United Nations declares the Holy See legally responsible and accountable to Indigenous Peoples for effects and legacy of racist colonial Papal Bulls and Doctrines
January 17, 2016
Press Release from the Apache-Nde-Nnee Working Group
14 January 2016
As the result of a comprehensive shadow report and presentations by members of the Apache-Nde-Nnee Working Group submitted to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) for the Committee's review of the Holy See, the UN CERD Committee has recognized that the Doctrine of Discovery, the Holy See's Inter Caetera and related Papal Bulls are within the legal scope of racial discrimination under International Law and therefore require redress.
The UN CERD Committee has also recognized in its concluding observations that the Holy See is responsible for the past and present effects, i.e. the ongoing legacy, of these historical racist legal documents, and that, in addition, the Holy See must be in direct dialogue with appropriate representatives of Indigenous Peoples to discuss its accountability.
The CERD Committee has additionally recognized that the Holy See, in its response to the Committee's questioning regarding issues raised by the Apache-Nde-Nnee Working Group, remarked that a high-level meeting between Indigenous Peoples and the Pope regarding the canonization of Juniper Serra (see pages 13, 14, 27, 28, 30, 34, 35, 38, 48 of the shadow report) will occur at an unspecified time in the future, but that knowledge of such a meeting with Indigenous Peoples has thus-far excluded the Apache-Ndee Nnee and Working Group, as well as the additional issues raised in the shadow report, such as the the Doctrine of Discovery, the Holy See's Inter Caetera and related Papal Bulls, and the past and ongoing effects and legacy therein. The CERD Committee has concluded that these issues and appropriate representatives of Indigenous Peoples must be included in said high-level meeting.
With the support of the UN CERD Committee and its Concluding Observations therein, the Apahche-Nde-Nnee Working Group holds firm and demand that this dialogue between the Pope and Indigenous Peoples must indeed occur, and must include the Apache-Ndee-Nnee Working Group and the issues of the Apache-Ndee Nnee, including those issues raised in the Working Group's shadow report, for full accountability of the Holy See and justice to occur. These dialogues must result in genuine redress and remedy and in the establishment or supporting of the establishment of one or more related Truth Commission(s). Moreover, such a Truth Commission must occur with respect to self-determination, historical correction, and the rights of women and all affected peoples therein.
Follow-up by the UN CERD Committee on the progress of the Holy See in these measures will occur at the Committee's next review of the Holy See, as per the Committee's Concluding Observations.
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