Contact: Hope Cristobal 808.327.8289
FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE:
Chamorro Delegation Urges United Nations Intervention on Military Build-up and Human Rights Violations in Guam
New York City, June 22, 2010 — A delegation of Chamorus and Rafaluwasch from the territory of Guam and Saipan testified before the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization to insist the international community pay closer attention to Guam’s continued colonial status as the island’s Administering Power, the United States, increases its already large military presence there.
Mr. St. Aimee, Chairman of the Special Committee, recognized during the hearing that the Second Decade of the Eradication of Colonization did not yield the necessary results. Therefore, they resolved to move into the Third Decade of the Eradication of Colonization stating their dedication to passing this resolution. He declared, “With effort we will arrive at an agreement so that the expressed wish of the people can be realized.” Some of the ideas discussed were to have visiting missions to the Territories, and sharing more information between the UN Special Committee of 24 and the Territories.
The Guam delegation represents a second generation of Chamorros who have appealed to the United Nations for the past 20 years regarding Guam’s political status and the United States’ refusal to respect the Chamorro people’s human right to self-determination.
The urgency for action was repeatedly expressed by delegates. The submitted testimony by Senator Vicente Pangelinan, Guam Legislature, affirms that, “This body must advance the self-determination process for the native inhabitants of Guam NOW, for the recent decisions by our administering authority dilutes our Right to Self-Determination…”
Hope Antoinette Cristobal, a Chamorro and Doctor of Psychology, called attention to the effects of colonization on the health of the people of Guam. She proclaimed, “I am here to testify that the indigenous people of Guam continue to suffer social, cultural, and environmental annihilation at the hands of our American oppressors… Robust research suggests that these aggregate problems in our communities are a result of the cultural and social deterioration of our families and neighborhoods. The same families and neighborhoods that had previously sustained our health for generations prior to colonization.”
A representative for We are Guahan emphasized this, “We have repeatedly sought political rights; and the actions in response to those requests over the years have moved at a pace we no longer have the luxury of accommodating.”
Fuetsan Famalao’an, a small non-governmental organization of women on Guam concerned about the US Department of Defense’s plan for increased militarization on Guam implored the Committee to take critical step in this process, namely to send delegates to Guam to further investigate the consequences of militarization. “We urge you to one day conduct a UN C-24 hearing in Guam. You will see with your own eyes, the substandard of living of many of the Chamorros and other residents of Guam who live across the fences, resembling the racial and economic disparity found in the segregated city neighborhoods throughout the globe.”
Rima Ilarishigh Peter Miles, a Refaluwasch Carolinian from the island of Saipan spoke as a member of Women for Genuine Security(WGS). WGS is part of an international network of women who are organizing to put an end to the devastating effects of US militarization and bring about true security based on justice and respect. “We stand here at this urgent moment to call the United Nations to immediate action. Advancements must be made for the protection and fulfillment of the Chamoru Right to Self-Determination. This right is currently being threatened and undermined by the continued avoidance of the issue by the US, as well as recent actions which contradict the terms of the US obligation to the Chamoru people of Guam.”