Monday, August 20, 2012

UN Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights Visits Izalco, El Salvador

Jefferson Tyler Francisco                                      

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, James Anaya, visited El Salvador August 13 – 17. The occasion marks the first visit by an expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor the human rights situation of indigenous people in El Salvador. Anaya met with government officials, indigenous leaders, and held town meetings. He visited the towns of Panchimalco, Cojutepeque, Cacaopera, and Izalco.

In 1932, Izalco was one of the towns that suffered through the massacre known as La Matanza (The Slaughter). The Salvadoran army murdered 25,000 Pipil people in less than 90 days. The Pipil language, Nahuat, was outlawed, and the dead were buried in mass graves. James Anaya, met with Izalqueños at one of these mass graves to discuss human rights. Here is some of what I recorded of the meeting.

A quote from James Anaya’s initial response to his findings:

"Regardless of the important efforts of the government to repair the historical discrimination of the indigenous peoples of El Salvador, it is more than evident that these peoples continue to suffer the loss of cultural knowledge and the full capacity to express their identity and exercise their corresponding rights. This loss adds to the conditions of extreme poverty and marginalization that characterize the most disadvantaged groups in the country."
-James Anaya

“No obstante los importantes esfuerzos del Gobierno para reparar la histórica marginación de los pueblos indígenas en El Salvador, es más que evidente que estos pueblos siguen sufriendo la pérdida de conocimiento cultural y de la capacidad plena para manifestar su identidad y ejercer los derechos correspondientes. Esta pérdida se suma a las condiciones de extrema pobreza y marginalización que caracterizan a los sectores más desventajados del país."       
-         James Anaya

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