The president of the Puerto Rico Human Rights Committee, Eduardo Villanueva. (horizontal-x3)
The president of the Puerto Rico Human Rights Committee, Eduardo Villanueva. (GFR Media)

New York - Today, the president of the Puerto Rico Human Rights Committee, Eduardo Villanueva, will call on the United Nations Decolonization Committee to send their special rapporteurs to document the island´s social crisis in the middle of its colonial relationship with the United States.

"It is time for the UN to send delegates to Puerto Rico and document the poverty in which they live. Let there be rapporteurs who describe the economic, social and moral effect of a labor legislation that reduces rights for workers and forces them to migrate in order to survive. Let them document the process of gentrification that is taking place in a scientific and orchestrated way, " says Villanueva in the report he will be presenting this morning.

Dozens of groups and individuals will appear today before the Decolonization Committee, which during the afternoon must approve a new resolution - it would be number 37 - in favor of Puerto Rico's right to self-determination and independence. It will also include an exhortation for the General Assembly - which in 1953 excluded Puerto Rico from the list of non-self governing territories - to take up the island´s political case and to hold the United States government to account.

While today in New York, the Committee of Decolonization holds its hearing, on Thursday, in Geneva, the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty, Philip Alston, will appear before the UN Human Rights Council of the UN to present his recent report on the situation of Puerto Rico, in which he highlighted the lack of social protections in the Oversight Board´s public policy and he also affirmed that after PROMESA there should be no doubt about the colonial situation in Puerto Rico.

For Alston, who visited Puerto Rico last December, jurisprudence of the US Supreme Court. and PROMESA law are "a good reason" for the Decolonization Committee to reaffirm that the island "is no longer a self-government territory ".

"We must go from observing to acting," says Villanueva, pointing out that Puerto Rico "still suffers serious shortage due to Hurricane Maria" and that UN rapporteurs, such as Alston, can raise the international debate on the Puerto Rican political case.

As president of the Puerto Rico Human Rights Committee, Villanueva, who was president of the Lawyers Association, will also warn of the actions of the Puerto Rican government that he believes are aimed at criminalizing the protest. "This should not be allowed, the criminalization of protest is part of the colonial problem and it is time to put a stop," he adds in his speech.

Before the hearing, the Puerto Ricans United in Action (PUA, Spanish acronym) group sent a letter to President Donald Trump and the US ambassador before the UN, Nikki Haley, to encourage the US government to join the work of the Decolonization Committee.

Noting that the United States did "poor work"in responding to the emergency caused by Hurricane Maria, attorney Manuel Rivera, a spokesperson for PUA, said the federal government “has been unable to move the economy "of the island forward and that it is time for" Congress to transfer sovereignty to the people of Puerto Rico."

"I urge you, as president of the United States, to participate in the work of the Committee by encouraging the delegation of your country to present the official position of the US government regarding the case of Puerto Rico," Rivera said in a letter dated June 12.


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