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UN Human Rights Address
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - Before the United Nations on Wednesday, President Ben Shelly addressed the Human Rights Council, which had more than 130 leaders, representing their country. President Shelly asked them, for their assistance in protecting the San Francisco Peaks.
“The San Francisco Peaks are sacred to the Navajo people,”
said President Shelly.
"Our culture, religion, and history are rooted to the sacred peaks. For years we have fought to protect them. The American legal system has failed the Navajo Nation in our attempts to preserve the peaks from continued abuse."
President Shelly asked the United Nations to compel the United States to review its policies and actions as recreational purposes on the San Francisco Peaks.
Professor James Anaya, Special Rapporteur included the violation of human rights in a communication sent January. In that, a response in 60 days was requested but the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has not received a response.
"Our spiritual leaders jointly requested the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission to file a formal complaint to Professor Anaya regarding this injustice," said President Shelly.
“It is a violation of Navajo Human Rights.”
The President's delivery before the Human Rights Council of the United Nations is the first address before the entire body.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948, and contains 30 articles. Article 18 is the freedom of "thought, conscious and religion."
"As Navajo people we live in harmony with the animals, birds, and all living creatures,"
the president said.
"The United States must respect international law regarding the treatment of indigenous people, especially when concerning the basic human rights of the original inhabitants of its own country."
Following President Shelly's statement to the United Nations, Special Rapporteur James Anaya thanked the president, and concluded he is committed to the institutional standards. The special rapporteur will conclude his report to the United Nations Human Rights Council for adoption.
The report to the United Nations filed states, " based on human rights treaties to which the United States is a party to and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, require adequate consultation and close scrutiny for any action that affects the sacred sites and religious practices of indigenous peoples."
President Shelly returns to Washington DC and will meet with the US Office of Management and Budget, the US Department of Agriculture, Office of Head Start, and congressional offices on Friday.
posted September 22, 2011 1:50 pm edt
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