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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

United Nations Action: Indigenous Peoples and Children in Prison

Greetings My Relations,

My name is Tony Gonzales, Director for AIM-WEST based in San Francisco, an affiliate of the American Indian Movement (AIM), North America. I am pleased to know the community of Berkeley voted recently to condemn the sentence of Efren Paredes, Jr. as a human rights violation. This is a major development in the campaign to abolish juvenile life without parole (JLWOP) sentences in the USA.

I am currently planning a round table discussion at the United Nations in NYC during the 8th Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII-8), May 18-29, 2009 regarding Indigenous Peoples held in prisons throughout the world in an effort to bring these injustices before the appropriate bodies of the United Nations. I will cite certain cases such as Leonard Peltier, in prison for over 33 years, and other forms of injustices such as severe sentencing of minors in the USA, and of their failure to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

I would like to communicate with you and your family about how the American Indian community can also support Efren's release after twenty years of incarceration, and restore justice and hope to America. The passage of the Berkeley resolution will serve as a model to further coordinate with other municipalities across the nation and inspire them to choose promoting human rights over discarding the lives of children. Change is urgent, sign us up now!

Accordingly, I will impress upon our membership to learn more about the situation of Efren Paredes, Jr., international standards related to children's rights, and to consider developing local strategies to bring similar resolutions to the attention of elected officials in their districts, on Efren's behalf. Perhaps with the optimism of the Obama Administration, change is possible. There are many international laws and standards the USA have yet to sign. Together we can help take this to the table.

Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon.

Tony Gonzales