PBI brings concerns to the United Nations in Geneva about Indigenous rights in Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia and Canada
On September 28, Kim-Mai Vu of Peace Brigades International presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland during the Interactive Dialogue with the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
That presentation highlighted:
“In Honduras, international attention is required towards the promotion of laws to protect and recognize the rights of indigenous peoples in their territories, as well as to achieve truth and full justice in the murder of Berta Cáceres. Crimes such as the murder in 2013 of the Lenca indigenous leader and defender of the Gualcarque River, Tomás García, continue to go unpunished. The pressure on common goods in indigenous territory continues and reports of violence, criminalization and forced displacement multiply in territories such as Azacualpa, Las Vegas de Tepemechín, Locomapa, Jiniguare and Reitoca.
In Guatemala we observe that contrary to the commitments and obligations of the State emanating from the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, ILO Convention 169 and the corresponding Peace Agreement, communities of indigenous peoples living in their ancestral territories are violently evicted and their right to consent violated systematically giving priority to economic interests of landowners and companies. people and indigenous organizations, which defend their rights enshrined in the Peace Agreement and the Declaration, are defamed and criminalized as “usurpers” and even “terrorists”.
In Colombia, 25% of the 195 leaders assassinated in 2021 were indigenous. Therefore, we highlight the importance of the support of the International Community to the new territorial dialogue initiatives that include ethnic communities, just as we welcome the opening of the macro-case to indigenous peoples in the JEP (Special Jurisdiction for Peace). Guarantees are urgently needed in territories, where political elites, local, national and transnational economies and armed actors affect the construction of peace.
The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination [CERD] has called on Canada to stop construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory. Canada ratified this International Convention in 1970 and said in 2016 that it supported the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, however, the construction of this gas pipeline without consent continues as does the criminalization of land defenders.”
The video of this presentation (made in Spanish, with English translation) can be seen here (starting at 28:55).