Colorado AIM Youths Removed at UN Permanent Forum
Indigenous Youths protesting lack of participation at UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, are removed and banned by UN security
Update from Glenn Morris
May 9, 2012, night update
On behalf of all of our delegation at the UN, and all of the indigenous youth involved, I would like to thank you all for your hundreds of emails and letters of support to the UN. They got the message, and they have agreed to return the credentials of our indigenous young people so that they can return to the discussion process. Initially, they wanted to ban the youth delegation f…or the entire remainder of the process, or even to ban them for up to ten years from the UN. Then, they suggested that they wanted a letter of apology. Colorado AIM rejected both suggestions, saying that if anyone needed to apologize it was the UN police. We also said that anything short of full restoration would be unsatisfactory, and that we would lead a walkout of the UN meeting. We were fully prepared to walkout tomorrow morning if the young people were not restored. We were asked to mentor our young people, a request that we already have complied with, and will continue to model, as we have from before we arrived in New York.
Tonight, the UN Security relented, and we will accompany our youth back into the UN tomorrow morning. Again, we appreciate all of your efforts on behalf of our youth, and our delegation. We ask for you please to stop contacting the UN Secretariat about this matter, as they have reversed their unsupportable position. We will hold a dinner when we return to Denver to give an account of our trip, and to thank you all for your support and efforts. We ask that you keep us in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow, as we return to the process to fight against the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), that is attempting to allow the ownership and patenting of our traditional knowledge, and genetic resources (see attached statement and joint statement between Debra Harry and Colorado AIM). There will be additional news tomorrow, as the WIPO fight might get pretty ugly. We hope that this note finds you and your loved ones in good health and good spirits, as we remember you all in our work in the belly of the beast.
FROM AIM Colorado
We have a delegation of Indian students from CU-Denver, and from Colorado AIM, at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Several of them are playing an important and active part in the global youth delegation at the United Nations. Yesterday, the Global Youth Caucus, which represents native people from around the world, was holding a silent, peaceful vigil outside the UN building in New York City. The UN police seized their placards, and forcefully evicted 15 young people, including Sky Roosevelt-Morris and Mina Cereceres (Deb Freemont’s granddaughter), and confiscated their UN identification.
Sky and Mina were neither carrying signs, nor chanting nor saying anything, yet, they were rounded up with the group, and had their credentials seized. They are both completely safe, strong and determined, as are the other young people, and they will be holding a press conference today. We are in talks with the UN security people to demand that the credentials be returned, although the security is pulling a very hardline, and suggesting even that they might be banned from the UN for up to ten years. We are asking a lot of people to contact the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to insist that the credentials of the young people be returned. If you have the time, please contact Ms. Chandra Roy at the UN, as soon as possible today. I have included some suggested language below, if you would like to use it. Please feel free to send additional, strong comments of your own. Thank you. We should all be very proud of how Sky and Mina have carried themselves, and how they have represented us, with integrity and courage. We are confronting the Doctrine of Christian Discovery, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and violence against Indigenous women and children, all of which are themes/agenda items for this year’s session. I also want to commend the other young representatives who are here: Scott Jacket, Tessa McLean, Brighton Dawn Finger, Lizzie Kaplanek, and Mat Barkhausen. Others in our delegation are Deb Freemont, Shannon Francis. We are also working closely with Steve Newcomb and Debra Harry and Moana Jackson and the Maori from Aoteaora (New Zealand).
To: Ms. Chandra Roy-Henriksen, Secretariat
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
David, Bongi, Chief of United Nations Security
Dear Ms. Roy,
We are quite disturbed and offended by the report that some of the young indigenous people who are participating the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) were removed and banned from the forum yesterday. We understand that the youth were removed without adequate notice or due process, for peacefully standing to request the full participation of all indigenous peoples who had been credentialed at your meeting. We have two young women who are members of our Movement, and who are there representing our interests, Ms. Sky Roosevelt-Morris and Ms. Mina Cereceres, with the delegation for the American Indian Movement of Colorado. We must insist that our two representatives immediately be returned to the session, with their credentials in tact, and with no sanction against them. This is a very serious attack on our youth, and on our integrity as an indigenous organization. We call on you to use all the means of your good offices to ensure that indigenous youth are fully able to participate in the UNPFII, and that the heavy-handed approach of the UN Security be challenged on behalf of all indigenous peoples.