Friday, October 29, 2010

Winning Video Addresses How the US Continues to Ignore Their Treaty Obligations Made with Native Americans

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Innovative Multi-Media Project Seeks to Tell the Stories of Communities Affected by Human Rights Violations in Anticipation of Universal Periodic Review

Winning Video Addresses How the US Continues to Ignore Their Treaty Obligations Made with Native Americans

October 26, 2010-In an effort to bring to life the stories of ordinary citizens affected by social injustices, The U.S Human Rights Network (USHRN) launched the Testify Project, a video contest based on first person stories of human rights abuses occurring in the United States.

Organizers of the contest asked participants to create a one to two minute video addressing the core questions: how are human rights violated in your community and what should the US Government do to protect these rights.

“The Testify Project is a chance for the voice of people in the community who have suffered the indignities and violations of their human rights to be heard,” said Ajamu Baraka, Executive Director of USHRN “People from across the country are standing up to tell their stories and call on the U.S to fall in line with world standards. The powerful video from the La Jolla Band of Indians demonstrates the great need for the application of international human rights laws to our domestic policy.”

Videos ranged in subject matter from access to adequate health care to the denial of rights of indigenous communities, to immigration issues faced by the gay and lesbian community. The group received over 63 submissions for the contest.

Narrowed down by a public vote, a panel of judges with expertise in human rights and video activism selected the winning video from the La Jolla Band of Indians. This video highlights a community walk bringing attention to the disproportionately high rates of rapes and assaults on native women.

First round contest winner, Romeo Ramirez’s video described how he and his fellow tomato pickers work to put food on the tables of families across the U.S., yet could hardly feed their own families, and face sub-poverty wages and frequent abuse from employers.

The top ten videos and stories will be screened for United Nations delegates in Geneva, Switzerland in preparation for the United States’ Universal Periodic Review.

For a full list of the top 10 videos please visit:

The US Human Rights Network was formed to promote US accountability to universal human rights standards by building linkages between organizations and individuals. The Network strives to build a human rights culture in the United States that puts those directly affected by human rights violations, with a special emphasis on grassroots organizations and social movements, in a central leadership role. The Network also works towards connecting the US human rights movement with the broader US social justice movement and human rights movements around the world. To learn more, please visit:

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