Friday Aug 12, 201110:06 AM GMT
'Native American rights widely abused'
Fri Aug 12, 2011 10:8AM
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A gathering of thousands of Indigenous Peoples from across the Americas in Puno, Peru, June 2009
A top director of the Amnesty International (AI) has warned that the rights of Native Americans are hugely violated despite international laws protecting the rights of indigenous people.


“The states have acknowledged the preexistence of indigenous people in the American territory, but still their rights continue to be undermined.” Executive Director of the Amnesty International's office in Argentina Gabriela Boada told a Press TV correspondent in Buenos Aires on Thursday.

According to the AI, indigenous peoples live in hardship and danger and share common problems related to the protection of their rights throughout the Americas.

As an appalling instance of indigenous peoples' right violation, the international rights body has referred to Alaska Native women being sexually assaulted in the United States.

“These practices are related to violence against women and at the same time ethnic discrimination. The [indigenous] women are raped by people who do not belong to their communities or even by members of the security forces,” Boada says.

“Complaints of this kind are very common in the US and also in Canada,” she added.

Elsewhere in Argentina, the Toba Qom native community of La Primavera in the North-Eastern province of Formosa has been struggling to protect the land they claim as ancestral territory and, most important of all, the lives of its members.

“Our situation is crucial. We are denied medical assistance; judges do not hear our complaints and we do not have access to drinking water. Even when we try to buy food, traders raise the products' prices,” Leader of Aboriginal Community Felix Diaz says.

It is estimated that there are more than 370 million indigenous people in 90 countries around the world.

Meanwhile, the Native Americans have become one of the most vulnerable social groups that simply demand the recognition of their identities and their distinct ways of life.

Marginalization, poverty, disease, violence and, in some cases, extinction, are some of the major risks that indigenous peoples face in America.

Despite some progress made over the past decades, Amnesty International has expressed grave concern over the harsh conditions of native communities and urged regional governments to comply with international human rights commitments.

ASH/MB
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