Cali Tzay Nominated for UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Jose Francisco Cali Tzay, Mayan Cakchiquel, former President of UNCERD
United Nations (UCTP Taino News) - The UN Human Rights Council accepted nominations for the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples until October 2019. Among the nominees are Jose Francisco Cali Tzay, a Mayan Cakchiquel from Guatemala and former member (through December 2019) and past President of the UN CERD. In addition to his many other accomplishments, he is also the President of the Board of Directors of the International Indian Treaty Council for the past 20 years. 

Indigenous organizations from around the world have already submitted letters of support for the nomination of Cali Tzay, including the United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP)

In a joint statement with the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization, UCTP President, Roberto Múkaro Borrero stated: “We commend the remarkable work Mr. Cali Tzay has accomplished in the field of human rights, in particular, issues concerning indigenous peoples internationally, over his career.” 

In 2001, the Commission on Human Rights decided to appoint a Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, as part of the system of thematic Special Procedures. The Special Rapporteur’s mandate was renewed by the Commission on Human Rights in 2004, and by the Human Rights Council in 2007. 

Appointments of Special Procedures Mandate Holders are expected to be made at the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council to be held in Geneva, Switzerland from 24 February - 20 March 2020. 

UCTPTN 02/15/2020


Taino community member’s art selected for NY Public Library Publication

New York (UCTP Taíno News) – Taíno community member, Cesar Guzman was selected and published in the 2020 edition of “Connections: A free guide for formally incarcerated people in New York City.” Connections is produced by the New York Public Library and is accessed by tens of thousands of New Yorkers every year who are looking for information on social service assistance, human rights, and other information. Guzman received a Certificate of Award in recognition of his “outstanding artistic interpretation of Connections” and his artwork appeared on page 219. 

UCTPTN 02/13/2020


Women's March Brings Thousands Together Across the U.S. and Beyond

UCTP Representative Chali'naru Dones (at center) opens the 4th Annual Pioneer Valley Women's March on Saturday, January 18, 2020, with a spiritual invocation. 
Photo: Kevin Gutting 
Springfield, Massachusetts (UCTP Taíno News) – From coast to coast, thousands of women and their allies took to the streets across the U.S. on Saturday, January 18, 2020 to raise the visibility of a variety of issues such as climate change, immigration, reproductive rights, pay equity, gun safety, and voting. 

Marches took place in Washington D.C., New York City, Chicago, Denver, Colorado, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,  New London, Connecticut, Dayton, Ohio, and Springfield, Massachusetts, among many others. The march in Washington D.C. was expected to be the largest, with a permit filed for 10,000 people. Colorful and passionate messages of resistance, empowerment, and solidarity were consistent across events.
In Springfield, Massachusetts, s
everal hundred demonstrators made their way down Main Street to City Hall holding signs and chanting at the fourth annual Pioneer Valley Women’s March. The Springfield mobilization was opened with a spiritual invocation by Chali’naru Dones, a representative of the United Confederation of Taíno People and a member of the Guainía Taíno Tribe. 

Before beginning her invocation, Dones called on those gathered to acknowledge local Indigenous Peoples and to keep the “women and all the people of Borikén (Puerto Rico) in [their] hearts” as they were still suffering from the effects of recent earthquakes. She also called for more attention on the issue of “missing and murdered Indigenous Women from throughout the hemisphere.” 

Also at the Springfield rally, Rhonda Anderson, a member of Inupiaq Athabaskan Tribes of Alaska called on the crowd to “Resist racism, resist marginalization, resist colonization, resist harmful legislation that seeks to turn back the clock against women, against minorities and against our Mother Earth.

The over 200 Women’s Marches that took place on Saturday were not limited to the U.S. as others took place in Paris, Berlin, London, Prague, Sydney and beyond. 

UCTPTN 01/19/2020


The UCTP Condemns Actions of US Army Core of Engineers (USACE) and Southeastern Archaelogical Research Inc. (SEARCH, Inc.)

The United Confederation of Taíno People (UCTP) condemns the actions of the US Army Core of Engineers (USACE) and Southeastern Archaelogical Research Inc. (SEARCH, Inc.) based in Orlando, Florida, which resulted in the irreparable damage to an ancient indigenous burial site, including human remains and associated funerary objects at Rio la Plata, Dorado, Puerto Rico. 

The UCTP also condemns the decision of the State Historic Preservation Office in Puerto Rico, which granted the permit to and certified the work of the USACE and SEARCH, Inc. as satisfactory even though heavy equipment was used for excavation and human remains and associated cultural materials were removed from the site without consultation with interested local indigenous peoples' organizations. The lack of consultation is a violation of the United Nations Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

The desecration of the burial site and lack of consultation by the USACE in Dorado is not an isolated incident, as the UCTP has requested consultative status in the past, for example, during excavations at the PO29 Site located at Jacanas, Ponce, Puerto Rico in 2007. The USACE and PR SHPO continue to ignore the established protocol and procedures concerning "consulting parties" in accordance with the National Historic Preservation Act, 36 C.F.R. §800.2: - Participants in the Section 106 process.

While the United Confederation of Taíno People is not a "tribe" federally recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs, it is an Indigenous Peoples Representative Institution that represents descendants of Indigenous Peoples most closely associated with the site in Dorado. Additionally, the UCTP is aware of the availability of the ACHP's guidance regarding consultation with non-federally recognized tribes. 

Therefore, the UCTP calls on the USACE and PR SHPO to cease and desist in their ongoing violation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and comply with the National Historic Preservation Act in Rio la Plata, Dorado, and all of Borikén (aka Puerto Rico). 

In witness thereof,
Roberto Múkaro Borrero, 
United Confederation of Taíno People