Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

April 26, 2024

Freedom for Leonard Peltier among leading issues at U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Freedom for Leonard Peltier, Arrest of Buddhist Monks in Vietnam, and Defense of the Amazon Defense Lead Issues at U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, April 22, 2024

NEW YORK -- "Leonard Peltier should come home and be with his great grandson and teach him songs, and what he has left of his life should be spent at home," Nathan Phillips, Omaha, Deer Clan, told the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York on Monday, as the second week of the session began.

"Leonard Peltier stood up for the people," Phillips said, and asked the U.N. Permanent Forum to write a letter to Coleman Prison and ask for a compassionate release for Peltier. Phillips said Peltier is sick, is 79 years old, and has spent more than 40 years in prison.

"They really don't know who committed the crime that he's in there for, and now his eyesight is really bad. He might die in there, and that would be death by incarceration," Phillips said during the interactive dialogue on Monday.

"The FBI admitted that they didn't know who did that, so they should let him go," he said, adding "the FBIs didn't have no business up there."

Nathan Phillips, Omaha, speaking today at the UN Permanent Forum. Screenshot Censored News.

Phillips began by responding to the concerns voiced at the Permanent Forum concerning the treatment of women.

"Our men are in desperate need of healing, what we're doing to the women, that's not how we used to be." Phillips said the "extraction industry came in and took away our manhood. We have to figure out how to come back to our original instructions."

Years ago, when the Yanomami stood up against the gold miners, and were murdered, Phillips said he went to Brazil's Embassy in Washington with Western Shoshone Spiritual Leader Corbin Harney, who fought against the nuclear industry on his lands.

The Ambassador for Brazil told Phillips, "If you keep doing this, you're going to wind up like your friend Leonard Peltier."

Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation on Monday.
Screenshot Censored News

The Arrest of Buddhist Monks in Vietnam

The government of Vietnam is hypo-critical of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and undermines the self-determination of Indigenous Peoples in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam, a representative of Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation told the U.N. Permanent Forum.

Human rights defenders are constantly harassed when educating the community about human rights.

Thirteen human rights defenders have been criminalized and are detained or imprisoned, an all time high for Vietnam, she said. This includes Monks, women, youth and men who have been reported and publically arrested for their activism.

Five Buddhist Monks were defrocked and disrespected in violation of Article 11 of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

One of those arrested was part of the International Women's Day event and was sentenced to two years in prison. Indigenous women are the most vulnerable, especially farmers.

"Our people should not be fearful or threatened."

The government of Vietnam was quick to respond and deny the statement, calling it misinformation that was divisive, and undermining its sovereignty. The government said it is upholding "ethnic minority rights."

Alicia Cahuiya, Drigenta de la Mujer

Alicia Cahuiya, Waorani of the Ecuadorian Amazon, told the U.N. Forum that their rivers are polluted, and the devastation by the oil industry has impacted the women the most, and affected their ability to carry out their traditional way of live, including gathering their medicine plants.

During the interactive dialogue on Monday, the Sami Council pointed out that too often, Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations are only respected in empty words, not action.

"We are not the problem, we are the solution."

As with Vietnam, the governments of Tanzania and Indonesia were quick to deny the statements presented by Indigenous Peoples in their countries, both governments denied human rights abuse. The governments said they are not discriminating and are upholding human rights.

The government of Vietnam identifies the peoples of the MeKong Delta as "ethnic minorities," not Indigenous Peoples.

The government of Pakistan said all of its people are Indigenous and they have no colonized settlers.

Read more:

Arrest of Buddhist Monks in Vietnam

Arrests include charges of "posting slandering and insulting videos on social media and charged with 'abusing the rights to democratic freedom," reports Radio Free Asia.

The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation is calling on UN Secretary General
to urgently act against #Vietnam's persecution of the Khmer Krom community

Ecuador's Waorani in Amazon

"The Waorani are Ecuador’s most recently contacted Indigenous group. Starting in the late 1950s, missionaries and oil exploration workers contacted the Waorani in the rainforest, leading to decades of oil exploitation, territorial displacement, and cultural colonization. Today, some 2,000 Waorani remain in their Amazon territory in northeastern Ecuador, including some Waorani tribes that continue living in voluntary isolation in the Zona Intangible," reports Mongabay.

"On Sunday, August 20th, 2023, in a historic referendum held during the first round of the presidential elections, Ecuadorian citizens massively voted in favor of keeping over 726 million barrels of oil underground in the Yasuní National Park deep in the northern Amazon Rainforest, one of most biodiverse regions on the planet and home to two of the world’s last Indigenous communities living in voluntary isolation."

This protects the ancestral homeland of the Waorani people and their relatives living in voluntary isolation, the Tagaeri and Taromenene communitiesBy banning oil extraction in this area of the Amazon, 345 million tons of carbon will also be prevented from releasing into the atmosphere, reports Amazon Frontlines.

Censored News new original series on the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Indigenous Youths: Canada Failing Youths and Survivors of Residential Schools

Bolivia: The Women in My Community Have Always Been Warriors

Spotlight on Indigenous Youths: Katisha Paul

Omaha Nathan Phillips: Prayer, Lithium and an Ancient Language Lost

Blood Memories: Indigenous Women on the Frontlines Inspire with Words and Action

Warriors for a New Generation: Indigenous Youths 

Indigenous Youths Lead at UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Copyright Censored News

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