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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Friday, March 10, 2006

Western Shoshone victorious at UN

The Western Shoshone have been successful in presenting their case to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination(CERD).

U.N. panel backs Shoshone claim, says U.S. fails to respect anti-racism treaty

GENEVA (AP) - A United Nations' anti-racism panel Friday said it had evidence the U.S. government was working with industry to ride roughshod over the rights of an American Indian tribe by exploiting its ancestral land in the western United States.

The U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination ruled that the United States was failing to respect an international anti-discrimination treaty, to which it became a party in 1994.

Organizations defending the rights of the Western Shoshone hailed the decision as a victory, but the U.S. mission to the U.N. and other international organizations in Geneva had no immediate response to the decision, an official said.

"Maybe this will make the United States start looking at itself and at the problem of discrimination, and make it start to look at us as people instead of subhumans," said Western Shoshone delegate Bernice Lalo. "We feel the decision will be helpful by opening the door. We will continue this struggle to give our children a better chance." complete article

In response to the CERD decision, Bernince Lalo (Western Shoshone) states
"We are Shoshone delegates speaking for a Nation threatened by extinction. The mines are polluting our waters, destroying hot springs and exploding sacred mountains-our burials along with them--attempting to erase our signature on the land. We are coerced and threatened by mining and Federal agencies when we seek to continue spiritual prayers for traditional food or medicine on Shoshone land. We have endured murder of our Newe people for centuries, as chronicled in military records, but now we are asked to endure a more painful death from the U.S. governmental agencies -- a separation from land and spiritual renewal. We thank our past leaders for their persistence and courage and the CERD for this monumental step." complete article

To read the CERD report, click on the following link- Western Shoshone decision


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