7
Jan
2006

US fails to respond to UN Request: Sign Petition in Support of Western Shoshone

From: "Ian" ianwuolle@surfnetusa.com

----- Original Message -----

Sent: Thursday, January 05, 2006 3:59 PM
Subject: ALERT: US fails to respond to UN Request - Sign Petition in Support of Western Shoshone

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION IN SUPPORT OF THE WESTERN SHOSHONE
http://ga0.org/campaign/shoshone_petition

FORWARD TO YOUR LISTS, YOUR FAMILY, FRIENDS, ETC.

WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE AT LEAST 10,000 SIGNATURES BY FEBRUARY 28th!

http://ga0.org/campaign/shoshone_petition

Thank you to Oxfam America for putting this together.
http://www.oxfamamerica.org
http://www.oxfamamerica.org/newsandpublications/news_updates/news_update.2006-01-04.6977033848

US Fails to Respond to UN Request; Western Shoshone Petition for Public Support

Posted: 4 January, 2006

The United States government has missed a year-end deadline to answer questions posed by a United Nations committee looking into charges of federal harassment of the Western Shoshone people.

But along with the Western Shoshone traditional government, the Western Shoshone Defense Project is determined not to let the matter die. The defense project is one of the local organizations with which Oxfam America partners.

The Western Shoshone maintain that the US government, through a host of measures including the seizures of livestock and the imposition of heavy trespass fines as well as attempts to privatize large tracts of land to multinational gold companies, is violating the rights of indigenous people to their ancestral lands—some 60 million acres that stretch across Nevada, Idaho, Utah, and California.

The Western Shoshone have now launched a nationwide petition calling on the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, or CERD, to act immediately to address the human rights violations the Western Shoshone have long endured.

CERD was the committee that issued the list of 10 questions the government failed to answer by Dec. 31. The questions are part of a request for “urgent action,” which, if accepted, would allow the committee to open an investigation into US conduct regarding the land issues and the treatment of indigenous people.

“CERD is going to get a lot of pressure from the United States to drop this thing and not take it on as a formal urgent action before the full committee,” said Julie Ann Fishel, the land recognition program director for the defense project.

The appeal to CERD is the latest step in a long-simmering dispute between the Western Shoshone and the federal government. At issue is the Western Shoshone’s contention that the land is theirs—recognized as such by the Treaty of Ruby Valley in 1863—and that federal agencies along with energy and mining industries are trampling on the rights of indigenous people in a scramble to access the valuable resources lying beneath the land.

Protection of the land is critical to the Western Shoshone’s preservation of their cultural and spiritual integrity. But among the threats it now faces is a plan to store nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain and to conduct open-pit gold mining at Mt. Tenabo, both areas that are spiritually significant to the Western Shoshone.

“This is a critical land rights issue. The federal government needs to be held accountable for violating treaties with Indian nations, as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has clearly established,” said Oxfam America’s Laura Inouye, referring to an earlier decision by that body which found the US Bureau of Land Management had violated Western Shoshone rights to due process, property rights, and equality. “A similar finding by UNCERD will help the Western Shoshone press their case for justice.”

“This isn’t just about Indians. It’s about everybody,” added Fishel. “It’s about land, clean water, clean air, and protection of significant areas. This is about not allowing the US government to place corporate interests before human rights and environmental concerns.”

In August, a Western Shoshone delegation traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, to speak with CERD members and present their case. Another delegation plans to make a second trip to Geneva in March to present the petition in person. The deadline for signing the petition is Feb. 28 of this year.

“If we can get to the heart of US treatment of indigenous people, and tell the truth about that treatment, we’re going to get to the core of cleaning up social justice issues here and wherever US and corporate policies are affecting peoples’ lives,” said Fishel.

Sign the Petition:
http://ga0.org/campaign/shoshone_petition

For more information: go to: http://www.wsdp.org/ or call: 775-468-0230

http://www.oxfamamerica.org/newsandpublications/news_updates/news_update.2006-01-04.6977033848/print.html


Best Wishes,

Michael Wells Mandeville,
The Hills of Arizona
USA
at mwman@earthlink.net
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