Seventh Session - New York, 21 April-2 May 2008

Thank you Madam Chair,

We wish to bring to the attention of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples the case of a European indigenous community that at present is unable to freely exercise its spiritual identity; therefore seeking assistance.
The European continent was home to Indigenous Peoples as well, before they were wiped out by the great historical powers, Peoples that presented traditions substantially similar to the Indigenous Peoples of the rest of the planet.
In France, at Carnac (Brittany), the case of one of these traditional communities is a reality. Currently, the community is not allowed to exercise its free spiritual identity, hence it requests much-needed aid.
The megalithic complex of Carnac, sacred site for the Breton community, has been fenced off for over 17 years by the French government, which plans to transform the area into a sort of theme-museum; thereby, stripping the Breton community of free access to its spiritual grounds.
Céline Mary, president of the organization Menhirs Libres, appeals to the here-gathered assembly for the restored use of the megalithic site of Carnac as spiritual reference, just as it has always done since memory of times forgotten, until 1990. The inhabitants of Carnac have been living with this difficult situation for over 17 years: as a matter of fact, since 1991 a fence has been placed around the megalithic area of Carnac and has since barred the site, despite the numerous protests invoked by the inhabitants and despite the fact that in 2002 the association Menhirs Libres won the court case.
An entire generation of youths has not been able to know the joys of walking within the ancient Breton grounds. Such tragedy offends the inhabitants and violates their freedom for mere commercial purposes. In effects the access to the site is forbidden and to enter is necessary to pay.
All of this jeopardizes the native peoples that for numerous generation were normally used the area for walks, social encounters and both personal and public rites.
We ask that the UN lend assistance to the association Menhirs Libres in order to untangle this bureaucratic knot, which has already deprived an entire generation of the use of this site of native cultural reference, and prevent this from happening to future generations.
We ask the removal of the fences so that the site may be freely used by all desiring to do so.
We ask respect for the right, belonging to the native People of Brittany, to freely use their maximum spiritual and cultural place of reference.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Rosalba Nattero and Giancarlo Barbadoro

Apache Survival Coalition, Arizona
Wiran Aboriginal Corporation, Australia
Menhirs Libres, Brittany
Bassa Peoples, Cameroon
United Confederation of Taěno People
Ensemble Allons dans la Paix, Benin