Onondaga Nation Files Human Rights Violations against US
The Onondaga Nation has taken its land rights case into the international arena.
On Tuesday, April 15, the Onondaga Nation filed a petition against the United States with the Organization of American States’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington, D.C. The petition accuses the U.S. of human rights violations by stealing 2.5 million acres of the Nation’s land since 1788 in what is now central New York state and seeks redress for the violation of the Onondaga people’s rights to property, equal treatment, and judicial protection.
The filing took place exactly six months after the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Onondaga Nation’s request for a review of a lower court’s dismissal of its land rights lawsuit. The high court’s refusal to examine the case and send it back to a lower court for a trial on its merits was the last stop on the Nation’s 10-year journey through the U.S legal system, meaning the Nation had exhausted all judicial venues in the country.
“The courts of the United States have failed to provide any remedy for this loss of land,” the petition says. “The United States domestic legal system’s denial of a remedy for violation of the Nation’s land rights and treaties is a violation of the Nation’s fundamental human rights protected by the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international human rights agreements.”
The Organization of American States (OAS) is comprised of 35 nations in the Americas and was created in 1948 to promote "an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence."
The IACHR was created as an autonomous organ of the OAS with a mission to promote and protect human rights in the American hemisphere, according to the organization’s website. The commission considers that “special attention must be devoted to those populations, communities and groups that have historically been the targets of discrimination.”
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