Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 6, 2024

Peltier's Clemency in Final UN Permanent Forum Report Just Released

Leonard Peltier

Peltier's Clemency in Final UN Permanent Forum Report Just Released

By Brenda Norrell, Censored News, June 6, 2024

NEW YORK -- The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues published its final report from this year's session, which reiterates the call for the U.S. to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier, and urges new safeguards in the battle against fake green energy projects, and more resources for Indigenous youths and women.

"The Permanent Forum reiterates the recommendation it made to the United States at its twenty-second session to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier," states the UN Permanent Forum's final report for the U.N. Economic and Social Council, published June 5, 2024.

A new Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples was selected during the session, Suleiman Mamutov, an attorney from the Ukraine.

The fake green projects -- which are now killing children in cobalt mines in Africa and  digging into the Paiute Shoshone massacre site for lithium in Nevada -- are also addressed in the report.

"Extractive industries and green energy projects often lead to the dispossession and militarization of Indigenous Peoples’ lands, territories and resources. Indigenous leaders and human rights defenders opposing such initiatives become targets of reprisals, with Indigenous women at risk of sexual assault, gender-based killings and trafficking," the final report states.

There is also the warning of the fake carbon markets and biodiversity credits.

"The Permanent Forum is concerned about the harms and injustices caused in certain instances by carbon markets and biodiversity credits on Indigenous Peoples’ lands and territories and biodiversity."

The Forum urged the protection of Treaty Rights to ensure Indigenous lands and territories are protected in the face of mineral extraction and development.

"The Permanent Forum recognizes the need for the United States of America to honour its treaty obligations with tribes. The Forum calls upon the Government of the United States to ensure the return of lands that house boarding schools to Indigenous Peoples."

Enbridge Line 5 in the Great Lakes is specifically named as a threat to water and human rights.

"The Permanent Forum reiterates that the Enbridge Line 5 oil pipeline jeopardizes the Great Lakes and poses a real and credible threat to the human rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and the United States. The Forum reiterates its call for Canada and the United States to decommission Line 5," states the U.N. Permanent Forum  final report.

What is missing

During the session, Oglala Lakota youths urged the right of return for Palestinians,  and Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Lakota Youths urged shutting down Dakota Access Pipeline -- but those were not shown in the final report.

Lakota youths warned of the pending lawsuit by the Dakota Access Pipeline's owner, Energy Transfer, and described it as a means of silencing voices. However, there is no mention in the final report of Palestine, or the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Interior Sec. Deb Haaland addressed the U.N. Permanent Forum, praising Biden, but  did not include his role in war crimes and genocide in Palestine. Currently, Biden and his appointees face a lawsuit before the U.S. Appeals Court for their role in war crimes and genocide in Palestine.

Further, Haaland did not mention that the Tohono O'odham Nation, and San Carlos Apache Nation, filed for a restraining order against her to stop the bulldozers of the fake green wind energy project that Haaland is now pushing, taking wind energy from New Mexico to California. Bulldozers are now tearing through the tribes  ancient villages, burial places and medicine gathering region in southern Arizona.

A federal judge in Tucson tossed out the case against Haaland the $10 billion SunZia wind project -- repeating the pattern of federal judges siding with the U.S. government on cases violating the rights of Native American tribes.

During the U.N. Permanent Forum, Haaland did not mention that she voices support for the Canadian corporation now tearing into the Paiute Shoshone massacre site in Nevada for lithium, another fake green project. Currently, Paiute and Shoshone elders and women protecting the site are defendants in a lawsuit filed by Lithium Americas.

Haaland did not mention that the Biden administration has joined the attorneys of Rio Tinto mining to fight Apaches in federal court, to destroy their Ceremonial place at Oak Flat for a copper mine. Rio Tinto blew up 46,000 years of ancient Aboriginal sacred teachings in caves in Australia. Rio Tinto was also forced to admit the high rate of sexual assaults at its mines, with the highest number of assaults in Australia and South Africa.

Missing from the report is an in-depth report on the assassinations of Indigenous Peoples in Central and South America who are defending their land, water and communities, and the role of the U.S. government in the militarization on Indigenous lands for mining by private corporations.

Peltier Needs to Come Home

Clemency for Peltier is included in the final report to the higher body, the U.N. Economic and Social Council.

Nathan Phillips, Omaha, Deer Clan, told the U.N. Permanent Forum during the session in April that it is time for Leonard Peltier to come home.

"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."

"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, Censored News reported during t
he session, April 15 -- 24, in New York.

Indigenous Youths at UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Photo courtesy Permanent Forum.

Citing the challenges faced by Indigenous youths, the Forum gave youths priority.

"Indigenous youth are proactively championing Indigenous Peoples’ right to self determination, intertwining Indigenous knowledge to ensure that Indigenous Peoples’ cosmovisions are integral in shaping policies at all levels," states the final report.

"Indigenous youth face significant barriers, including discrimination and marginalization, which critically impede their ability to practice and sustain their culture, traditions, languages and identities."

The Forum's report draws attention to the high rates of suicide among Indigenous youth, and reiterates its call for Indigenous determinants of health, with a focus on youth and children, to be addressed.

Makanalani Gomes speaks at UN Permanent Forum in April. Screenshot by Censored News.

Makanalani Gomes, Hawaiian Filipino, one of three co-chairs of the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus, told the Forum in April that self-determination is far from being a reality for Indigenous youths, who face some of the most challenging issues across the planet.

The reality is that for decision-makers in institutions, Indigenous youths' engagement most often is "fleeting and not substantial."

Without true recognition, including structural modification, at the United Nations, she said self-determination for Indigenous youths will continue to be merely an "online document or check in the laundry list of a project involving Indigenous Peoples."

“If I can implore you to take away one thing in particular. I ask you to listen deeply to these interventions that demand a world where we, Indigenous youth, no longer have to be defenders, activists, and advocates instead, we can simply be our fullest Indigenous self.

"We do this work in hopes that future generations no longer have to use their bodies, minds, and spirits to defend Earth Mother but rather enjoy their respective cultural ways and partake in the commune that takes place between a mother and her children."

The final report states calls on the United Nations to do more to include Indigenous youths.

"The Permanent Forum recommends that Member States and the United Nations system develop and support educational and leadership programs tailored to the needs of Indigenous youth, enabling them to fulfill their potential as leaders and protectors of their cultures and territories."

"The Permanent Forum urges Member States to make significant investments in bilingual and culturally appropriate primary, secondary and higher education programmes, including mobile education initiatives for nomadic, semi-nomadic and mobile communities.

"Furthermore, the Forum calls upon Member States to establish effective mechanisms to ensure Indigenous youth occupy central roles in policy and political arenas and to break down barriers to their full political participation and leadership.

"The Permanent Forum regrets the outcome and impact of the 'Indigenous Voice' referendum on Indigenous Peoples, in particular Indigenous youth, held in Australia in 2023, which undermines their journey towards the full realization of the right to self-determination for Indigenous Peoples," the report states.

Photo courtesy UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Inuit: Violence against women and foster care removals

The Forum urges Canada, Denmark and Greenland to implement a human rights-based approach when investigating impacts of the so-called intrauterine device campaign affecting Inuit women and adolescents in Greenland.

"The Permanent Forum urges actions by States in addressing the racism suffered by Inuit peoples, particularly those residing outside Inuit Nunaat. The Forum is concerned about the high incidence of child removals by child welfare systems legitimized by psychometric tests adapted to non-Inuit peoples."

 Alarmed by the impact of war and armed conflict, the Forum called for U.N. bodies to declare a moratorium on military conscription among Arctic Indigenous People.

The Forum also encouraged the full participation of Indigenous Peoples in environmental assessment processes in deep-sea mining.

Given the length of the Arctic coastlines, Indigenous Peoples need to be involved in the monitoring.

Protection of Maori, Maasai, and Ogiek Human Rights, Land and Forests

"The Permanent Forum heard reports from Māori Indigenous Peoples that the Government of New Zealand had departed from the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Treaty of Waitangi) and taken measures against the rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the disbandment of Te Aka Whai Ora, the Māori health authority. The Forum urges the State and Government of New Zealand to uphold the distinct rights of Māori Indigenous Peoples.

"The Permanent Forum welcomes the efforts by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to engage with the Maasai people from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Forum calls upon the Government to immediately cease efforts to evict the Maasai people from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and to enable the country visit of the Special Rapporteur. 

"The Permanent Forum welcomes the Community Land Act of Kenya, which represents a critical step towards securing the land rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Forum reiterates its recommendation that the Government of Kenya implement a sustainable system of equitable land tenure to prevent further evictions of the Ogiek community in the Mau forest, and calls upon the Government to enhance the participation of Indigenous Peoples in the sustainable management of forests and to comply with the decision of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights."

The upcoming sessions include an enhanced participation of Indigenous Peoples during the U.N. General Assembly in July.

"The Permanent Forum fully endorses the enhanced participation of Indigenous Peoples and their representative institutions at the General Assembly and looks forward to the Human Rights Council intersessional meetings with the participation of Indigenous Peoples from all seven sociocultural regions."

"The Permanent Forum welcomes the appointment of Robert Rae, Víctor García Toma, Claire Winfield Ngamihi Charters and Belkacem Lounes to lead consultations during the seventyeighth session of the General Assembly on the enhanced participation of Indigenous Peoples and their representative institutions."

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