Statements delivered in 1999 were heard and responded to by the UN. Statements were delivered by Mr. Silis Muhammad unless otherwise noted.

  1. Written Statement to the Commission on Human Rights, April 1999
  2. Oral Statement to the Commission on Human Rights
  3. Oral Statement to the Working Group on Minorities, May 1999
  4. Oral Statement of Attorney Harriett AbuBakr to the Working Group on Minorities
  5. Oral Statement of Ida Hakim to the Working Group on Minorities
  6. Written Statement to the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, August 1999

7) Oral Statement to the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights

 

1) Written Statement to the 55th session of the Commission on Human Rights

Agenda item 14. Specific groups and individuals: (b) Minorities:

 

I am Silis Muhammad, spiritual son of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. But for him, we so-called African-Americans would not have the courage to make the following statement to the Commission on Human Rights. Of this I am sure. We thank him for the great good he did for us, and perchance too for humanity.

Our question is whether we, the so-called African-Americans in the United States of America, are in possession of our human rights.

Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the United States of America has ratified, states, "In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language."

We, the so-called African-Americans, were taken away from the culture of our origin. The slave ship took us from our place of beginning, as you well do know. The slave master did not return us to our culture, nor did he bring our culture and teach it to us. Nor has the Government of the United States of America, to date, sought to teach us our culture, or return us to it. We are absent the knowledge of our cultural beginning.

The slave ship took us away from our ancestral religious belief. We were dislodged from the knowledge of our lineage to Allah, God. The slave master taught us of his religion ultimately, and of his lineage to a supreme being whom he refers to by the name of God. The federal or local governments of America did not teach nor make provisions for us, the so-called African-Americans, or slaves, to learn the knowledge of our transmissible religious belief. We are absent the knowledge of our ancestral tradition of religion.

Regarding our original language, there were not any provisions set in motion by the local and federal governments of America for us to cultivate and continue speaking our language. To the contrary, provisions were set in motion to prevent us from speaking our language, originally. We were intentionally separated from one another, with total disregard, during slavery such that we would not be able to speak our language. Ultimately, we lost the knowledge of it.

Thus, to the extent that we were deprived of our culture, our religion and our language, we are not in possession of our human rights. Moreover, to the extent that we, especially during the period of chattel slavery, were constrained by the laws, the culture, the religion and the language of the Anglo-American, we lived, and to this day live, under a tyrannical government. By the acts of forced assimilation the Anglo-Americans have sought also to subsume us, the African-Americans, into its Constitution.

The desires, the perpetual existence and the human rights of African-Americans are not embodied in the majority Constitution, which, from its origin, is absent any input from us. The laws arising from America's majority Constitution do not embody the living will of the African-Americans.

Thus, we feel we cannot intelligently argue the issue of violation of our human rights. While we are human, we have not been in possession of our human rights for the past 433 years. Our human rights were willfully destroyed, utterly. They were destroyed by the slave masters, under the auspices of the United States central and local governments, during our long sojourn as slaves in America.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that recognition of the inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Here, at the beginning of the histories of the so-called African-Americans, the enslaved Africans brought to America were defined in the same terms as the "cattle" belonging to the Anglo-American rulers. Thus, our rights were those of their "cattle"; ours were not human rights. Yet we were then--and are, still, members of the human family.

Our inalienable rights were distorted so completely, that we are damaged goods, still. We are lost from our original inherent culture, religion and language. America cannot lawfully force us to accept the choices which she deems to be our inalienable rights; nor can she force us and our progeny to abandon the hope for the reclamation of our own. One hundred thirty four years of forced assimilation has not abrogated the desire to know, and to be ourselves. Today, we have no permanent national recognition, as a result of slavery. We have been identified as slaves, Niggers, Negroes, Coloreds, Black-Americans and today we are so-called African-Americans.

Thus, we are to this day a revolving nation, suspended within a nation: rent from our roots, as a result of slavery and its lingering effects. We are detached, still, from our inalienable rights. To this extent, the very foundation upon which freedom, justice and peace among nations is established is for us non-existing: our inalienable rights are extinct! Recognition of inalienable rights, for us, is a faith hoped for. And this poses a threat to peace for the United States of America, for the Americas and potentially for Europe. Why? It is a threat because of the despair of the many: which will endlessly be ignited to loathing and, or rioting. It will be ignited, lawlessly, by the perpetual humanitarian desires of the few: if the fever, or this abnormal situation, is not reversed by the few humanitarians who aim lawfully and by sanctions to efficaciously stamp out violations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As in the contemporary case of Iraq, the U.N., urged by the United States, sent inspectors to Iraq so as to avert what America believes to be a threat to humanity.

The United States of America, for the past fifty years, has violated this august Universal Declaration of Human Rights. During the past fifty years, America has not seen fit to restore us to our inalienable rights, or them to us; nor has she seen fit to grant to us the choice to be, or not to be Americans. Therefore, this statement is a request for United Nations assistance in the establishment of a forum (perhaps under the auspices of the Sub-Commission.) The type of forum requested is similar to the one opened for the Aboriginal peoples in Geneva. We wish that the United Nations will establish a forum within the boundaries of the United States, preferably at United Nations Headquarters.

The Government of the United States ordained slavery and forced assimilation upon captive Africans for more than four hundred years. The United States Government wishes to persuade the United Nations and the world, today, that African-Americans are full and equal members of America's society, enjoying inalienable rights. Their propaganda is so persuasive and effective that even some of us believe that the self determination of the Anglo-American is our very own.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, "disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind...." America's disregard and contempt for human rights ought to be seen by the United Nations as she has dispossessed us of our culture, religion and language and has forced assimilation upon us. Indeed it is barbarous, and it denies us the full enjoyment of freedom, justice and equality.

"Whereas," according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, "it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law." Here, we seek the persuasive powers as well as the rule of law of the United Nations, and its member states to come to our aid.

African-Americans have looked toward and exhausted all remedies made available by the majority government, although, it is viewed as the oppressor. In light of the aforementioned, cannot the United Nations open a forum for African-Americans in its host country? We wish to address the question of whether we choose to reclaim or recapture our original culture, language, religion and identity, or whether we choose to assimilate into the majority culture of America. Upon this matter we have never enjoyed the freedom of choice. We pray to the Commission on Human Rights for the right to make our choice within the protection of a United Nations forum.

We want recognition of our choice of human rights. We want recognition of our choice of inalienable rights. We want the crime of plantation slavery, and its lingering effects which was, and is still, a crime against us and against humanity, to be rectified. We believe that through a forum we can assist the United Nations in fulfilling its most noble covenant, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which envisages human rights "for everyone, everywhere;" as at present, we are left out!

 

2) Oral Statement to the 55th Session of the Commission on Human Rights, April 1999

Agenda Item 14(b) Specific Groups and Individuals: Minorities

Madam Chairperson:

Our question is whether the United States of Americaís refusal to ratify certain U.N. human rights treaties, which would lead to the restoration of the human rights of her handicapped victims of slavery, amounts to a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights envisages the establishment of a common framework of protected human rights for everyone, everywhere. The United States knew, upon the adoption of the Universal Declaration on December 10, 1948, that African-Americans did not have their original motherís tongue, their inherent religion or their ancestral culture, as a result of the acts of the Anglo-American government. She had kept us perpetually regenerating the human rights of the Anglo-American, against our will.

Our identity as a national minority, a minority or as a people, in possession of our human rights, can not ever be achieved if left to the will of the United States. Why? Americaís refusal to ratify the Convention on the Non-applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity makes it blatantly clear that she shuns responsibility for 400 years of slavery and its legacies. In the process she obstructs the pathway for the restoration of our human rights.

The United States holds herself out as being in full compliance with the spirit of U.N. protected human rights for everyone, everywhere; while holding us in this slavery predicament. Thereby she causes the U.N. to fail in its intent to consider everyone, everywhere; and causes us to remain trapped within the identity of the Anglo-American.

Her omission to act, with knowledge that there was an equitable and fiduciary duty to act, is not within the spirit of the Universal Declaration. We will remain victims continuously, until the United Nations corrects the damages that the U.S. has done to it and to us. Thus the United States has committed fraud against the U.N., ongoing forced assimilation against us, and an additional act calculated to bring about our total destruction.

Thus we conclude, that since its inception, a consistent violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been perpetrated by the United States. We ask, humbly, can this lofty body, the Commission on Human Rights, permit the U.S. to continue these acts?

We ask the U.N. to grant us a forum for the purpose of restoring our human rights, our political being, and our status as a people. Within a forum, while promoting respect for the Universal Declaration, we will be able to rebuild a kind of council or governing body amongst ourselves, absent the social engineering of the U.S. Government. We will develop and present a package of recommendations to benefit race relations in American society, including support for those of us who wish to migrate to a friendly nation.

In closing, 50 years after the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, my people stand before you seeking political resurrection and restoration of our human rights.

 

3) Oral Statement to the Working Group on Minorities, May 1999

Agenda Item 3. b), 8 (a) Examination of the causes and nature of the problems affecting minorities and group accommodation, and their possible solutions, including: - the legacies of the slave trade on the black communities throughout the Americas; - issues relating to the forcible displacement of populations.

Greetings Mr. Chairman, Members of the Working Group on Minorities.

The lingering effects of plantation slavery have left me and my people in a state of genocide. Genocide is to a group as homicide is to an individual. Rent from our land, our roots, sold and forced into slavery: we have been recognized as slaves, Niggers, Negroes, Coloreds, Black-Americans and today we are the so-called African-Americans. We are more than 40 million, and yet we are a people dead. We have been dead, as slaves, for 400 years. Is not our struggle for human dignity equally as important as groups fighting for their human life. To be alive, with the knowledge that I am, as a man, dead, is worse than physical death. Death of the physical body sets you free. Death of the human spirit is a living hell.

Commencing with slavery to this date, we are a revolving nation, within the nation of America. We are absent our foundation-- our human rights: culture, religion and motherís tongue. We have lost our original identity.

Our question is whether Americaís refusal to ratify a particular U.N. human rights treaty, which would lead to the restoration of our identity, amounts to a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities flows from the Universal Declaration of Human rights. The Universal Declaration envisages, to quote Professor Eide, "the establishment of a common framework of protected human rights for everyone, everywhere."

The United States knew, upon the adoption of the Universal Declaration on December 10, 1948, that African-Americans did not have their original motherís tongue, their inherent religion or their ancestral culture. America did not have us in mind at the time of signing that document; or she had the intent to persuade the U.N. that she did. To the extent that the United Nations left us out of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the government of the United States has designed a falsehood which has hampered the United Nations and its member states. We have been left out of the Declaration on the Rights of Minorities also, because of this falsehood.

Our identity as a people, in possession of our human rights, can not ever be achieved if left to the will of the United States. Why? Americaís refusal to ratify the Convention on the Non-applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, in 1968, some twenty (20) years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration, makes it blatantly clear, again, that she did not have in mind human rights for everyone, everywhere.

The United Statesí omission to ratify that particular convention reveals the intent of the U.S. Government at the moment and time of her act. Her thinking is consistent with her thinking in 1948. Either she did not have us in mind; or she seeks specifically to block the pathway to our human rights. While holding us in this ever revolving state, the United States holds herself out as being in full compliance with the spirit of U.N. protected human rights for everyone, everywhere; and causes us to remain trapped within the Anglo-American culture, regenerating her religion and tongue, in reality, her identity.

The United States has committed fraud against the U.N., genocide against us. Thus we conclude, that since its inception, a consistent violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been perpetrated by the United States.

We ask you to recommend to the Sub-Commission the establishment of a forum, with expert guidance, for the purpose of restoring our human rights -- which only we can reclaim or choose: our legal, political being and status as a people. Within a forum, we will 1) promote respect for the Universal Declaration of human rights amongst ourselves, which will ultimately include the Diaspora; we will 2) rebuild a kind of council or governing body amongst ourselves, absent the social engineering of the U.S. Government. Within this council we will 3) openly discuss the devolution, in pertinent parts, of the Constitution of the United States, which defines us as three-fifths of a human being. This package will be presented to the United States. The venture commenced, intelligence can be gained for the Sub-Commission that might usefully 4) address the continuing legal, political and economic legacies of the slave trade as experienced by the victims. We will 5) discuss reclamation, restoration, repatriation, reparations and migration of some of us to a friendly nation. We want these discussions to 6) benefit race relations in the society of the United States. The establishment of a forum for the reasons stated, would also eliminate the burden of slavery for Americaís future generation.

In closing, we thank the Working Group for including in its agenda the legacies of the slave trade.


4) Statement to the Working Group on Minorities by Attorney Harriett AbuBakr

Provisional Agenda Item 3. b), 8 (a) Examination of the causes and nature of the problems affecting minorities and group accommodation, and their possible solutions, including:  - the legacies of the slave trade on the black communities throughout the Americas;

- issues relating to the forcible displacement of populations

Greetings Mr. Chairman, and greetings to the esteemed members of the Working Group on Minorities.  I would like to thank you for placing the legacies of the slave trade on the black communities throughout the Americas on your agenda.  I believe it is appropriate that a study of our condition begins here, and I trust the experts in this Working Group to consider our experiences, past and present, in light of the law. 

My name is Harriett AbuBakr. I am a founding member of the National Commission for Reparations, and an attorney at law.  Victims come to me in my practice, relying upon my knowledge and my reputation as a defender of their rights.  Therefore it is not in the manner of an organization leader that I come to you.  I come to you as a victim, relying upon your knowledge of law and your reputation as defenders of my rights.  We African Americans are thankful for your recognition of us and for the recognition that the Sub-Commission gave to us in its resolution 1998/24.  As a people, we have waited so long for experts to study and understand what has been done to us.  I urge you to continue to invest your considerable moral strength and legal expertise in analyzing our unique situation.

While you listen to my intervention, please consider how you would define the crime that was and is being committed against us, how you would protect our rights, and what means you see for our restoration.

African-Americans in the United States of America are not the same people as the Africans who were kidnaped and sold into slavery during the European slave trade.  Those Africans no longer exist racially, physically, culturally, mentally or spiritually.  They were intentionally destroyed, and their descendants are a different people; changed in ways that are permanent, and damaged in ways that are making recovery difficult.

Medical studies indicate that because of the extreme physical torment and illness we suffered while being shipped to the Americas, only those Africans whose bodies retained fluids and salts were able to survive.  This torment caused a genetic change in our population which manifests today as a far greater than average incidence of high blood pressure and the resulting heart attacks and strokes.  African Americans today still die from the torment of the middle passage.  We cannot reverse genetic changes.

Throughout the 310 years of slavery, African women were raped by their owners and forced to bear children of mixed race.  This brought about the second change in our population.  Through force, against the will of African women, and with intent to destroy us as a race, this crime was committed.  Today the vast majority of African Americans have Caucasians among their ancestors.  We cannot reverse the mixing of the slave master's blood into ours, although many of us would remove it if we could.

During slavery certain black males were singled out like stud horses and used in order to populate a plantation with bigger, stronger slaves.  Through forced breeding, our physique is not the same as our African ancestors.  In part because of breeding, and the food that we were forced to eat, we are today a people with extraordinary health problems.  We suffer from a far greater than average incidence of diabetes, prostate cancer and obesity.  We cannot reverse the changes in our physical condition - we can only strive to live with them.

In addition to being changed genetically, racially and physically, many millions of us have died.  The United Nations has been exceedingly concerned about the loss of six million Jews in a crime which is commonly referred to as the greatest example of genocide.  And yet we have lost many more than six million.  The lowest estimate of our loss is 10 million, and the highest up to 500 million.  Our people were thrown overboard ships, beaten to death, hung, starved, torn apart and burned to death.  We can hardly name the many different ways in which we have died.

Even today a mass grave of 400 African Americans slaughtered in a race riot, is being uncovered.  And the killing hasn't ended.  You see us marching in protest because our young men and women are being killed by police at an alarming rate.  Amnesty International has reported to the U.N. on this.  Amnesty International has also just reported that the United States is administering the death penalty on a disproportionate number of Black men.  How many millions of us have to die before we are recognized as victims of something more criminal than racial discrimination?

In addition to being forcibly changed and murdered, we have been destroyed culturally.  The cultural life of the original African slaves was completely obliterated in the United States.  As individuals, African Americans have no idea of what country, what region of Africa, what tribe, or what culture they came from.  When we realize that not only can we not speak our mother's tongue, but we can never know who our ancestral Mothers were, we suffer an immeasurable grief.  How degrading - how sad - how lonely to have lost all trace of our Mothers and Fathers, never to be able to find them again, even within ourselves.  As a people we are just beginning to wake up to the knowledge of our loss, and to feel this grief.  As a people, everything that we were is dead.  It is perhaps for this reason that we have come to the United Nations.  We want to live again as ourselves, anew, and we need help.

Mentally, we have been changed also.  Our African ancestors were subjected to trans-generational traumatic stress.  They suffered terrorism from the time of their birth until their death, living their entire lives with an unnatural fear of white people.  Up unto and including this very generation, an unreasonable fear of white people can be discovered in some of the strongest of Black men.  Black youth, in overcoming fear, have substituted a "kamikaze" type of anger which waits only to be ignited.  Some of them want to be martyrs.  We believe it is only our effort at a legal solution that holds them in check.  In addition to fear and anger, a mental condition of self hatred came into existence as a result of slavery.  This condition affects us today, causing us to turn on ourselves and each other, effectively preventing our recovery.

Perhaps the most destructive thing that was done to us was that a white Christian God was placed over us, a captive people.  The Christian religion was used to subjugate us as slaves, and it continues to subjugate us today.  It is pressed upon our sons and daughters by their own well meaning mothers and fathers, with little knowledge that a white God may not be the best God for a Black child.

In closing, I would like to ask again how you would define the crime that was and is being committed against us, how you would protect our rights, and what means you see for our restoration.  I am convinced that there are ways in which you can help us almost immediately, and I urge you to help us immediately, as many of us are descending into an apathetic condition.

I urge you to act on our behalf.  I urge you to recommend to the Sub-Commission that a forum for African Americans be established at the U.N. in New York, as was requested last year by Mr. Silis Muhammad.  I urge you to recommend to the Sub-Commission that a new Working Group be established here in Geneva to study our condition throughout the Diaspora.  I urge you to recommend that the Sub-Commission pass a resolution recognizing slavery and the slave trade as a crime against humanity.  I urge you to take up the task of writing a working paper as a way to begin analyzing our situation.  I urge you to visit the United States and visit us, in order that we might demonstrate to you our condition.  And finally, I urge you to include us in the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, or if that cannot be done, I urge you to begin writing a new declaration for us.

Thank you for your kind attention.

 

5) Statement to the Working Group on Minorities by Ida Hakim

Provisional Agenda Item 3. b), 8 (a) Examination of the causes and nature of the problems affecting minorities and group accommodation, and their possible solutions, including:  - the legacies of the slave trade on the black communities throughout the Americas;

Greetings Mr. Chairman and members of the Working Group on Minorities. I am pleased to be able to intervene under the agenda item 3. b). With your agenda you have given voice to African Americans from the United States and throughout the Diaspora. In so doing you give courage to us and you renew our hope for a peaceful solution to a situation which has the potential to become an unprecedented race war.

First I would like to comment on the legacies of the slave trade. In the United States of America, the crime wasnít only trans-generational chattel slavery, and it isnít only genocide against a people, it is a crime against all of humanity. To leave it uncorrected is a crime against even me.

The European slave trade was a hideously immoral undertaking in which the church, governments, businesses and individuals participated. Such a wrong, left uncorrected, give us, the inheritors of the wrong, a desolate legacy. I offer as evidence the United States of America: the place where many white people feel they just naturally deserve the privileges, and they are willing to take their own kind of special measures to make sure Africans Americans, as a people, donít get the upper hand. America is the place where more moral outrage can be shown at the killing of a dog than at the killing of a homeless Blackman. America is the place where white privileged children murder other children because they are bored, they donít feel good, and they want attention. We are in a morally desolate condition. We need an opportunity for a new legacy. We need a redemptive opportunity.

You are experts on human rights, and therefore you have moral authority. Through your help, the people of the United States may be persuaded to see the value of correcting wrongs, doing away with white privilege, and establishing true freedom, justice and equality. Your Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities offers guidance which can be used to bring justice to situations involving minorities. We wish that it had made mention of how to first restore to African Americans their rights and then protect them. I speak of a people who have been forcibly displaced and, in the United States, subsumed by a government whose intention toward them has never been to offer them human rights. Perhaps you would consider making revisions to the Declaration if at all possible.

The Working Group on Minorities is able to make recommendations to the Sub-Commission. These recommendations can potentially start the "wheels" of the UN turning with respect to the legacies of the slave trade. The members of the Working Group can help African Americans find their way into having meaningful protection of the law. We read and study what you, the experts, write. We ask that you consider some possible steps that we recommend, and respond to us with your opinion.

Consider the great understanding that could come from a UN sponsored forum for African Americans, as described by Mr. Silis Muhammad in his intervention. Consider the constructive changes that could take place if the Working Group on Minorities would engage a team of experts to report on the legacies of the slave trade. Consider the progress that could be made in changing the moral condition in the U.S. if human rights educators were to teach that the slave trade destroyed more of humanity and created more contemporary victims than Nazi crimes and apartheid. Consider the confidence that you would build if you place a direct response to African Americans in your report to the Sub-Commission. So much good can come from facing up to the truth and facing up to a hard task.

We would also like to ask for the help of some of the United Nations Specialized Agencies.

From the World Health Organization we would like to see a study of the health legacies of the slave trade. African Americans suffer from a number of medical problems including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and prostate cancer. These diseases are found in the African American people to a greater degree than the rest of the Americcan population. Medical studies indicate that permanent physical changes may have occurred during slavery. We believe the World Health Organization could help bring together the facts behind this issue.

We ask the International Labor Organization to look into Americaís privately owned prisons. Americaís prisons are filled with African American men who are engaged in making products for private corporations. Many earn only a few pennies an hour. It is certainly reminiscent of the slave trade, to watch American big business reap profit from a racially discriminatory judicial system and a constitution which permits slavery when a person has been convicted of a crime. We are confident that the ILO is aware of this situation. Perhaps there have been labor union objections to the "slavery like" use of prisoners in the United States. We ask the ILO to look into this situation if at all possible.

From UNESCO we would like to see a study of what happens to a people when they are torn away from everything they know and forced to stop speaking their language, singing their songs, remembering their home and praying to their God. What do they go through over generations? How far from their nature can they be driven? What possible assistance can be offered to help them return. We ask if UNESCO could begin to focus on this. We also ask these organizations to give us their suggestions as to how they believe they might help in finding solutions.

Thank you again, Mr. Chairman and the members of the Working Group on Minorities for placing on your agenda the legacies of the slave trade. My hope is that next year African Americans may be able to intervene in response to progress stemming from actions that you have taken on their behalf. Mr. Silis Muhammad expressed to me his deep appreciation for the Working Group. You are personally thanked for your sympathetic concern, your assistance, and your careful guidance.

 

6) Written Statement to the 51st session of the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, August 1999

Provisional Agenda Item 8, Prevention of discrimination against and the protection of minorities

The lingering effects of plantation slavery have left me and my people in a state of genocide. Genocide is to a group as homicide is to an individual. Rent from our land, our roots, sold and forced into slavery: we have been recognized as slaves, Niggers, Negroes, Coloreds, Black-Americans and today we are the so-called African-Americans. We are more than 40 million, and yet we are a people dead. We have been dead, as slaves, for 400 years. Is not our struggle for human dignity equally as important as that of groups at war for their human life? Ours is a war of the mind. The U.N. will send troops to protect physical life. Is not our war as great? Is not the mind as precious as the body? To be alive, with the knowledge that I am, as a man, dead, is worse than physical death. Death of the physical body sets you free. Death of the human spirit is a living hell.

Beginning with slavery to this date, we are a revolving nation, within the nation of America. We are absent our foundation -- our human rights: culture, religion and motherís tongue. We have lost our original identity. While we are a people, and not a minority, we are treated as a minority by the U.S. Government. Therefore we bring our case to you, the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities.

The Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, which flows from the Universal Declaration of Human rights, addresses the question of identity. Concomitantly, the Universal Declaration envisages, to quote Professor Eide, "the establishment of a common framework of protected human rights for everyone, everywhere."

The United States knew, upon the adoption of the Universal Declaration on December 10, 1948, that African-Americans did not have their original motherís tongue, their inherent religion or their ancestral culture -- their human identity. America did not have us in mind at the time of signing that document; or she had the intent to persuade the U.N. that she did. To the extent that the United Nations left us out of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the government of the United States has designed a falsehood which has hampered the United Nations and its Member States. We have been left out of the Declaration on the Rights of Minorities also, because of this falsehood.

To be left out of both the Declaration on the Rights of Minorities, and the Universal Declaration, is to not have recognition of our human life, politically. We have no identity because we were intentionally deprived of education in our motherís tongue, thus we do not have our own culture. Absent our culture, we exist in a state of civil death.

We are concerned about our right to education in our motherís tongue as we know that it would guarantee us an identity. We appreciate the Declaration on the Rights of Minorities in its focus on education, but we conclude that even if the United States wanted to, she could not restore us to our family roots and our motherís tongue. She cannot trace our lineage except to the continent of Africa, where there exist over 1200 families of languages. Therefore we must be allowed to choose the motherís tongue or tongues that we, as a people, wish to speak. We feel we must have the protection of a U.N. forum as we engage in this stage of the mental war for our identity, lest we be targeted and considered subversive by the U.S. Government.

Our identity as a people, in possession of our human rights, can not ever be achieved if left entirely to the will of the United States. Why? Americaís refusal to ratify the Convention on the Non-applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity, in 1968, some twenty (20) years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration, makes it blatantly clear, again, that she did not have in mind human rights for everyone, everywhere.

The failure of the United States to ratify that particular convention reveals the intent of the U.S. Government at the moment and time of her act. Her thinking is consistent with her thinking in 1948. Either she did not have us in mind; or she seeks specifically to block the pathway to our human rights -- our identity. While holding us in this ever revolving state, the United States holds herself out as being in full compliance with the spirit of U.N. protected human rights for everyone, everywhere; and causes us to remain trapped within the Anglo-American culture, regenerating her religion and tongue, in reality, her identity.

Thus, the United States has committed fraud against the U.N., genocide against us, and we linger in a state of civil death, as our identity has not been preserved. We conclude, that since its inception, a consistent violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been perpetrated by the United States.

We recommend the establishment of a U.N. forum, with expert guidance, for African Americans in the U.S. We want the forum to be located at U.N. Headquarters in New York. We believe that the United Nations has an equitable and moral obligation to persuade the United States to financially provide for the forum inasmuch as the fraudulent acts of the U.S. Government have hampered the U.N. in fulfilling its obligation of protected human rights for everyone, everywhere. Surely there ought to be grave concern that more than 40 million people have been left out, and do not have their protected human rights. If the U.S. Government refuses to financially support a forum, we would gratefully accept the sponsorship of the United Nations or any sympathetic government.

We want a forum for the purpose of restoring our human rights -- which only we can reclaim or choose: our legal, political being and status as a people. Within a forum, we will 1) promote respect for the Universal Declaration of human rights amongst ourselves, which will ultimately include the Diaspora; we will 2) rebuild a kind of council or governing body amongst ourselves, absent the social engineering of the U.S. Government. Within this council we will 3) openly discuss the devolution, in pertinent parts, of the Constitution of the United States, which defines us as three-fifths of a human being; we will 4) make choices on the motherís tongue or tongues that we, as a people, wish to speak; we will 5) discuss reclamation, restoration, repatriation, reparations and migration of some of us to a friendly nation.

This package will be presented to the United States. The venture commenced, intelligence can be gained for the Sub-Commission that might usefully address the continuing legal, political and economic legacies of the slave trade as experienced by the victims. We want these discussions to benefit race relations in the society of the United States. The establishment of a forum for the reasons stated, would also eliminate the burden of slavery for Americaís future generation.

 

7) Oral Statement to the Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination

and the Protection of Minorities, August, 1999

Provisional Agenda Item 8: Prevention of discrimination against and the protection of minorities

While we, the so-called African Americans, are a people and not a minority, in the United States we are placed within a minority status. Hence, we call upon the U.N. to come to our succor both under Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: the one the U.S. has ratified; and under the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in resolution 47/135 of 18 December, 1992.

We charge civil death. The U.S., with knowledge that it has denied us our identity for the past 400 years, is in violation of both the aforementioned Covenant and Declaration. In articles 2 and 4, the Declaration stipulates that minorities have the right to protect their culture and identity.

Professor Guillaume Siemienskiís working paper on Education rights of minorities: Hague Recommendation states that language, but not just any language, oneís "mother tongue" is intimately bound with identity.

Professor Mustapha Mehedi defines the essence of identity in his writings on education. He states, the discovery of oneís own identity means not that it is mapped out in isolation, but that it is negotiated (infused) through a dialogue, partly external, partly internal, with others. Education plays a fundamental role in the formation of personal identity. Thus, the right to education is an identity right.

Owing to plantation slavery, intercultural education is an impossibility for us. By forcibly depriving us of our "mother tongue," the Government of the U.S. deracinated our collective identity, making our condition irreversible. We need specific U.N. assistance.

Absent knowledge of our mother tongue, how could and can we speak it with other members of our community, and preserve our individual identity? The annihilation of our "mother tongue" is the extermination of our identity. Absent our identity, we do not have our own culture. Absent culture, we are in a state of civil death. To destroy a people and their shared life is a crime.

The U.N. can provide a remedy by establishing a forum for so-called African-Americans at the U.N. in New York. We want a forum for the purpose of restoring our human rights -- which only we can reclaim or choose. Within a forum, we will 1) rebuild a kind of council or governing body amongst ourselves; 2) openly discuss the devolution, in pertinent parts, of the Constitution of the U.S., which defines us as three-fifth of a human being; 3) make choices on the "mother tongue" or tongues we wish to speak; 4) discuss and conclude on the issues of reclamation, restoration, reparations and migration of some of us to a friendly nation; 5) then present this package to the U.N. in order that the U.N. can facilitate dialogue between us and the U.S. Government.

The forum will provide a peaceful and protected environment for the resurrection of our legal, political being and status as a people. To finance the forum, we would gratefully accept the sponsorship of the U.N. or any compassionate government which aims at liberty.

In closing, we thank the Sub-Commission for calling upon the Working Group on Minorities to address the continuing legacies of the slave trade in the Americas and throughout the Diaspora.