Letter To U.S. Department of State’s Office of Multilateral and Global Affairs in the Bureau of Demo

To: U.S. Department of State’s Office of Multilateral and Global Affairs in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; From: AIM-WEST, a human rights based inter-tribal organization advocating for the traditional rights and well-being of Indigenous peoples, including treaties and other constructive agreements made between nation/states and Indigenous peoples, sacred sites, and political prisoners; To Whom It May Concern; I am writing these comments to your good offices with the purpose of conveying the determined position of American Indian Movement-WEST, a non-profit NGO based in San Francisco, California which advocates for the protection of Indigenous people’s right to self-determination, with regard to the U.S. consideration of adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Having received a notice the U.S. Department of State in Washington D.C. would hold a dialogue with interested NGOs and other relevant stakeholders on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to be held on October 15, 2010, I submit the following comments for your consideration: With the historic adoption by the UN General Assembly on September 13, 2007 of the “Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” it marked a new beginning, a new partnership among governments and Indigenous peoples such as the world has never known before! A living document, indeed a global treaty, was finally created and it established the terms for which all Indigenous peoples’ basic human rights throughout the world are protected under the minimum standards of rules, laws and established international conventions. Not one article within the Declaration makes an exception, creates a new law, nor deviates from the international norms and standards which are already appreciated by the general citizenry. Because the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted the Declaration in its entirety with all forty-six articles; and because they were accepted unabridged by the overwhelming majority of governments; and because the U.S. is among the only two countries in the entire world who have yet to adopt the Declaration, I on behalf of American Indian Movement-WEST, urge your State Department to immediately consider adoption and passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples unhindered, without reservations, nor amendments or clauses to the contrary. To even entertain anything less within the Declaration would be like asking First Lady Ms. Eleanor Roosevelt in her time, to weaken or change portions of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and assure passage while it was being considered for adoption by the world governments at a crucial moment; anything less would have weakened the profundity of the Declaration itself! It is in this vein, openness and optimism that we hold for the future to include the long over-due relationship with American Indians on a forthright basis that by adoption now at this time, by the U.S. Government of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will serve well to the peoples of this grand country; and another historic step together with the rest of the world, for mother earth and the coming generations. Thank you very much for your attention, Antonio Gonzales AIM-WEST Director www.aimwest.info 415-577-1492 United Nations Liaison www.aimovement.org

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