Good news - we're gaining some ground on finding US lawyers who work in international indigenous human rights that are willing to support the Xukuru’s struggle to gain their human rights. The lawyers will assist in the current appeals to reverse the sentence of 10 years and 4 months levied against Cacique Marcos Xukuru , and various other sentences given to 31 Xukuru tribal members and village leaders. This is exciting news, brought to me by Joseph Mandala (my research assistant). Thanks to Joseph's hard work, we hope to have several US lawyers working with international human rights documents to identify specific areas where the Brazilian legal system is non-compliant as signatories. Will keep you posted on the ways in which such documents can be very useful, and hopefully, successful.
Here are links to the 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:
* The UN Declaration was adopted by a majority of 143 states in favor, 4 votes against (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States) and 11 abstentions (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burundi, Colombia, Georgia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russian Federation, Samoa and Ukraine).
* The Declaration establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity, well-being and rights of the world's indigenous peoples. The Declaration addresses both individual and collective rights; cultural rights and identity; rights to education, health, employment, language, and others. It outlaws discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them. It also ensures their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own priorities in economic, social and cultural development. The Declaration explicitly encourages harmonious and cooperative relations between States and indigenous peoples.
*English version of United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
*This is an interesting read - it's a web page from the Australian Human Rights Commission that offers a "Q&A" on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. As one of the four countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, & the US) opposed to the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, this page offers a discussion on the issues that continue to produce miss-information about indigenous peoples and their rights.
• Which human rights abuses experienced by the Xukuru can you identify in the General Assembly’s Resolutions? In the 46 Articles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?
• How would you discuss the issues and present them is such a way as to demonstrate how the Brazilian Nation-State has abused the basic human rights of the Xukuru as outlined in this document?
These are two of the questions we must answer in ways that convince the Regional Federal Tribunal of the 5th region (Pernambuco, Brazil) which is reviewing current appeals to reverse the Federal Courts’ decision to sentence Cacique Marcos Xukuru to 10 years and 4 months in prison (see discussions in earlier blogs about the attempted assassination of Cacique Marcos Xukuru and other abuses). Your suggestions could add to our success.