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UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples May 16-27, 2011
Oral Statement by Roberto A.A. Barrientos, Mayor of Izalco, Sonsonate, El Salvador (On Behalf of the Common Town Hall and the Municipal Town Hall of Izalco, Sonsonate, El Salvador)
Dr. Myrna Cunningham, Distinguished Chairperson of the Tenth Session of the Permanent Forum, in the name of the Indigenous peoples of El Salvador, we congratulate you for your designation as the chairperson of this honorable agency; and we ask the creator to bless you in your business. Likewise, we would like to call your attention to the following: We, the Indigenous peoples of El Salvador, have suffered the systematic denial of our human, economic, cultural and socio-political rights for the last 500 years, endured under the imposition of Frontiers and the state alien to our ancestral models of life. We are taking advantage of this opportunity at the Permanent Forum to denounce before the peoples of the world the genocide committed by the Salvadorian State against our Indigenous brothers through the massacres of our peoples, especially the massacre of 1932, when more than 35,000 Indigenous persons died in the Western zone of the country, and that of 1944, when Indigenous leaders were selectively assassinated throughout the country. We also condemn the ethnocide that has been committed against our Indigenous population (peoples) every time that the government-state promotes and imposes laws prohibiting our ancestral customs and practices, including the use of our traditional dress and the use of our languages. A specific case in point involves Decree 450, or the name law , which dooms new generations to forget their identity and their historic legacy.
Currently, our peoples face neo-colonization through mining projects and the privatization of natural resources. For the aforementioned reasons and motivations, and making use of our rights, recognized by the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the UN, we recommend the following: We recommend that the Permanent Forum conduct a study and elaborate a report about the situation of Indigenous peoples in El Salvador. We thank President Funes for having apologized to the Indigenous nations and for having recognized the involvement of the government in the massacre. In 78 years, this is the first president to have recognized the existence of Indigenous nations; nevertheless, we recommend consistency in treating Indigenous issues, and, in representation of the Indigenous interest in the secretariat of social inclusion, (accordingly) we request the hiring of a leader from our community who demonstrates knowledge and respect for the Salvadorian Indigenous community. We recommend that the Permanent Forum support us in taking the necessary steps before international agencies and bodies that support ILO Convention 169 and the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the United Nations in 2007, so that the Indigenous peoples in El Salvador become informed of those international covenants which protect their rights. We recommend that the Permanent Forum urge the government-state to work on the creation of a special secretariat to work on Indigenous issues, prioritizing the hiring of the Indigenous themselves, who are the carriers of Indigenous identity, history, and thought. We recommend that the Permanent Forum urge the government-state to amend Article 11 of Decree 450 so as to permit Indigenous persons to utilize their native names in accordance with their cosmovision and ancestral calendar. We recommend that the Permanent Forum take the necessary steps with the government-state in order to facilitate a visit from the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Mr. James Anaya, to the Indigenous communities of El Salvador. We conclude this intervention with a call for solidarity to all Indigenous peoples of the world. Padush (Thank you very much)