Monday, January 13, 2020

Message to the US Senate: USMCA and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples


PO Box 24009
Phoenix, AZ 85074

Message to the US Senate
USMCA and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
 

January 10, 2020 

Honorable Members of the US Senate, 

Good greetings.  On December 12th of last year we submitted a communique to the email address of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission requesting a public hearing before the commission for the purpose of informing the US Congressional representatives regarding the right of Indigenous Peoples to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as stipulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).

Of critical and timely importance to this request has been the attempt by Indigenous Peoples, thus far unsuccessfully, to have this issue addressed before the final vote of approval in the US Senate on the US-Mexico-Canada-Agreement (USMCA). 

In this context, also in December of last year, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination issued a statement expressing concern “by the refusal to consider free, prior and informed consent” in regards to large-scale development projects in Canada, and “alarmed” by the escalating threat of violence against Indigenous Peoples the Committee urged the government of Canada to guarantee no force will be used against them. 

These concerns were highlighted in a recent article in The Guardian that reported the RCMP were prepared to use lethal force against Indigenous protesters blocking workers from clearing the Coastal GasLink’s natural gas pipeline route a year ago in unceded Wet’suwet’en territory.  On January 4th 2020, Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs evicted Coastal GasLink corporation from their territory in exercise of the right of Self Determination as Indigenous Peoples.  The eviction notice applies to “Camp 9A” on Dark House territory, as well as the neighbouring Gidimt’en, Tsayu, and Laksamshu clan territories.

Meanwhile in Mexico, on December 19th 2020, the Mexico office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (ONU-DH) said that the consultations on the government’s Maya Train project failed to meet all international human rights standards. Such international standards establish that a consultation process with indigenous communities must be carried out prior to a project being executed in a manner that is culturally appropriate, serves to inform and allows free participation.

Yet during information meetings regarding the Maya Train observed by the ONU-DH in Campeche, Yucatán, Quintana Roo, Chiapas and Tabasco, community members asked questions about the possible negative impacts of the project on several occasions “without obtaining a clear and complete response,” the statement said.  The ONU-DH said that the absence of studies about the potential impacts or “the failure to disseminate” the studies made it difficult for people to reach an informed opinion about the Maya Train project.

The Mexico office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (ONU-DH) said in a statement that during the month-long consultation process in southeastern states it observed that the information presented to indigenous communities only outlined the potential benefits of the project and not the negative impacts it may cause.  According to public reports from Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), US President D.Trump has offered support and financial backing for the Maya Train project, in spite of the concerns over Human Rights violations and the unawareness in the general American public of the role of their government in the scheme.

Going back to the fast tracking of the Dakota Access Pipeline in the Treaty Territories of the Oceti Sakuwin by President D.Trump as soon as he got into office in 2017, the current administration in Washington has blatantly disregarded the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including freedom from discrimination and the right of Free, Prior and Informed Consent.  The proclamation of a National Emergency at the US/Mexico border in order to circumvent domestic civil rights and environmental justice protections to facilitate building the Trump Wall at the border is also yet another example of the systemic violation of the Indigenous Peoples right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.

The Carrizo/Comecrudo Tribe of Esto'k Gna, whose traditional territories lie on both sides of the Texas, USA/Coahuila, Mexico border have consistently expressed their denial of consent for the D.Trump Border Wall project which in addition to bringing environmental destruction to the territory, will desecrate an ancestral burial site at the location of the Eli Jackson Cemetery.  The cemetery also holds the final resting place of US veterans from WWI, WWII, and Korea.

Previously, in our letter to the USMCA Working Group of the US House of Representatives on September 13th 2019, we informed the Working Group members and House Speaker Pelosi that upon review of the public record of debate concerning the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the context of the proposed US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the systemic disregard for the human rights of Indigenous Peoples is blatantly discriminatory, unacceptable and must be addressed before the agreement be put to vote.  Completely disregarding this message, the House of Representatives passed the USMCA on December 19th, and the Senate Finance Committee then passed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on January 9, 2020.

On January 1st of 2020, having received urgent and direct testimony and witness from the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico on how the normalization of Human Rights violations under the USMCA will exacerbate an already very dire situation, where Indigenous Human Rights Defenders such as Samir Flores are being openly assassinated, we reissued our initial call to the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.  As of today January 10th 2020, we have received no confirmation nor response to our messages.

The call a public hearing for the purpose of informing the US congressional representatives, trade representatives, and the public at large regarding the right of Indigenous Peoples to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) in the context of the USMCA is a call to conscience, and to the rule of law.

The USMCA has been promoted as a necessary "update" of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In distinction from NAFTA which was adopted in 1994 thirteen years before adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), the signatories of USMCA must comply with the minimum standards of FPIC or the corporate consortia investing in any development project in violation of FPIC will immediately become financially liable and exposed to the risk of legal challenges and financial penalties that must be presented before their constituencies (states) and shareholders (corporations).

This principle is now well established, having been the subject of the Soft Woods Lumber Dispute (1982) between the US and Canada which acknowledged the proprietary rights of Indigenous Peoples over territories and resources in the international trade tribunals. Recognizing this fact, the World Bank has restructured its procedures, protocols and practices regarding Indigenous Peoples and the right of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent under the Environmental and Social Standard 7 to shield its interests.

The designation of Indigenous Peoples in the proposed text USMCA is definitive, in terms of the recognition of Indigenous Peoples as “peoples”. In the context of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was not yet in place in 1994 during the original NAFTA agreement, the recognition of Indigenous Peoples in an international commercial agreement necessarily is accompanied and contextualized by the recognition of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as articulated and affirmed in the principles and articles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

There can be no approval of USMCA without recognition, respect, and effective mechanisms for the equal protection of the internationally recognized Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the trade zone encompassing the three countries, specifically the right of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC).  Consultation is not consent.

Without the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples, as Peoples equal to all other peoples, there can be no legitimate approval of the USMCA.

Tupac Enrique Acosta

TONATIERRA


Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)

All Peoples have the right to self-determination. It is a fundamental principle in international law, embodied in the Charter of the United Nations and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The standard, Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), as well as Indigenous Peoples’ rights to lands, territories and natural resources are embedded within the universal right to self- determination. The normative framework for FPIC consists of a series of international legal instruments including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the International Labour Organization Convention 169 (ILO 169), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), among many others.

FPIC is a specific right that pertains to Indigenous Peoples and is recognized in the UNDRIP. It allows them to give or withhold consent to a project that may affect them or their territories. Once they have given their consent, they can withdraw it at any stage. Furthermore, FPIC enables them to negotiate the conditions under which the project will be designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated.


Consultation is not consent.




First Nations Strategic Bulletin July-December 2019

Unmasking Trudeau’s Redface: The Liberal Government’s White Paper 2.0 Leads Us On a Path of Termination

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Jefes Hereditarios de Wet’suwet’en desalojan Coastal GasLink de su territorio



Martes enero 7, 2020 - Domingo enero 12, 2020


PARA PUBLICACIÓN INMEDIATA: Smithers, BC 
enero 4, 2020

Los Jefes Hereditarios de Wet’suwet’en que representan a los cinco clanes de la nación de Wet’suwet’en han emitido un aviso de desalojo a la compañía de gasoductos Coastal GasLink (CGL). El desalojo de CGL es efectivo de inmediato, y se aplica al "Campamento 9A" en el territorio Dark House, así como a los territorios vecinos del clan Gidimt’en, Tsayu y Laksamshu. Los jefes hereditarios se han reunido en los territorios de Gidimt'en y Gilseyhu para monitorear el desalojo.

Coastal GasLink ha violado la ley Wet’suwet’en, invadiendo sin permiso y arrasando nuestros territorios, destruyó nuestros sitios arqueológicos y ocupando nuestras tierras con campamentos industriales compuestos de hombres trabajadores. Empresas de seguridad privadas y la policía nacional Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) han interferido continuamente con nuestros derechos constitucionalmente protegidos como  Pueblos Originales de Wet’suwet’en para acceder a nuestras tierras para la caza, el atrapar, y nuestras ceremonias."

Jefes Hereditarios de Wet’suwet’en que representan a los cinco clanes de la nación de Wet’suwet’en han emitido un aviso de desalojo a la compañía de gasoductos Coastal GasLink (CGL).


Los tribunales de Canadá han reconocido en caso Delgamuukw-Gisdaywa v. The Queen (1997) que el Pueblo de Wet’suwet’en, representada por nuestros Jefes Hereditarios, nunca ha cedido ni entregado el título a los 22,000 km cuadrados del territorio de Wet’suwet’en.  La concesión de la orden interlocutoria recién emitida por parte de la Corte Suprema de Columbia Británica nos ha demostrado que los tribunales canadienses ignorarán sus propias decisiones y negarán nuestra jurisdicción cuando sea conveniente, y no protegerán nuestros territorios o nuestros derechos como Pueblos Indígenas. 

Anuc ‘nu’at’en (Ley de Wet'suwet’en) no es una" creencia "o un" punto de vista ".  Es una forma de gestionar de manera sostenible nuestros territorios y relaciones entre nosotros y con el mundo que nos rodea, y ha funcionado durante miles de años para mantener nuestros territorios intactos. Nuestra ley es fundamental para nuestra identidad. La constante criminalización de nuestras leyes por parte de los tribunales y la policía industrial de Canadá es un intento al genocidio, un intento de extinguir la identidad de Wet’suwet’en.


Reafirmamos que Anuc ‘nu’at’en sigue siendo la ley más alta en las tierras de Wet’suwet’en y debe ser respetada. Siempre hemos cumplido con nuestra responsabilidad y la autoridad de proteger nuestros territorios que nunca han sido cedidos.  La protección de nuestra yintah (territorios tradicionales) es vital en el corazón de Anuc ‘nu’at’en, y seguiremos practicando nuestras propias leyes para el bienestar de las generaciones futuras.

Los Wet’suwet’en siempre han controlado el acceso a nuestros territorios. Durante los últimos diez años, en la aldea de Unist’ot’en se ha implementado un protocolo de Consentimiento Libre, Previo e Enformado (CLPI) para los que solicitan acceso al territorio de Dark House sin ser miembro de la nacion Wet’suwet’en. Las autoridades Dark House no ha podido implementar este protocolo desde que se impuso el interdicto intermediario en enero del 2019. Nuestro protocolo alinea la ley Wet'suwet'en con la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, que garantiza a los pueblos indígenas el derecho de Consentimiento Libre, Previo e Informado para proyectos de desarrollo en nuestros territorios.
 

Esperamos que Coastal GasLink cumpla pacíficamente con nuestro Aviso de Desalojo, y solicitamos que la provincia de Columbia Británica, Canada cumpla con su compromiso de implementar la Declaracion sobre Derechos de los Pueblos Indigenas de las Naciones Unidas instruyendo al Royal Canadian Mounted Police RCMP a respetar nuestros derechos y abstenerse de interferir en la ley de Wet'suwet’en.

 Coordinadora de medios de comunicación: 
Jennifer Wickham, Gidimt’en Clan – yintahaccess@gmail.com
(778) 210-0067

#wetsuwetenstrong #notrespass #wedzinkwa #riseup #lightthehomefires #44forever\


INVASION


En esta era de reconciliación, la tierra Indígena todavía se toma a punta de pistola. INVASIÓN es nuevo cortometraje sobre el Campamento Unist’ot’en, la bloqueada Gidimt’en y la Nación Wet’suwet’en, luchando en contra del gobierno Canadiense y la corporaciones que continúan la violencia colonial en contra de los pueblos Indígenas.
 

**Largometraje viene en el 2020**

El campamento Unist’ot’en ha sido un lucero de resistencia en los últimos 10 años. Es un espacio de curación para Indígenas y no-indígenas, y un ejemplo de decolonization. La violencia, destrucción del medio ambiente y el atropello de derechos humanos que han pasado despues de que TC Energy y Coastal Gaslink entraron a su territorio ha sido difícil de soportar !Pero esta lucha continua!
Organice una proyección de esta película.

Para más información: http://unistoten.camp/invasion

Para hacer un donativo: http://unistoten.camp/support-us/donate/



Thursday, January 2, 2020

TONATIERRA: Comunicado Urgente a la Comisión de Derechos Humanos Tom Lantos

TONATIERRA
PO Box 24009
Phoenix, AZ 85074

Comunicado Urgente a la Comisión de Derechos Humanos Tom Lantos, Comité de Relaciones Exteriores, Cámara de Representantes del Congreso EE. UU.

DESCARGAR PDF

1 enero 2020

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
5100 O'Neill House Office Building
200 C Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20515

Saludos cordiales,

En nuestra carta al Grupo de Trabajo USMCA de la Cámara de Representantes de los Estados Unidos el 13 de septiembre del año pasado, informamos a los miembros del Grupo de Trabajo y a la Presidenta de la Cámara, Nancy Pelosi, que al revisar el registro público del debate sobre los Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos Indígenas en el contexto del acuerdo propuesto entre Estados Unidos, México y Canadá (TMEC-USMCA-CUSMA), el desprecio sistémico de los derechos humanos de los Pueblos Indígenas es descaradamente discriminatorio, inaceptable y debe abordarse antes de que el acuerdo se someta a votación ante la Cámara de Representantes.

Específicamente, exigimos una audiencia pública completa ante los comités apropiados y/o formaciones de Grupos de Trabajo del Congreso de los Estados Unidos con el propósito de informar a los representantes del Congreso de los Estados Unidos sobre el derecho de los Pueblos Indígenas al Consentimiento Libre, Previo e Informado (CLPI) como estipulado en la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas (2007) con respecto a proyectos que afectan sus derechos colectivos.

El propósito de este comunicado es instar a la Comisión de Derechos Humanos Tom Lantos a llevar a cabo una audiencia pública completa sobre este tema antes del voto de aprobación del USMCA en el Congreso de los Estados Unidos.

Hoy, 1 de enero de 2020, volvemos a emitir este llamado con mayor urgencia ya que los Pueblos Indígenas de México que se han reunido recientemente en los territorios Zapatistas (EZLN) han dado a conocer a la comunidad internacional su decidida oposición a la imposición de los megaproyectos de desarrollo a escala TMEC-USMCA que ya se están implementando ilegalmente y sin respeto a los derechos de los Pueblos Originales a través de "consultas engañosas" en un intento subversivo por parte del gobierno de México para fabricar un "consentimiento" burocrático a su favor.
 


Para los representantes comerciales de los EE. UU. Y el Congreso de los EE. UU. avanzar con un voto de aprobación para la TMEC-USMCA a la luz de esta información, implicaría al gobierno de los EE. UU. como cómplice en un acto deliberado de agresión internacional contra los Pueblos Indígenas de México. El EZLN ha declarado que permanecerán en el cumplimiento de su deber como "pueblos guardianes de la Madre Tierra" hasta la muerte si es necesario.
 

El USMCA ha sido promovido como una "actualización" necesaria del Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte (TLCAN). A diferencia del TLCAN que se adoptó en 1994 trece años antes de la adopción de la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas (2007), los signatarios de USMCA deben cumplir con los estándares mínimos de CLPI o los consorcios corporativos que invierten en cualquier proyecto de desarrollo en violación de CLPI será inmediatamente responsable financieramente y estarán expuestos al riesgo de desafíos legales y sanciones financieras que deben presentarse ante sus constituyentes (estados) y accionistas (corporaciones).

Este principio ahora está bien establecido, ya que fue objeto de la Disputa Soft Woods (1982) entre los Estados Unidos y Canadá, que reconoció los derechos de propiedad de los pueblos indígenas sobre sus territorios y recursos en los tribunales de comercio internacional del TLC.  Reconociendo este hecho, el Banco Mundial ha reestructurado sus procedimientos, protocolos y prácticas con respecto a los Pueblos Indígenas y el derecho al Consentimiento Libre, Previo e Informado bajo el Estándar 7 Ambiental y Social para proteger sus intereses.
 



Hoy escuchamos referencias diarias en los medios públicos a los "Padres Fundadores" de los Estados Unidos, invocando los principios de los derechos y responsabilidades del autogobierno y la democracia estadounidense a medida que los procedimientos de juicio político de Impeachment contra el presidente D.Trump avanzan (o se degradan) en el Congreso de los Estados Unidos.

Es oportuno entonces yuxtaponer los problemas de "delitos públicos" y violaciones de "Juramentos de Honor" por parte de los representantes del gobierno de los Estados Unidos al revisar la historia de las relaciones internacionales que comienzan con las trece colonias británicas originales y el largo "Sendero de Tratados Rotos" con las Naciones Originarias de los Pueblos Indígenas, cuya historia en el continente precede a la fundación de los Estados Unidos de América. Una evaluación justa e imparcial de esta historia, que debe incluir la aprobación rápido e ilegal sin escrúpulos del Dakota Access Pipeline por parte del presidente D.Trump en 2017, concluiría que lo que está en disputa no es ningún esfuerzo honesto por parte de los EE. UU. para honrar su palabra o cumplir con un estado de derecho y la justicia para los pueblos indígenas, pero en cambio es un ejercicio continuo de actos de criminalidad internacional donde lo que realmente está en debate es "¿Cuánto puedo salirme yo con robar la suya?" En una palabra, impunidad.




De hecho, la perpetuación de esta historia de "delitos públicos" sistémicas cometidas por las agencias de los estados con respecto a las violaciones de los Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos Indígenas es el propósito fundamental por el cual la DDPI fue desarrollada como un instrumento necesario de los derechos humanos en el campo internacional contemporáneo después de décadas de negociaciones entre todas las partes.

El patrón histórico de "delitos" sistémicas cometidas por las agencias de los estados en violación de los Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos Indígenas es evidente una vez más por el hecho de que el Grupo de Trabajo de USMCA no aborda el tema central de la discriminación no ética e ilegal contra los Pueblos Indígenas en los procesos de negociación y colusión de los tres gobiernos de TMEC-USMCA.

No puede haber aprobación de TMEC-USMCA sin el reconocimiento, respeto y mecanismos efectivos para la igualdad de protección de los Derechos Humanos de los Pueblos Indígenas internacionalmente reconocidos en la zona comercial que abarca los tres países, específicamente el derecho al Consentimiento Libre, Previo e Informado (CLPI).  La consulta no es consentimiento.

Sin la participación plena y efectiva de los pueblos indígenas, como Pueblos iguales a todos los demás pueblos, no puede haber una aprobación legítima del TMEC-USMCA.


Tupac Enrique Acosta

TONATIERRA
 



Consentimiento Libre, Previo e informado (CLPI)


Todos los pueblos tienen derecho a la libre determinación. Es un principio fundamental en el derecho internacional, incorporado en la Carta de las Naciones Unidas y el Convenio Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos y el Convenio Internacional de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales.

El estándar de Consentimiento Libre, Previo e Informado (CLPI), así como los derechos de los pueblos indígenas a sus tierras, territorios y recursos naturales están integrados en el derecho universal a la libre determinación. El marco normativo para el CLPI consiste en una serie de instrumentos legales internacionales que incluyen la Declaración de las Naciones Unidas sobre los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas (DNUDPI), el Convenio 169 de la Organización Internacional del Trabajo (OIT 169) y el Convenio sobre la Diversidad Biológica (CDB), entre muchos otros.

El CLPI es un derecho específico que pertenece a los pueblos indígenas y está reconocido en la DNUDPI. Les permite dar o negar su consentimiento a un proyecto que pueda afectarlos a ellos o a sus territorios. Una vez que hayan dado su consentimiento, pueden retirarlo en cualquier momento. Además, el CLPI les permite negociar las condiciones bajo las cuales el proyecto será diseñado, implementado, monitoreado y evaluado.

La consulta no es consentimiento.


 [Canadá-EE. UU.-México]

El texto oficial en castellano (o cualquier idioma indígena) del acuerdo de USMCA nunca fue publicado en México o en ninguna otra parte hasta la fecha de 5 de diciembre, 2018 cuando nuestra organización TONATIERRA lo pidió en las oficinas del consulado de México en Phoenix, Arizona.  Sin tener el texto antemano, no existe una narrativa legítima o racional que pueda explicar cómo los Pueblos Indígenas de México han sido consultados por lo menos con respecto a la protección de sus derechos particulares y colectivos en el USMCA, mucho menos tomados en cuenta con la oportunidad de aprobar o NEGAR EL CONSENTIMIENTO.

Hoy, una vez más, la Comisión Continental Abya Yala reitera este llamado a la rendición de cuentas y la justicia en solidaridad continental indígena y acuerdo con el Manifiesto de Reconciliación de la Red Indígena sobre Economías y Comercio INET y en el espíritu del Manifiesto Abya Yala.  Nuestro mandato colectivo es la defensa de la Integridad Territorial de la Madre Tierra: El tiempo es ahora.


Wednesday, January 1, 2020

TONATIERRA: Communiqué to Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, House Committee on Foreign Affairs

TONATIERRA

PO Box 24009
Phoenix, AZ 85074

January 1, 2020

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
5100 O'Neill House Office Building
200 C Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20515

Good greetings.

In our letter to the USMCA Working Group of the US House of Representatives on September 13th of last year, we informed the Working Group members and House Speaker Pelosi that upon review of the public record of debate concerning the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the context of the proposed US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the systemic disregard for the human rights of Indigenous Peoples is blatantly discriminatory, unacceptable and must be addressed before the agreement is put to vote before the House of Representatives.

Specifically, we called for a full public hearing before the appropriate committees and/or Working Group formations of the US Congress for the purpose of informing the US congressional representatives on the right of Indigenous Peoples to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as stipulated in the UN Declarationon the Rights of Indigenous Peoples regarding projects which impact their collective rights.

The purpose of this communiqué is to urge the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission to conduct a full public hearing on this issue before the vote of approval on the USMCA in the US Congress.

Today, January 1 2020 we reissue this call with greater urgency as the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico who have convened recently in the Zapatista (EZLN) territories have made known to the international community their determined opposition to the imposition of the USMCA scale mega development projects that already are being illegally implemented and sanitized via "deceptive consultations" in a subversive attempt by the government of Mexico to manufacture "consent".

For the US trade representatives and the US Congress to move forward with a vote of approval for the USMCA in light of this information, would implicate the US government as complicit in a deliberate act of international aggression against the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico.  The EZLN has stated that they will remain in the fulfillment of their duty as "guardian peoples of Mother Earth" until death if necessary.
 

The USMCA has been promoted as a necessary "update" of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In distinction from NAFTA which was adopted in 1994 thirteen years before adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007), the signatories of USMCA must comply with the minimum standards of FPIC or the corporate consortia investing in any development project in violation of FPIC will immediately become financially liable and exposed to the risk of legal challenges and financial penalties that must be presented before their constituencies (states) and shareholders (corporations).

This principle is now well established, having been the subject of the Soft Woods Lumber Dispute (1982) between the US and Canada which acknowledged the proprietary rights of Indigenous Peoples over territories and resources in the international trade tribunals. Recognizing this fact, the World Bank has restructured its procedures, protocols and practices regarding Indigenous Peoples and the right of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent under the Environmental and Social Standard 7 to shield its interests.

Today we hear daily references in the public media to the “Founding Fathers”, invoking the principles of the rights and responsibilities of self-government and American democracy as the impeachment proceedings against President D.Trump advance (or degrade) in the US Congress.

It is timely then to juxtapose the issues of “wrongdoing” and violations of “Oaths of Honor” by the representatives of the US government when reviewing the history of international relations beginning with the original thirteen British colonies and the long “Trail of Broken Treaties” with the Original Nations of Indigenous Peoples whose history on the continent precedes the founding of the USA.  A fair and impartial evaluation of this history, which must include the fast tracking of the Dakota Access Pipeline by President D.Trump in 2017, would conclude that what is in contention is not any honest effort by the US to honor its word, or live up to the rule of law and justice for Indigenous Peoples, but instead a continuous exercise in wrongdoing where what is really in debate is “How much can I get away with?”  In a word, impunity.

Indeed, the perpetuation of this historic pattern of systemic “wrongdoing” committed by the agencies of the states vis-a-vi violations of the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples is the fundamental purpose why the UNDRIP was developed as a necessary instrument of contemporary international human rights law after decades of negotiations among all parties.


The historic pattern of systemic “wrongdoing” committed by the agencies of the states in violation of the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples is evident once again by the failure of the USMCA Working Group to address the core issue of unethical and illegal discrimination against Indigenous Peoples in the processes of  negotiation and collusion by the three USMCA governments.

There can be no approval of USMCA without recognition, respect, and effective mechanisms for the equal protection of the internationally recognized Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the trade zone encompassing the three countries, specifically the right of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC).  Consultation is not consent.

Without the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples, as Peoples equal to all other peoples, there can be no legitimate approval of the USMCA.

Tupac Enrique Acosta

TONATIERRA
****************



Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)

All Peoples have the right to self-determination. It is a fundamental principle in international law, embodied in the Charter of the United Nations and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

The standard, Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), as well as Indigenous Peoples’ rights to lands, territories and natural resources are embedded within the universal right to self- determination. The normative framework for FPIC consists of a series of international legal instruments including the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the International Labour Organization Convention 169 (ILO 169), and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), among many others.

FPIC is a specific right that pertains to Indigenous Peoples and is recognized in the UNDRIP. It allows them to give or withhold consent to a project that may affect them or their territories. Once they have given their consent, they can withdraw it at any stage. Furthermore, FPIC enables them to negotiate the conditions under which the project will be designed, implemented, monitored and evaluated.


Consultation is not consent.


Zapatistas celebrate 26th Anniversary:“We shall defend Mother Earth with our lives if necessary.”




Zapatistas“We shall defend Mother Earth with our lives if necessary.”

Zapatistas celebrate 26th Anniversary:“We shall defend Mother Earth with our lives if necessary.”
January 1, 2020

By Ángeles Mariscal

One year was enough for the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) to regain the bases of support from groups of collectives and organizations that at one time, supported the political and government project of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) in Mexico.

From the bleak tone “We are alone” of speeches in December of 2018, the December of 2019 came to pass with the celebration of five massive events with diverse social sectors; and with a renewed call of rising to the challenge: the land will be defended against the imposition of government economic development projects, "until death if necessary."


Thousands of people from different regions of the country and the world, congregated the last month of the year with Zapatistas, during events with themes of cinema and art, agriculture and territory, and women.

Throughout all of the discussions was heard the theme of the economic projects of president AMLO of Mexico, being promoted as “mega development projects”.

These are projects such as the Mayan Train, the Transístmico Corridor, which are driven by the alliances made with entrepreneurs such as Ricardo Salinas Pliego, Alberto Bailléres and Carlos Slim, who are linked to mining, energy, hydraulic, and real estate projects.


One of the most significant meetings, the "Forum in Defense of the Territory and Mother Earth", which was held in San Cristóbal de las Casas on December 21 and 22, was convened in alliance with the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), and attended by organizations and groups from the across the countryside and urban areas with 24 states of the country participating.

In these gatherings groups were reunited that during the 2018 electoral process placed a bet on the López Obrador government, and who today disappointed by the economic AMLO model, have returned to meet up as allies, with the Zapatistas of the Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN).

During the gatherings, they accused the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador of subverting the popular will through “deceptive consultations”, to “forcefully impose the so-called Mayan Train, which would deliver the indigenous territories to service of the great capital interests of industrialists and tourism.  Instead, the attendees agreed to articulate the defense of their territories, to be self-sustaining and strengthen a systemic life plan via an economic model distinct from capitalism.


The meeting of “Women who Struggle” that was held between the 26 and 29 of December, in one of the canyons of the municipality of Altamirano, at the entrance to the Lacandon jungle, almost four thousand attendees -women from 49 countries- also questioned the impact that the capitalist economic model and projects based on the extraction of natural resources have on the women of society.

In this context, on December 31, in celebration of the 26 years that the EZLN came to light, the leadership of the insurgent group, in the voice of Sub comandante Insurgente Moisés, vindicated the meaning of their struggle to create better living conditions, its rejection of the capitalist economic system, and the construction of new models of development based on self-government and a process of autonomy that recovers the knowledge of the Original Peoples.

This agenda is in direct confrontation with the course of the previous and current government of Mexico.  In this context, before an audience consisting mainly of the Zapatistas forces who have a military background - Moisés, said: “We have stood firm in attempting to build something new. We have had failures and errors, it is true. Surely, we will have more in our long journey ahead, but we have never given up, we have never sold ourselves, we have never given up (...) and we are increasingly more. We have a project of life, with schools and health clinics that flourish in our communities, and the land is worked collectively.

“And collectively we support each other, we are thus we are community, a community of communities. And we remain firm in the fulfillment of our duty as guardian peoples of Mother Earth.”


This region of Chiapas, in the Altamirano gorge, one of the entrance doors to the Lacandon Jungle, where one of its eleven headquarters is located, the EZLN spokesman questioned the “mega development projects”, and the government's decision to carry them out. “Given this situation,” Moisés said, “We, the Zapatista peoples, take it as if AMLO is challenging us all, as if he is saying that he has the all the strength and the money, and to see who opposes his mandate. He is saying that what he says is what is going to be done, not what the people say and that he doesn't care about the reasons. So then we, the Zapatista peoples, shall take up our part of that challenge. 

Then he spoke out to the assembled people: "Are the Zapatista Pueblos willing risk to losing everything they have gained in the struggle for autonomy?" The answer was "YES!"

“We are willing to give our lives to provide and alternative for society, we are willing as an organization, as Indigenous Peoples of Mayan roots, as guardians of Mother Earth, as Zapatista individuals. We, the Zapatista peoples, following our ways and our calendar, have made this offering only to communicate with Mother Earth that we shall defend her, we will defend her until our death if necessary.”

“We were looking for a person who would be a Zapatista and who was willing to do everything, everything. And we found not one, nor two, nor one hundred, nor one thousand, nor ten thousand, nor one hundred thousand. We found everyone called the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, willing to give all to defend the land.”

### 




With the vote on the USMCA now pending in the US Congress, there has been no substantive debate on the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples to be impacted by the modification of the NAFTA multilateral trade agreement (1994). This is not acceptable, and in fact is a violation of the right of Indigenous Peoples to Free, Prior and Informed Consent in good faith as is articulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007).


1.) The designation of Indigenous Peoples in the USMCA is definitive, in terms of the recognition of Indigenous Peoples as “peoples”. In the context of the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was not yet in place in 1994 during the original NAFTA agreement, the recognition of Indigenous Peoples in an international commercial agreement necessarily is accompanied and contextualized by the recognition of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as articulated and affirmed in the principles and articles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

2) The principle of non-discrimination is a preemptive norm in international law. Therefore, the recognition of Indigenous Peoples as “peoples" in USMCA Article 32.5 Indigenous Peoples Rights must be taken as an affirmation and commitment to uphold, recognize, respect, and institute guarantees of protection for the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples, equal to all other peoples, without illegal or arbitrary discrimination, including effective consequences in the form of legal remedies to address the violation of these rights. Colonization must not be disguised as development.

3) Consultation is not the same as consent. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples affirms the right of Free, Prior and Informed Consent in culturally appropriate manner for all economic development projects that impact the territories and human rights of Indigenous Peoples.

4) The official text in Spanish (or any indigenous language) of the USMCA agreement was never published in Mexico or anywhere else until the date of December 5, 2018 when our organization TONATIERRA requested an official copy at the offices of the Mexican consulate in Phoenix, Arizona. Without having the text of the USMCA agreement in advance, there is no legitimate or rational narrative that can explain how the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico have been consulted at least with respect to the protection of their particular and collective rights in the USMCA, much less taken into account with the opportunity to approve or DENY CONSENT.

In our letter to the USMCA Working Group of the US House of Representatives on September 13th of this year, we informed the Working Group members and House Speaker Pelosi that upon review of the public record of debate concerning the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the context of the proposed US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the systemic disregard for the human rights of Indigenous Peoples is blatantly discriminatory, unacceptable and must be addressed before the agreement is put to vote before the House of Representatives.

Specifically, we called for a full public hearing before the appropriate committees and/or Working Group formations of the US Congress for the purpose of informing the US congressional representatives on the right of Indigenous Peoples to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) as stipulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples regarding projects which impact their collective rights.

The purpose of this communiqué is to urge the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission to conduct a full public hearing on this issue before the vote of approval on the USMCA in the US Congress.

***************

Mayan Train in Mexico: Manipulated Consultation