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  • Writer's pictureAntonio Gonzales

Calling on U.S. Presidential Candidates To Have the U.S. Sign-On to the UN Declaration of the Rights

(San Francisco, 7 August 2008) In recognition of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples (9 August)*, AIM-West will hold a press conference and rally at San Francisco's U.N. Plaza (at 7th and Market Streets) on Saturday, 9 August, from 1o am to 1 pm.

On this historic day, we call upon all U.S. presidential candidates to consider signing on to the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples**. This Declaration, adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2007, was approved by 144 member states. There were only 4 nations to vote against adoption: United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This document recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples to live in dignity, with respect for the right of self-determination to develop their own institutions (such as, religious/spiritual, health, economic and educational), culture and traditions. We ask that the U.S. presidential candidates declare their support of these universal rights and will see that when elected the U.S. will also become a signatory to the Declaration. Thus demonstrating their support and solidarity with the world's indigenous peoples and especially those of us in this western hemisphere, sacred Turtle Island.

That evening, 6:00 pm, AIM-West will present a screening of the Academy Award winning documentary, Broken Rainbow (1985, directed by Victoria Mudd, 70 mins). @ The Roxie, 3117 16th Street (@ Valencia), San Francisco.

"In 1983, Interior Secretary James Watt sold coal leases at unusually low prices to developers in New Mexico, and hundreds of Navajo families were torn from their homes and displaced to other areas. The trajedy of this occurrence and the lack of humanity or even mininal human understanding of the plight of the displaced Navajo is the topic of this moving documentary. This story barely surfaced on the U.S. National News before it was forgotten. As noted in the documentary, there is a long history of injustice and neglect on the part of a U.S. bureaucracy that seems only to respond to public pressure in correcting its transgressions against the Navajo. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, All Movie Guide"

For more information, please contact Antonio Gonzales, (415)577-1492, or Joyce Umamoto, (415) 776-5833.


* "By resolution 49/214 of 23 December 1994, the General Assembly decided to celebrate the International Day of the World's Indigenous People[s] on 9 August every year during the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People[s]. In 2004 the Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade by resolution 59/174. The goal of this Decade is to further strengthen international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people in such areas as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment, and social and economic development.

In April 2000, the Commission on Human Rights adopted a resolution to establish the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues which was endorsed by the Economic and Social Council in resolution 2000/22 of 28 July 2000. The mandate of the Permanent Forum is to discuss indigenous issues related to culture, economic and social development, education, the environment, health and human rights. ..."

** "Statement by Acting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang, and S. James Anaya, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people on the International Day of the World's Indigenous People

5 August 2008 Geneva: - This year's International Day of the World's Indigenous People[s], celebrated on 9 August, is the first to take place following the landmark adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the General Assembly in September 2007.

The Declaration, which was the culmination of more than two decades of tireless campaigning by indigenous peoples – the drafting was started in 1985 – marked a significant development in the protection of their human rights.

The Declaration, approved by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States [except United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand], lays down minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the world's estimated 5,000 indigenous groups (comprising as many as 370 million individuals). It seeks to address the historical injustices they have faced by re-affirming their right to be different, and to live peacefully on their own lands. It also represents a significant contribution to the guiding principles of justice and dignity championed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. ... "

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