July 23, 2019
TMT International Observatory Board of Directors, United States of America and Canada:
Diana Jergovic, [email protected]
B. Tomas Soifer, [email protected]
Prof. Donald Brooks, [email protected]
Gregory G. Fahlman, [email protected]
Kim Venn, [email protected]
Jonas Zmuidzinas, [email protected]
Nathan Brostrom, [email protected]
Michael Bolte, [email protected]
Henry Yang, [email protected]
I am writing to add the voices of the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) Board of Directors and our hundreds of affiliates from North, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Pacific, including the Nation of Hawai’i, to those of the world community, calling upon you to cease and desist the construction of a Thirty Meter Telescope at Maunakea, Hawai’i. As you well know, the construction of this telescope on a sacred mountain of profound cultural and spiritual importance is a focus of vehement opposition by the Hawai’ian Indigenous People.
The IITC is an Indigenous Peoples Organization with General Consultative Status with the United nNations Economic and Social Council. Our core priority is to defend and uphold the rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The development of this project at this location violates a number of international human rights standards and instruments which affirm the human rights, cultural rights, religious freedom and self determination of Indigenous Peoples which the United States, Canada and other states are obligated to respect. I have enclosed an urgent action release which IITC submitted to the State of Hawaii, Federal officials and United Nations human rights bodies in April 2015. We reiterate our position expressed at that time, and add our grave concern for the criminalization of human and cultural rights defenders who have been charged and arrested for defending this sacred place from desecration. We appeal to your obligation to protect the good name of TMT along with the rights of the Hawai’ian People by relocating this project to another site where the human rights and freedom of religion of Indigenous Peoples will not be negatively impacted.
Thank you for your consideration of our concerns which are shared by a great many others around the world. We are certain that the telescope project can be successfully carried forward in another location where it will not be tainted it with the stain of human rights violations and the condemnation of the international community.
Executive Director, International Indian Treaty Council (IITC)
100 E. Ajo Way, Tucson Arizona, 85713
Tucson Office Phone +(520) 833-9797
Cell phone +(520) 273-6003
cc: IITC Board of Directors
cc: United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights on Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz
cc: World Public Opinion