Tohono O’odham tribe files petition with IACHR against the wall


View of metal wall along the border in Sonoyta, Sonora, between the Altar Desert in Mexico and Arizona, in the United States. Photo Afp

By: Roberto Garduño

The Tohono O’odham [1] (people of the desert), who live in territories of Sonora and Arizona, filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) for the purpose of impeding the wall from being built between the United States and Mexico, because “when completed, the construction of a wall on the border dividing both countries would affect the human rights to life, the protection of honor and dignity, family, private property and political rights.”

The petition was presented yesterday in the region of that people, signed by representatives Alicia Chuhuahua and Gemma Guadalupe Martínez Pino.

Among the arguments given to the IACHR, they warn that: “in recent decades the indigenous peoples have started to organize, since they have realized that they have to do something to safeguard and legally protect these lands.

“What is legally named indigenous customary law is not a structured body, much less codified; it’s a series of real practices that are carried out in different ways in different communities, in order to solve a series of problems in the administration of justice, conflict resolution, maintenance of internal order, normativity and their connection with the outside world.”

The Tohono ethnicity argues that the United States has shown evidence that by constructing a wall: “it will divide our indigenous territory; our right to life is not guaranteed, because of which there is a violation of Article 4 of the American Convention (on Human Rights), in connection with the general obligation to respect and guaranty the rights established in Article 1” of that document.

Thus, with the advice from the head of the Commission for Dialogue with the Indigenous Peoples of Mexico, Jaime Martínez Veloz, in the petition to the IACHR it warns of the need to respect the right to dignity, which is manifested in the inviolability of the human condition:

“No State activity can be founded on contempt for human dignity. This implies that the right to dignity is the most important value to respect, nor matter how despicable the crime may be that a person commits, their behavior or their attitudes.

“Therefore, with the construction of a wall that will divide our indigenous people, the dignity of all the members of our tribe would be injured, since it would break apart social relationships among each one of the members of the indigenous people that live in Sonora and Arizona.”

[1] According to the CNI Convocation, the Tohono O’odham tribe is sending one or more representatives to the Constituent Assembly of the Indigenous Government Council, which takes place in Chiapas on May 26, 27 and 28, 2017.


Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee



One Comment on “Tohono O’odham tribe files petition with IACHR against the wall

  1. Pingback: “The Walls of Capital, the Cracks on the Left” | Blog of Zapatista Support Group Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand

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