Joint Letter of Concern for the Safety of Tony James


His Excellency
Bharrat Jagdeo
President of the Republic of Guyana
Georgetown, Guyana
E-mail: opmed@op.gov.gy
Fax: 592 226 9969


Your Excellency:

The following 38 organizations from around the world are writing to express our concern for the security and well-being of Mr. Tony James, President of the Amerindian Peoples Association. According to the Executive Board of APA, in a statement issued on December 10th, there have been multiple incidents over recent months in which unknown people have come asking about Tony's whereabouts. In one instance, an unknown woman noted, "they want his head; they want him dead."

Though these are not the first of such kind of incident, this is the first time APA has felt sufficiently concerned about Mr. James' safety to raise the issue at an international level. We are concerned about these occurrences based on similar experiences in other contexts. Surveillance and attempts to locate human rights defenders are often a precursor to more serious repression with the objective of silencing their voices.

The APA and Mr. James are well known and respected in the international community at large, among Indigenous organizations, NGOs, funding agencies, and government representatives. Many of us have collaborated directly and extensively with Mr. James and others within APA for years, in some cases for over a decade. We hold in high regard the organization's activities on behalf of Indigenous rights within the Guyanese national context and Mr. James' tireless advocacy within international institutions.

We respectfully request that you guarantee the safety of Mr. James and his fellow APA members against the prospective threat represented by these recent incidents. Should the APA report another incident of unknown persons looking for Mr. James or any other situation perceived as threatening, we would request that you launch an impartial and thorough investigation into the situation. We will be paying close attention to the situation over the coming months.

Sincerely,


Amazon Watch, US
Asian Indigenous Women's Network, Philippines
Bank Information Center, US
Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale (CRBM), Italy
Center for International Environmental Law, US
Cultural Survival, US
E-Tech International, US
Earth Rights International, US
Environmental Defense Fund, US
Environmental Investigation Agency, US
FERN, UK
Forest Peoples Programme, UK
Friends of the Earth, Norway
Friends of the Earth, US
Global Greengrants Fund, US
Global Witness, UK
Government Accountability Project, US
Grassroots International, US
Indigenous Environmental Network, US
Ingrid Washinawatok El-Issa Flying Eagle Woman Fund for Peace, Justice and Sovereignty, US
International Accountability Project, US
International Forum on Globalization, US
International Funders for Indigenous Peoples, US
International Rivers, US
Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia), Malaysia
Land is Life, US
Pacific Environment, US
PLATFORM, London, UK
Rainforest Action Network, US
Rainforest Foundation Norway
Rainforest Foundation UK
Rainforest Foundation US
Rainforest Information Centre, Australia
Survival International, UK
Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education), Philippines
Urgewald, Germany
World Rainforest Movement, Uruguay
Worldview, US
Randy Hayes, Rainforest Action Network Founder, US
Naupaka Zimmerman, Stanford University, US
Kimberly Carlson, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, US


Cc:
Hon. Charles Ramson, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Guyana
His Excellency Bayney Karran, Ambassador, Guyana Embassy & Permanent Mission To The Organization Of American States
Hon. Mr. George Talbot, Chargé d'Affaires, Permanent Representative, Guyana Permanent Mission To The United Nations
Dinah Shelton, Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Inter-American Human Rights Commission
S. James Anaya, Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, United Nations
M. Kiari Liman-Tinguiri, United Nations Development Program, Resident Representative, Guyana
Yvonne Tsikata, World Bank Director for the Caribbean
Giorgio Valentini, World Bank Country Representative
Benoit Bosquet, Facility Management Team of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility
Marco Carlo Nicola, Inter-American Development Bank, Resident Representative
Hans Brattskar, Tove Stub, Norwegian Climate and Forest Initiative
Per Mogstad, Alf Friisoe, Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Turid Arnegaard, Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)
The Norwegian Embassy to the Caribbean States
Simon Bond, Acting British High Commissioner, Georgetown
UK Department for International Development (DFID)
Ken Reiman, US Embassy in Georgetown
Heiko Warnken, German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
Horst Freiberg, Head of Division, Ministry of the Environment
Reinhard Wolf, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ)
Johannes Scholl, KFW
Fons Gribling, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Representative to the FCPF Participants Committee

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