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Repression in Panama against the Kuna

by from an email - 29.10.2007 12:07

This is a press release, translated from castellano, from the General
Congress of the Kuna de Madungandi.

On the 24th of October a hugh police force attacked the community of Akua
Yala. 


Repression in Panama against the Kuna

We accuse the current government of Martín Torrijos and his militaristic friends, who were part of the dictatorship of Manuel Noriega. Especially we accuse the minister and viceminister of justice, Daniel Delgrado and Severino Mejía, of the violent actions on the 24th of october 2007. On that day more than 200 policeofficers attacked the indigenous community of Akua Yala. They fired guns and used teargas against unarmed men, women and children and arrested about 100 Kuna, including persons under age, and brought them to the prison of Chepo.

We have the right to protest against the relocation, without our consent, of our peoples from our traditional places because the hydroelectric dam of Bayano was build there.
We didn't profit at all. Now it is 30 years ago they inundate our best
grounds, our houses, our burialplaces, where our fathers and mothers are buried, and the trees and the animals.
The powerplant produces at the moment more than 30% of the electric energy for whole Panama.
All governments of all political colors have been silent after the
government of Omar Torrijos in 1976 obliged themselves to pay us
indemnification for our losts.
Until now every government mocks the agreements with our peoples. It
brought us only mourning, sorrow and diseases and jeopardize our survival.
At this moment the son of Omar Torrijos and his militaristic ministers
propose no serious dialoge but they bring us violence, discrimination and illegal arrests.
We accuse the coward strategy of the government to undermine our
indigenous movement by associating us with weapons, munitions and drugs. By doing so they try to distract the attention from our demands.

We demand the immediate release of all the people arrested and the
departure of the riotpolice who is illegally occupying our territory. And we demand to talk with the persons who are responsible.

We ask the human rights organisations, the Interamerican Comittee for Human Rights and especially the representative of Human Rights of the United Nations, and the Organisation of the States of the Americas, to start an investigation at the situation and take measures to protect our defenceless communities.

We ask the peoples and organisations of indigenous and non-indigenous
people, national and international, to send protest letters to president Martín Torrijos Espino. Letters to point out to his obligations against the indigenous peoples Kuna and Embera of Madungandi and Alto Bayano.

Composed at la Comarca Kuna de Madungandi,
24th of October 2007

The General Congress of the Kuna de Madungandi

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