Friday, December 24, 2010

Canada corp. invades Wixárika nation in Mexico, cultural genocide

"Fighting to Stop Mining on Mexico's Sacred Mountain, Leunar" by Paula Palmer, Director of the Global Response Program at Cultural Survival [] -- an organization that partners with Indigenous peoples to defend their lands, languages and cultures.
For more than 1,000 years, the Wixárika (we-SHA-re-ka) people have made pilgrimages from their ceremonial centers in the Sierra Madre mountains across the Chihuahua desert to Leunar, the sacred mountain where the sun first rose.  The Wixárika pilgrims traverse over 300 miles to reach Leunar, stopping to give offerings and prayers at dozens of sacred places along the way – the natural temples of a deeply spiritual people. They undertake their journey, which they call their "essence," to retrace the steps of creation, repeating the prayers of their ancestors in order to maintain the earth's equilibrium and keep their culture alive.
The Wixárika people's pilgrimage route and its destination are protected by state and federal law as well as international accords, but that hasn't stopped a Canadian mining company, First Majestic Silver Corporation [], from purchasing concessions to exploit the rich veins of silver that lie beneath the surface.
In September, Wixárika communities issued a proclamation to stop the mine from desecrating their most sacred sites and endangering the fragile semi-desert ecosystem. In the US, the human rights organization Cultural Survival has launched a letter-writing campaign to support the Wixárika people and to stop the mine. You can send an email to the president of Mexico from their website, or write your own letter.
The Environmental Impact -
Silver mining is nothing new in Real de Catorce, a colonial town perched on the side of the Wixárika people's sacred mountain, Leunar, overlooking the Chihuahua desert. During the 18th and 19th centuries, 225 million ounces of silver were dug out of this region, an unregulated enterprise that turned a forest into a desert and contaminated the scanty water supply. Now First Majestic Silver Corporation's CEO Keith Neumeyer says he expects to quadruple the plunder by using new methods (read cyanide) to extract silver from old tailings and by exploiting 12 miles of new veins.
If this huge project is allowed to move forward, its impacts will be equally huge. Whether they dig the ore out of tunnels or excavate open pits, the mine will produce enormous quantities of tailings which could leach acid into the environment for centuries and blight the landscape in a region whose primary source of income is tourism. Dust, noise, erosion, road construction, water pollution, and blasting all affect wildlife, and the region's notable diversity of bird species – including 16 that are threatened – could plummet. Of most concern to the region's peasant farmers is the mine's potential impact on the water table in this semi-desert. Mines of this size use as much water in a day as a peasant family would use in 25 years.
First Majestic claims to be "eco-friendly," but Mexico's mining regulations are notoriously lax. Another Canadian company in the same state – San Luis Potosi – has been able to keep operating for years despite court orders to cease and desist. Disastrous cyanide leaks and spills occur too frequently.
So it is essential to stop First Majestic's Real de Catorce mine before it starts.
Protecting the Wirikuta Cultural and Ecological Reserve -
Seventy percent of First Majestic's mining concessions are within the borders of the Wirikuta Cultural and Ecological Reserve, which was created to protect the Wixárika people's pilgrimage route, their sacred sites, and the fragile semi-desert ecosystem that supports the highest diversity of cactus in the world. First Majestic's richest silver vein runs within meters of the Wixárika people's most sacred site.
State, federal, and international laws and accords for Indigenous rights, cultural preservation, and environmental protection were cited as justification for creating the Wirikuta Reserve in 1994. According to the World Wildlife Fund, the Reserve protects one of the planet's three most biologically diverse desert ecosystems. UNESCO identified Wirikuta as one of only 14 potential World Heritage Sites of both cultural and ecological importance.
It is time to insist on real protection for the Wirikuta Reserve – not just words on paper. Please answer the Wixárika people's call and send letters to Mexican authorities today.
Thank you for joining in this campaign! Pamparius!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

USA to recognize Declaration of Indigenous Rights

2010-12-16 "U.S. Will Sign Declaration Recognizing Indigenous Rights" by Nancy Roberts
The United States is the only country that has not signed the U.N. Declaration of Indigenous Rights; there are signs this could change. The Declaration rejects discrimination against indigenous people, estimated at numbering 370 million in some 70 countries. The Declaration "emphasizes the rights of indigenous peoples to maintain and strengthen their own institutions, cultures and traditions and to pursue their development in keeping with their own needs and aspirations."
Hardly controversial, it is also non-legally binding.
The Declaration was signed by 145 countries in 2007, with only four countries voting against: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S., mostly objecting around land claims and to ambiguities in the declaration. Since then, all but the U.S. have come round, with Canada signing just last month [].
The Obama administration announced in April that it is reviewing its position on the Declaration [].
Indigenous people around the world suffer disproportionately high rates of illness, poverty, crime, and other human rights abuses, according to the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs. In the U.S., a Native American is "600 times more likely to contract tuberculosis and 62 per cent more likely to commit suicide than the general population." [
This week marks the second White House Tribal Nations summit since Obama's took office, as representatives from the 565 federally-recognized tribes meet with the President and administration officials on December 16. While some Native American leaders are unhappy at the slow pace of change, others hail the President's actions on Native American rights and legal issues, including the recent settlement of a land trust class action suit with a $3.4 billion compensation fund. Last October the federal government settled a $760 million case with Indian farmers.
The Obama administration has made strides in Native American rights; signing the Declaration would be one more example of their good faith.
UPDATE - December 16 In a step forward for relations between Native Americans and the federal government, President Obama today announced that the U.S. will sign the U.N. Declaration of Indigenous Rights. The President made the announcement at a conference of Tribal Nations held today in Washington.  The accompanying State Department statement affirmed: "US support for the declaration goes hand in hand with the US commitment to address the consequences of a history in which, as President Obama recognized, 'few have been more marginalized and ignored by Washington for as long as Native Americans -- our first Americans.'"

Provocateurs target Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Lakota People

2010-12-22 "PROTEST GROWS AGAINST PINE RIDGE DRUG DEALERS, BOOTLEGGERS, & COMPLICIT TRIBAL GOVT / POLICE; Sunday Night Police Raid on Strong Heart Activist and White Clay Blockade Leader Duane Martin Sr. Ignites Firestorm Press Conference and Protest Planned for Friday"
Cante Tenza: Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Lakota People, December 22, 2010, Sharp's Corner, Pine Ridge Reservation, SD, Lakota Nation
PINE RIDGE, South Dakota - The Strong Heart Warrior Society continues to ask both Native and non-native supporters to call, fax and email Oglala Sioux Tribal Government officials and Police Chief Everett Little Whiteman to get accountability for the Sunday night police raid on activist Duane Martin Sr.'s home in Sharp's Corner following a "set-up" false call from an area drug dealer.
On Sunday night December 19, nine Oglala Tribal Police officers raided Duane Martin's house in Sharps Corner following a tip call alleging a "house party" where drugs and alcohol were present.
Duane, 22 years sober, is a well known activist and is widely recognized for leading Strong Heart and the Lakota people in stands against drug dealing, bootlegging, and the scourge of alcohol sales in White Clay, Nebraska. Police officials have since admitted they did not follow up on the false call and did not have plans to investigate.
This raid is one insult in a larger series of actions that has targeted Duane and Strong Heart for their stand against drugs and alcohol. Officials in the Oglala Tribal Government and Tribal Police with ties to these illegal activities have made a concerted effort to intimidate, discredit, and deny the efforts of Duane and Strong Heart to protect the Lakota People.
In November, Duane led Strong Heart in a show-down with Tribal Police when thirteen traditional Grandmothers were arrested for "inciting a riot" because they protested then Tribal Council President Theresa Two Bulls. Following a threatened take-over of the Tribal Government offices by Strong Heart, the Grandmothers were released without charges. Within the last two weeks, Duane's use of his residence in Sharp's Corner has been threatened by Oglala Tribal Housing and custody of his son was awarded to a known drug dealer and sex-offender by a retiring Oglala Court Judge Patrick Lee.
Strong Heart is planning a protest in the Sharp's Corner community on Pine Ridge, Friday December 24. A press conference kicks-off at 10:00am. Protest march begins at 1pm. For more information or news interviews, contact Duane Martin Sr. at 605) 517-1547 or (605) 454-5552.
Cante Tenza Okolakiciye is the Strong Heart Warrior Society of the Lakota Nation, an ancient warrior society as well as a grassroots civil rights movement that works to protect, enforce and restore treaty rights, civil rights, and sovereignty of Native people and their communities across Turtle Island. In addition to activist efforts such as the annual Blockade of White Clay Nebraska, each year Cante Tenza collects and freely distributes shoes, winter coats, school supplies, food, and other support to Oglala Lakota elders, children and families.

Tribal Sovereignty in the United States

"In a mirror, darkly: Survival vs. casinos"
In an article written in 1995, I predicted the demise of self-governing sovereign American Indian tribes to be completed by 2075. I have now reduced my estimate by 25 years.
The future does not look too good for tribal governments, and sadly, they will have had a part in their own destruction.  It all started in 1988 when Congress proposed legislation that would give federally recognized tribes the right to conduct gambling on their reservations.
Most tribal leaders were elated. They counted dollar signs in their dreams, even though a few straight thinkers warned them of trouble to come.  The legislation was gently-worded, but the devil was in the details.
It was pointed out to tribal leaders that the legislation required that if a tribe wanted to operate games of chance, they would have to give up part of their sovereignty to the state wherein the gambling would take place. "No worries," said the tribal leaders.
Another innocently-worded clause required them to negotiate a "compact," or a contract, that would control how they operated their "gaming," with that same state.  Again, "No worries," they said, as dollar signs flooded their minds. "We can take care of ourselves."
Yeah, sure you can.

Republic of Lakotah establishes National Bank

2010-12-23 "Opening of Indigenous Bank (I Bank) as the National Bank of the Republic of Lakotah" 
Contact Russell Means, Chief facilitator for the Republic of Lakotah: 605-867-1025 
December 21, 2010 
The Republic of Lakotah announces the opening of the Indigenous Bank or I Bank as the first National Bank of the Republic. 
The I Bank has operated for over seven years as an independent sovereign American Indian Bank and now comes under the protection of the Republic of Lakotah. 
The Chairman/President and CEO of the I Bank is Mr. Ben Cummings. 
The I Bank assets are in silver and gold bullion and are valued at just under $100,000.00 USD. 
The bank presently has over two hundred depositors. 
For further information, please contact Mr. Ben Cummings at 605-867-2036 or cell 605-381-2028

Monday, November 1, 2010

2010-11-01 "Postcard from Sells, Ariz" by Nathan Thornburgh from "Time" newsmagazine[,9171,2026896,00.html]
Sometimes the solution can be as bad as the problem. During a ride along the U.S.-Mexico border with Tohono O'odham tribal police, patrol sergeant Ann Miguel was telling me about the problem of cross-border smuggling when the solution came barreling around a corner and nearly ran us off the dirt road. It was a massive border-patrol truck driven by a fresh-faced young agent who offered a half-apologetic wave as he sped on. Miguel sighed. "That's what will get community members upset," she said. "They come flying out of nowhere."
Welcome to the dilemma of being O'odham, as they call themselves. (Tohono means desert; o'odham means people.) The largest cross-border tribe on the U.S.-Mexico line — their U.S. reservation is nearly as big as Connecticut, and 1,500 more members live on the Mexican side — the O'odham are reluctant hosts to a border war they didn't invite. If the influx of federal agents is a mixed blessing for libertarian-minded ranchers elsewhere along the Arizona border, it is causing deeper turmoil for the O'odham and the "sovereign powers of self-government" their constitution invokes.
"You never want to see an increase in federal law enforcement on the nation," says Tohono O'odham tribal chairman Ned Norris Jr. But the problem, he says, is simply too big. There are just 47 tribal patrol officers, and one patrol cop can be responsible for up to 600 sq. mi. (1,554 sq km) on a single shift. Meanwhile, heavier enforcement off the reservation has driven smugglers to this remote stretch of the Sonoran Desert; the Baboquivari Trail here is one of the nation's most heavily traveled migrant routes. And some O'odham have been enlisted into working for the cartels. Unemployment is near 50%, says O'odham police chief Joseph Delgado, so when smugglers offer $500 or $1,000 to drive a car an hour or so north through tribal lands, it can be hard to say no. A sting operation in May (the first time tribal police have ever served federal warrants) led to the arrest of eight O'odham for involvement in cocaine trafficking.
The desert confounds efforts to wall off the trouble. On our drive along the border, I saw a half-dozen washes, one as wide as a freeway, where floodwaters had torn down the fencing entirely. When some vehicle barriers went up in 2008 (a controversial process that involved removing ancient O'odham remains), smugglers just put ramps on the Mexican side and jumped their cars over them, like the Dukes of Hazzard.
As a result, the O'odham government has welcomed more federal agents, and that angers some residents. The tribal government, says O'odham activist Mike Wilson, has "completely surrendered their sovereignty." The newly arrived agents have a lot of power but little knowledge of tribal land and customs, says Ofelia Rivas, founder of O'odham Voice Against the Wall. They don't know to avoid driving on young mesquite, which provides firewood and food when mature. Many sacred sites in the desert lie unmarked and are at similar risk. As for interactions with tribal members, she says, "There's a lot of racial profiling. They look at us and think we're undocumented." Because so many of the migrants, particularly from southern Mexico, are indigenous, many Tohono O'odham feel a particular sympathy for them perhaps not shared by other Arizonans.
It's not clear that the tribal government could resist the federal surge even if it wanted to; the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border seems an unstoppable force. (Some 1,200 National Guard troops have been deployed to the border this year, nearly half of them in Arizona.) Even if it were possible, leaving the tribe's 75 miles (121 km) of border open and the rest of it closed would invite far greater problems. Still, says Wilson, as long as O'odham continue to be stopped at checkpoints leaving the reservation and asked for ID, they will continue to be wary of their guests in green. "How can the border patrol ask us what we're doing here on our lands?" asks Wilson. "We've been here for 4,000 years. The real question is, What are they doing here?"

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Indigenous Nations and the process of fascism within the jurisdiction of the Republic of Honduras

"Observations on the State of Indigenous Human Rights in Light of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in HONDURAS"
Prepared for United Nations Human Rights Council: Universal Periodic Review
APRIL 2010

Cultural Survival is an international indigenous rights organization with a global indigenous leadership and consultative status with ECOSOC. Cultural Survival is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the United States. Cultural Survival monitors the protection of indigenous peoples' rights in countries throughout the world and publishes its findings in its magazine, the Cultural Survival Quarterly and on its website: In preparing this report, Cultural Survival collaborated with student researchers from Harvard University and consulted with a broad range of indigenous and human rights organizations, advocates, and other sources of verifiable information on Guatemala.

Executive Summary
The government of Honduras has recognized the rights of indigenous peoples by ratifying International Labor Convention No. 169 (1995) and voted to approve the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007). However, the indigenous and afro-indigenous peoples of Honduras currently face opposition in realizing their collective rights to land and natural resources. That opposition has now expanded to threats against their basic right to physical security. Without formal recognition and titling of their lands and territories, Honduras’s indigenous people risk loss of their ancestral homelands and their natural resource base. Both are being currently eroded by illegal logging, hydroelectric projects, and a growing tourism industry. Each of these developments has also been associated with violence and intimidation when indigenous people protest. The Honduran government’s recent move toward land titles, through the Honduras Land Administration Project (PATH), threatens the indigenous peoples’ communal way of life by forcing on them the privatization of lands that are held in communal tenure. In addition, the government has not yet developed, in collaboration with indigenous organizations and communities, the rights to consultation, participation, and prior informed consent mandated by international law. Finally, related violations of the right to physical security for indigenous leaders and respect for their organizations, particularly the Garifuna organization OFRAMEH (Fraternal Black Organization of Honduras), have increased since the broad political turmoil of 2009.

Indigenous people account for 8 percent of Honduras’ population, or approximately 621,000 people. These groups include the Miskito, Tawahkas, Pech, Tolupans, Lencas, Chortis, Nahual, Islanders, and Garifunas. Although Article 346 of the 1982 Constitution guarantees state protection of the rights and interests of indigenous communities, the roughly 362 indigenous communities of Honduras have virtually no political power regarding decisions made about their lands, cultures, traditions, and natural resources.i Physical Security The 2009 removal of President Manuel Zelaya met with considerable protests from indigenous groups, who denounced the oppression and brutal repression of the coup.ii Since then there have been reports of increased violence against indigenous populations, including the new government’s attempts to shut down the only Garífuna hospital in the country, which was the victim of a military raid in October 2009.iii Likewise, on January 21, 2010, the Garifuna community radio station, Faluma Bimetu, which had been outspoken in its protests over the failure of land titling and the growth of tourism, was destroyed by unidentified arsonistsiv.

About 80 to 100 rastras, or timber containers pulled by trucks, work in Honduras each day.v
Some of the most active logging occurs in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World
Heritage Site located in the La Mosquitia region of Honduras, home to approximately 20,000
indigenous people. Though the reserve is divided into three formal zones—the “cultural zone,”
where indigenous communities live; the “buffer zone,” where limited logging is allowed; and the
“core zone,” which is prohibited to loggers—illegal mahogany logging takes place throughout the
reserve. Fraudulent use of local permits, bribery of police, and corruption within the forestry
services and judicial bodies are common. Enforcement of logging regulations is weak and does
little to stop illegal loggers or protect indigenous
The Environmental Movement of Olancho, a community-based movement, has shown that illegal
pine logging in the west Olancho region has led to the loss of 24 of 46 water sources, eroded
topsoil, created a drier climate, led to the contamination of water resources, and caused
landslides. Furthermore, the dry conditions of the forests have led to the increased probability of
forest fires throughout the region. Illegal logging also poses a major threat to wildlife.vii There is
virtually no financial benefit for indigenous peoples in this logging; rather, their livelihood assets
are depleted.viii Many communities are forced to shift to ranching or agriculture to survive.ix
Indigenous populations are no longer able to legally log as a short-term means of income because
of competition with larger-scale illegal loggers.x Indigenous peoples are often blamed for illegal
logging and used as scapegoats because of the difficulty of charging and prosecuting powerful
The government of Honduras recently disbanded the notoriously corrupt forestry monitoring
agency, AFE-COHDEFOR, which allowed much of the illicit logging, and replaced it with the
new Institute of Forest Conservation and Development. Honduras also passed a new Forestry
Law that established mechanisms for public participation through consultation committees for
monitoring compliance with the new law, and also removed many of the incentives for illegal
timber trade. Despite these positive changes, illegal logging remains a major problem for the
indigenous populations of Honduras.xii Indigenous populations continue to fight against the illegal
timber trade despite fearing for their lives after multiple death threats from timber traders.xiii
Tourism and Land Titling
The 2009 Declaracíon de Purutukwa, a joint declaration of the Pech, Lenca, Tawahka, and
Garífuna peoples, cites the expropriation of indigenous lands for tourism as its first complaint,
specifically citing the Bahía de Tela project in the department of Atlántida on Honduras’s
northern coast.xiv That project is anticipated to draw some 60,000 tourists yearly and involves the
construction of 4 hotels and 250 condominiums.xv While tourism is the second largest source of
foreign exchange in Honduras, the negative side effects on the indigenous peoples are
considerable and largely unnoticed.xvi One of the most affected groups is the Garífuna people who
inhabit areas the northern Caribbean coast.
Tourism projects being promoted in the area also include ecotourism, which is often seen as a
sustainable income source. Even here there has been loss of land, diminution of traditional food
sources, and decrease in species used for traditional medicinal reasons.xvii Furthermore, the
development of tourist areas by wealthy landowners, for example the Cayos Cochinos in the
Marine Protected Area, has forced many Garífuna to migrate off of their traditional homelands.
Military presence on the Cayos Cochinos includes 24-hour naval patrols that enforce regulations
on fishing, thus severely limiting Garífunas’ traditional subsistence patterns.xviii
The original version of Article 107 of the Honduran Constitution prevented the acquisition of
coastal lands by non-Hondurans; however, in 1998, that article was modified to permit foreign
acquisition of coastal lands if they were to be used for tourism.xix Since then, the Garífuna have
fought to gain legal recognition of their land rights, filing a case (2003) with the Inter-American
Court of Human Rights.xx In 2006, the Honduran Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Garífuna
and upheld its title to its ancestral territory.xxi
Despite the favorable ruling, the current tourism development projects have sparked invasions,
intimidation, bribery, and violence against the Garífuna people. There have been documented
cases of armed violence by paramilitaries, arson, harassment, physical abuse, and abduction
against local residents who have expressed their disapproval of the tourism projects.xxii Some
Garífuna have sold their land, rather than face the prospect of losing it without any financial
compensation. Some Garífuna leaders have illegally sold tribal lands, leading to confusion over
multiple land titles.xxiii
The Garífuna recognize that tourism could be financially beneficial if they had administrative
control over the operation. However, with no local control over or voice in the tourism projects
being imposed on their lands, they are unable to ensure the sustainability of practices being
used.xxiv The lack of proper land titling also makes the Garífuna susceptible to further threats and
encroachments on their lands by wealthy Hondurans and private companies.xxv
Hydroelectric Projects
The Declaracíon de Purutukwa cites hydroelectric megaprojects as its second major
complaint against the Honduran government.xxvi The Patuca Hydroelectric Dam, planned to
supply energy throughout the region, is predicted to flood a 72-square-mile area that is inhabited
by Miskitos and Tawacas. The indigenous residents, arguing that the government has failed to
recognize the environmental impacts through the Plataforma para la Defensa del Río Patuca,
declared their permanent opposition to the project as a threat to the physical enironment.xxvii In
2009, it was announced that the foreign company that was set to finance Patuca III had suspended
its investments in the project, halting all further construction. The suspension was not a change in
state policy, but rather simply a financial obstacle to be overcome.xxviii The eventual construction
of the dam would prevent the Patuca River from flooding and fertilizing the adjacent banks, thus
decreasing arable subsistence lands, The river’s water level would also drop, making
transportation along the river more difficult.xxix The construction of Patuca III thus endangers the
long-term sustainability of the region and the lives of the indigenous populations who inhabit
Land Privatization
Traditionally, indigenous lands in Honduras are held communally, with individual
families enjoying usufructuary rights to the communal holdings. However, this tradition is
endangered by new policies aimed at the privatization of indigenous lands.xxxi The Honduras
Land Administration Project (PATH) was created to secure land titles throughout the country,
including the land of indigenous populations. While it has been recognized that the lack of formal
land titling and demarcation has led to violent usurpation of indigenous land by nonindigenous
Hondurans, xxxii indigenous groups fear the PATH Project’s focus on individual land holdings and
privatization will undermine local traditions of communal landholdings.xxxiii Furthermore, The
Fraternal Black Order of Honduras argues the PATH Project has been established without proper
consent of the local indigenous populations. The newly created Mesa Regional, a consultation
board, was created without the support or recognition of the indigenous community, and the
World Bank has found that proper measures have not been taken to ensure indigenous community
input and participation for the PATH Project.xxxiv
Garífuna women are among the most negatively affected. Communal Garifuna land holdings are
passed down through matrilineal lines. However, with privatized land holdings, Garífuna
women, who often lack education, market system experience, and capital, are disenfranchised and
losing their traditional land holdings to both Mestizo and Garífuna men, who are buying the
recently privatized land. Additionally, indigenous women who have fought against this
privatization have been harassed and even murdered.xxxv
Honduras must take a stronger stand against the illegal logging industry that is
threatening the lives of thousands of indigenous peoples. It also must ameliorate the negative
effects of hydroelectric projects and tourism on indigenous groups, and ensure that a voice is
given to the indigenous populations affected by these projects. The Honduran government must
also re-evaluate the PATH Project and respond to indigenous concerns with the privatization of
communal lands. Finally, Honduras must strengthen the rule of law to provide a safe environment
for indigenous groups to enjoy their rights to freedom of speech and expression without fear of

iv https://hondurassolidarity/ .see also,
viii http://www.talailegalcentroamerica.
ix Illegal Logging in the Rio Platano Biosphere, A Farce in Three Acts
xi http://www.talailegalcentroamerica.
xii Illegal logging in the Rio Platano Biosphere, A Farce in Three Acts
xxxii http://wwwwds.

Monday, January 25, 2010


2010-01-25 "China unable to tackle instability in Western Region, say Uyghur exile groups" by HRH Bergen, based on, NYTimes
The Uyghur American Association (UAA) fears that the near doubling of the security budget for East Turkestan will broaden the scope of the ongoing official repression of Uyghurs and exacerbate ethnic tensions in the region, UAA claims Beijing fails to acknowledge the deep social and developmental inequalities that contributed to the unrest in the regional capital of East Turkestan in July 2009.

Chinese government's heightened reliance on brute force to stabilize East Turkestan will be counterproductive and only heighten discontent among Uyghurs, stated UAA, as quoted by 'Uyghur Human Rights Project' [].
"Chinese authorities know only how to crack down with an iron fist on the Uyghur people," said Uyghur democracy leader Rebiya Kadeer. "They carry out executions, mass detentions, and "Strike Hard" campaigns in an effort to intimidate the Uyghur population into absolute silence.
Chinese officials also employ propaganda campaigns and mandatory political indoctrination in a bid to both demonize and control the Uyghur people. However, guns and propaganda will only worsen conditions in East Turkestan. Until the government stops violating the human rights of Uyghurs, loosens restrictions on Uyghurs' religious and cultural identity, and enacts policies aimed at addressing economic, social, and educational inequalities prevalent in the region, lasting stability will never be achieved."

'Crackdown on separatism'
Official statements regarding the increase in funding for regional security were coupled with an ominous pledge from regional government chairman Nur Bekri to persist in a crackdown on Uyghur separatists and the three forces of "terrorism, separatism and extremism". Chinese officials have consistently placed the blame for civil unrest on what they term a small minority of troublemakers rather than recognizing widespread discontent.
Bekri also directed local authorities to "unite patriotic religious personage[s] and religious believers to prevent the "three forces" from igniting religious clashes, creating ethnic hatred and promoting social violence."
This statement underscores ongoing state control over Uyghurs' religious practices, including the "patriotic education" required of all Uyghur imams and the monitoring of mosques in East Turkestan. Bekri's remarks regarding the role of religious figures in preventing unrest also reinforce fears that Uyghurs' observance of their Islamic faith will be even further restricted.
Bekri's pledge comes in the wake of new regional regulations announced last week in state press reports that governments at all levels in East Turkestan would be required to enhance security checks on "suspicious persons" and monitor religious activities in the name of fighting terrorism. The rules, which will come into effect on February 1, also connect the promotion of government officials with their work to eliminate the "three forces."

Jittery over pipeline

The sharp increase in security funding follows the December opening of a new gas pipeline stretching from Turkmenistan to East Turkestan, which is expected to meet more than half of China's current requirement for natural gas and which is vital to the enormous energy appetite fueled by rapid industrial growth on China's eastern seaboard.
Long nervous over the prospect of regional instability in East Turkestan as they sought to exploit East Turkestan's abundance of natural resources, central and regional authorities appear to be particularly jittery about what they believe could be prospective risks to the massive pipeline project.
Government officials fear not only the possibility of a direct attack on the pipeline, but also any assertions that Uyghurs deserve a greater share of the employment opportunities and profits afforded by regional resource exploitation, which have almost exclusively benefited Han Chinese.

Uyghurs executed

In the wake of the unrest that rocked the regional capital of Urumchi in July of last year, Chinese authorities have implemented a multi-faceted crackdown on the Uyghur people. More than 130,000 troops were reportedly deployed to East Turkestan from other regions of the People´s Republic of China.
Twenty-two people, the vast majority Uyghurs, have been sentenced to death in regional courts following politicized trials, and state media reported in November that nine of these individuals had been executed.
Mass arrests and detentions of Uyghurs have been carried out through security sweeps and targeted raids. Authorities launched a "100-day campaign in September 2009 to capture "suspects" in connection with the July 2009 events, and a "Strike Hard" campaign two months later to continue detentions of people deemed suspects in the July unrest.

Cut off from the world
UAA believes the near absence of strong international condemnation of continuing state brutality in East Turkestan since July 5 has only emboldened the actions of Chinese officials. UAA calls on the international community to follow the lead of UN minorities expert Gay McDougall, who requested in December 2009 that the Chinese government allow a comprehensive and independent assessment of the ethnic tensions and grievances that led to the unrest in Urumchi.
East Turkestan remains largely cut off from the rest of the world through state-imposed phone and Internet restrictions, more than six months after July 5. International telephone communication has been continuously blocked or heavily restricted, cutting off almost all communication between Uyghurs in East Turkestan and their family and friends living abroad. Some Uyghurs living abroad were previously able to contact relatives in East Turkestan by first calling a friend or relative in eastern the People´s Republic of China who then connected their call to East Turkestan, but this method of communication has now been cut off by Chinese authorities. The transmission of cell phone text messages has also reportedly been limited to messages from Communist Party authorities to residents of East Turkestan.
Authorities have recently opened up access to a small number of official news websites to Internet users in East Turkestan, but blocks on e-mail, Internet discussion forums and other methods of online social communication remain in place in the region. Meanwhile, bloggers have reported that Uyghurs are restricted from Internet access in Internet cafés throughout the People´s Republic of China.