Monday, May 17, 2010

Human Rights Commission Holds First in Series of Indigenous Hearings

Indigenous leaders from around Latin America warned of economic development practices that sabotage their communities and the environment at a hearing held in Washington, D.C., last week. The hearing was the first in a series to be held by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Congress.

Ellen Lutz, executive director of Cultural Survival, which worked with the commission to set up the hearings, stated after the session: "The hearings provided Latin American indigenous peoples with their first opportunity to tell the U.S. Congress what happens when governments determine that the resources on indigenous lands actually belong to the state. Invariably the state claims that the lands are not indigenous or that what is underneath them belongs to the public and thus can be exploited by state or corporate interests."

Indigenous representatives from Peru, Panama and Colombia all testified to other consistent patterns of dispossession that have plagued first peoples and placed their environments at risk for decades.


  1. This is fantastic! Read 'Confessions of an Economic Hitman' about this very problem. John Perkins hit the nail on the head, and I hope these countries can make public what is being done to their lands.

  2. Talk about what is happening on Native American Indian Reservations at this current time, Wind River - There is a presidential innititave that put federal officers here on our reservation. These federal officers are from BLM and National Park Services. They are very brutal and treat everyone as if they are criminals. They also attack in packs, 5 police vehicles at a time. Often stopping people for little things, they are ticketing people for everything. People on our reservation do not have the money to pay for these tickets all at once. These officers are also calling tow companies that reside in boarder towns, and they are not calling upon our native towing companies. Therefore, they are disrespecting our people and our lives. Why so many cops in our area. They tell us they will be here for 14 months. This a long time to be under a police state.