US accused of Indian abuse

An international tribunal of human-rights activists accused the United States , Canada, and a number of Latin American nations of waging a campaign of persecution against native American Indians.

"The oral and written testimony before this tribunal has born witness to unimaginable tragedies and crimes," the Russell Tribunal said. The tribunal is named after the late philospher-mathematician Bertrand Russell, who was active in peace and rights issues.

The tribunal issued its written "verdict" after eight days of hearings into allegations by 14 Indian communities.

The governments were found "guilty" of crimes ranging from genocide to unlawful seizure of land and deliberate destruction of Indian life styles. The verdict was based on international treaties and agreements, including the 1975 Helsinki Pact, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The tribunal found the US and Canada "guilty" of violating the land rights of Indian communities. It said the governments illegally attempted to take land from tribes including the Nishnawbeaski, Attikamek, and Montagnai in Canada and the Hopi and western Shoshone in the US.

The panel "convicted" Guatemala, Colombia, Panama, and Peru of wide-ranging violations against the human, economic, social, and ethnic rights of Indians in their countries. It also condemned Brazil and the Salesians, a Roman Catholic order of missionaries, for "genocide" by depriving Indians in that country of the land they need to survive.

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