9 June 2008
US accused of human rights violations
Two Chamoru representatives from Guam visiting Australia for a month-long international awareness campaign today accused the United States of glaring human rights violations of the indigenous Chamoru people.
"The new wave of U.S. militarization of Guam means to be decisive," said Chamoru writer Julian Aguon in Sydney today. "It is not simply more of the same. Part of the U.S. military realignment in the Asia-Pacific region includes the controversial relocation of 8,000 U.S. Marines from Okinawa, Japan to Guam. The move will have devastating consequences for the indigenous Chamoru people, who have been struggling for decolonization of their island home.
"The situation of Guam serves as one of the greatest indictments of U.S. democratic legitimacy, as Guam remains one of only 16 non-self-governing territories in the modern world. The military build-up now underway in Guam, which will include an influx of a military personnel population comparable in size to the entire indigenous population (55,000), is being done entirely without the input or consultation of the indigenous people and over their deepening dissent."
Dr. Lisa Natividad, a professor at the University of Guam, stated that the new wave of military buildup will only worsen the well being of the Chamoru people, who already suffer from the classic symptoms of a colonial condition such as dramatic health disparities. "For example, rates of nasopharyngeal cancer among my people are 2,000% higher than in the United States, and the rate of diabetes is five times the national U.S. average," Dr Natividad said.
"Although Guam is only 30 miles long, it contains 19 sites designated by the US Environmental Protection Agency as the most highly contaminated and toxic sites in the entire United States." Dr. Natividad said. These toxins include radioactive and carcinogenic materials, dioxins, etc.
"We come to Australia in the hope of raising awareness about the human rights deprivations of the Chamoru people by the U.S, to build solidarity among the peace and justice groups here and throughout the Asia-Pacific region, who are all endangered by current U.S. militarization of the region," she said.
For more information and interviews with Lisa Natividad and Julian Aguon.
please contact Dr Hannah Middleton on 0418 668 098