New law Threatens Ancient Indigenous Patrimony in Puerto Rico

San Juan, Boriken (UCTP Taino News) - The Puerto Rican Senate and House of Representatives are deliberating on the approval of revised Permit Law Projects that opponents state would endanger the Caribbean island’s environmental and archeological patrimony. Local archeologists, environmentalists, and indigenous Taino groups are calling on the government to abandon this process involving Permit Law Projects No. 880 in the Senate and No. 1649 in the House of Representatives.

The Permit Law Projects are being touted as much needed initiatives that would to re-structure and expedite construction permits on the island. As noted by several public statements made by those opposed to the projects, the proposed legislation would nullify current legal protections for environmental and archaeological resources while favoring development with little oversight.

“This proposed policy would also regulate ‘public’ participation in these processes to an informal position” stated Naniki Reyes Ocasio, a local Taino community leader.

Reyes Ocasio continued stating “This permit law proposal is a violation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, an international human rights law standard that calls for prior and informed consent.”

A demonstration calling on the government to abandon the current Permit Law Projects will be held tomorrow, Friday June 5 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The event will begin at 11am at “Puente Dos Hermanos” in the Condado area where Ashford Avenue ends and leads into Old San Juan. For more information on the demonstration contact “Coalición Todo Puerto Rico Por Puerto Rico” at 787-274-8087, 787-502-0194 or bsantiago@alianzaseiu.org.

UCTPTN 06.04.2009

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