against drugs. In some countries and areas in the Amazon, militarization is also expanding allegedly to control illegal logging and mining."

"We are invisible and vulnerable," said an Indigenous representative from Brazil. Urging the United Nations to ensure protections for Indigenous in Brazil, she stated that human rights defenders are targeted with violence and the loss of their land.

In Colombia, the drug trafficking is a cancer, an Indigenous representative told the United Nations. Drug trafficking has permeated both legal armed and illegal armed groups, and Indigenous are suffering from the human rights violations.

US-Mexico Border

A representative of AIM West described the militarization of the US-Mexico border, pointing out the violence carried out by local, state and federal law enforcement, including kidnappings and murders.

Raymond Mattia, Tohono O'odham, was shot nine times by U.S. Border Patrol agents, died a few feet from his front door. Indigenous children are dying in U.S. Border Patrol custody.

The United States government's surveillance towers are also increasing on the U.S.-Mexico border, he said, referring to the integrated fixed towers constructed by Israel's Elbit Systems, including 11 towers on the Tohono O'odham Nation. The Israeli towers provide live surveillance to the U.S. Border Patrol.


The militarization of the Uganda and Congo border was described with examples of gross atrocities.

The increase in violence by police and armed guards, in protected areas -- including national parks and heritage sites in Africa -- is described in the draft document for this session. "Protected areas often feature heavy policing, with national wildlife services and local government rangers patrolling the protected areas, including those in Indigenous territories."

"The militarization of conservation has been documented in the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guatemala, India and South Africa. Park guards and rangers receive military-type training and funding has increased for armed guards. For example, protected areas in the 10 countries in Central Africa have doubled in the past 20 years to more than 200 protected areas, covering a total of 800,000 km², or twice the size of Cameroon."

"... guards at Salonga National Park and Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo were involved in rape, torture, arbitrary arrests," and similar practices are common in other countries – including in Cameroon, in Chitwan National Park and Bardiya National Park in Nepal, and in India.

(Above) Maasai are being forced off their land for a conservation area, raising new questions about the protection of lands designated as World Heritage Sites. While Maasai in Tanzania are forced out, the land is taken over for the elite -- safaris and big game hunters. The violent abuses of Indigenous in Africa raise new questions for Native Americans seeking to protect their lands as World Heritage Sites -- who will control the land, and will ceremonies and use of the land continue.

A young Indigenous woman from Russia tells the U.N. that Indigenous youths are being forcibly mobilized for Russia's military and killed in Ukraine. She urged the UN to hold Russia accountable for war crimes for its unprovoked war on Ukraine. (Screenshot by Censored News)


Indigenous youth from Russia urged the United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) to hold Russia responsible for its unprovoked attack and war crimes in Ukraine.

She passionately described how Indigenous young men from the poorest ethnic communities in Russia are being forcibly mobilized, used as "fodder" by Russia for its military, and are being killed.

Representing the International Committee of Indigenous Peoples of Russia, she said the information in the draft document on militarization, regarding the militarization in Russia and Ukraine, is a disappointment and results in a lack of faith in this U.N. body.

She said the document on militarization is of great disappointment and results in a lack of confidence, describing it as merely "conceptual" and "unpublishable."

She said the draft document misleads with this benign statement about Russia offering an alternative to military service:

She said the current war has intensified oppression for Indigenous Peoples in Russia who rise up in defense of their lands, in acts of self-determination. This war reminds them of the darkest chapters of Russian history, she said.

She urged the United Nations to hold Russia responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine.

Last year, after her testimony, she reported being intimidated and harassed by Russia. She was surrounded by Russian agents after testifying. At that time, she testified that her village was burned down eight years ago by a coal mining company because its residents refused to sell their lands to the coal company. The UN launched an investigation and released a statement.

At the United Nations, Yana, said Indigenous who have been forced to leave Russia are no less Indigenous. The Russian government not only violates the rights of the people at the domestic level, but also violates their rights at the international level.

Speaking on the rights of Indigenous women and girls, she said the government of Russia is trying to silence those who speak out at the UN. Indigenous Peoples are being used against other Indigenous Peoples.

Russia is using 'divide and conquer,' an old strategy of the Russian government. It is voicing propaganda at the United Nations, she said.

Those that were forced to leave the country because they told the truth about Russia, those who left out of fear of reprisals by Russia, and those working in collusion with the government -- are no less Indigenous, she said.

Yana said someone must continue to speak out against colonialism.

"Someone has to continue to speak for those who can not speak for themselves."

She urged the United Nations to determine the accuracy of Russia's statements by using independent sources.

Justice, democracy, and respect for human rights must prevail, she said.

Chagossians were forcibly removed from their homeland in the Indian Ocean for a US/UK airforce base

The Deadliest Countries

The deadliest countries for human rights defenders are Honduras, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Brazil, Philippines and Colombia, reports the Indigenous Peoples Rights International.

Mining and agribusiness are most frequently linked with the attacks. The majority of the companies are based in Honduras, Guatemala, Canada, USA, Mexico and China.

Update: Peru

Quechua and Aymara told the UN that they were stalked in the jungle, and children were murdered, after protests to protect the earth and their lands from mining. The president ordered the Army to shoot them from helicopters. With lithium and copper mining at stake, Peru has called in the US military to support the coup, to be used against Indigenous People. "Resumen Latinoamericano reports that the U.S. forces heading to Peru will include 25 Special Forces troops arriving with weapons and equipment and 42 other Special Forces troops charged with preparing Peru’s intelligence command for “joint special operations;” 160 additional U.S. troops will be utilizing nine U.S. airplanes.",will%20be%20utilizing%20nine%20U.S.

Read more:


Indigenous Peoples of Russia and the Ukraine tell Russia to stop the war, at the UN in Geneva: Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ongoing this week.

Novoya Gazeta reports:

On 17 July, the activists stood up holding posters spelling out anti-war statements during the speech by the representative of the Crimean Tatar Centre, Eskender Bariyev. The posters said “Russia, stop the war” and “Russia must stop killing Indigenous Peoples”.

One of the protesters told Novaya-Europe that Crimean Tatars and representatives of Indigenous Peoples of Russia who had had to flee the country due to persecution seek to use the UN platform to protect the rights of their people.

International Committee of Indigenous Peoples of Russia is against the war in Ukraine (2022) "We are representatives of the Indigenous peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East living outside of Russia against our will."

Russia: Coal company destroyed village

The village of Kazas in the Kemerovo region, used to be a national village where the Shors lived. "Most of its inhabitants were engaged in traditional crafts — hunting, fishing etc. In 2012, the Yuzhnaya coal company commissioned a pit in the area. Because of this, the ecology suffered greatly, the Lysaya mountain, sacred to the Shors and whose spirit was considered the guardian of the village and keeping in touch with the world of their ancestors, was destroyed."

"In the same year, the company demanded that the residents of the village sell their houses to it in order to develop coal deposits. Under pressure, the residents were forced to move. “The village was destroyed, houses were burned, these families were forced to leave. They moved to the cities, and their children assimilated in the urban environment, they forgot the language,” says Berezhkov."

The statement of Eskender Bariiev at the 16th session of the EMRIP. Agenda Item 3: “Study and advise on the impact of militarization on the rights of Indigenous Peoples”

16th session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Item 3: Study and advice on the impact of militarization on the rights of Indigenous Peoples

Statement presented by Eskender Bariiev, the Had of the board of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center, the member of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People

Dear Chairman! Brothers and Sisters!

I express my gratitude to the member countries for supporting Ukraine against Russia’s war crimes.

Unfortunately, I cannot call this study objective.

Is the expert mechanism not aware of the worst war of the 21st century, which Russia started in Ukraine

This war has already taken more than 300,000 lives.

Russia is grossly violating basic principles of international law.

Paragraph 31 does not refer to Crimea as Russia-occupied territory and calls the military aggression a conflict in Ukraine. It is not noted that Russia does not comply with the decision of the UN International Court of Justice to lift the ban on Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people.

Paragraph 32 lacks information that indigenous peoples of the North Caucasus, Buryatia, Siberia and the Urals, as well as of indigenous Crimean Tatar people in occupied Crimea are subjected to forced mobilization in Russia which has led to mass emigration of men to third countries, which is not reflected in paragraph 41.

Paragraph 36 fails to mention the settlement of over 1 million Russians in the occupied Crimea and the mass repression of the Crimean Tatar people.

I call on the Expert Mechanism to take these observations into account in the study and for Russia to stop the war and withdraw its army from Ukraine.

Tohono O'odham Nation: EMRIP's draft document on the Impact of Militarization on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states:

"The Tohono O’odham reservation currently houses three 'forward operating bases/law enforcement centers' for the United States Border Patrol and United States Customs and Border Protection. This increasingly militarized approach is a significant impediment to maintaining social, cultural, spiritual and economic ties with members across the border. The imposition of border patrols, militarized personnel, virtual surveillance and border walls makes cross-border ceremonies, pilgrimages, hunting, gathering plants and medicines, trade, commerce, and other cross-border religious practices difficult."

Indigenous youth in Mekong Delta urges a halt to militarization, a halt to seizures of land for the military, resulting in loss of cultural ways, and that Indigenous youths be given the choice of whether to serve in the military.

Censored News original series

Censored News Part I: U.N. Hears of Devastation for Indigenous Peoples, and Stories of Hope

Censored News Part II: Impact of Militarization on Indigenous Peoples: Murder with Impunity from Peru to the Tohono O'odham Nation

Copyright Brenda Norrell, Censored News, may not be used without written permission.

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