Taino People Submit Shadow Report to UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

UCTP Taino News - The United Confederation of Taino People (UCTP), the Consejo General de Tainos Borincanos (CGTB), and the Caney Quinto Mundo (CQM) submitted a joint Shadow Report to the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) in January, 2008. The UNCERD is the "Treaty Monitoring Body" for the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). It monitors compliance of the countries, which have ratified the Convention with its provisions, including the United States (US).

The historic report, the first of its kind ever submitted by Taino People, provides verifiable examples of human rights violations and racial discrimination against Taino People by the governments of the US and Puerto Rico. These violations include the destruction of sacred sites, threats to spiritual and cultural practices, and environmental racism. The report also shows that the Taino attempts to meet with government representatives to resolve these issues have all but been ignored. The report will be considered in the upcoming examination of the US by the UNCERD during its 72nd Session 18 February – 7 March 2008 in Geneva, Switzerland.

The UTCP, CGTB, and CQM also submitted specific information to the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC), which has been included in the IITC's "Consolidated Indigenous Shadow Report" to the UNCERD. The IITC also submitted this extensive report in January 2008 in coordination with the Western Shoshone Defense Project.

"It was important to submit our information in the consolidated report along with other indigenous peoples because it gives context to our individual claims" stated UCTP representative DeAnna Sarobei Rivera. The Director of the Tribal Learning Community & Educational Exchange (TLCEE), a program associated with the Native Nations Law and Policy Center at the UCLA School of Law, Sarobei Rivera was one of the lead writers of the Taino submissions.

Alberto Saldamando, IITC General Counsel, who co-coordinated the development of the report stated, "In compiling this report to the UNCERD, it was clear that the institutionalization of racism and discrimination against Native Peoples is ingrained at every level of US society. The data and the many inputs we received from Tribes, Native Peoples and individuals vividly demonstrate that racial discrimination thrives in schools, universities, prisons and in the so-called administration of justice in the US, at every level of government and society at large."

"Our rights as Indigenous People in Puerto Rico and the Diaspora are affected by U.S. policy and before this time, our voice has never been heard during these important proceedings. These reports ensure that we as a People are taken seriously" stated Mildred Karaira Gandia, a UCTP representative in the state of Florida.

Karaira along with Sarobei Rivera were part of the Taino report’s drafting team, which also included Naniki Reyes Ocasio, Liza O'Reilly, and Roberto Mukaro Borrero. The drafting team incorporated testimony of Taino individuals and organizations from Puerto Rico and the Diaspora into the over 30 page joint submission.

Naniki Reyes Ocasio of the Caney Quinto Mundo stated "The completion of our Joint Shadow Report is another step forward in our struggle to denounce colonization, human rights violations and the racial discrimination directed against us as we continue to defend our rights as Indigenous Peoples for past, present and future generations."

Taino People in Puerto Rico and throughout the Diaspora now await the UNCERD's response to their submission.

UCTPTN 02.19.2008

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