Indian Country Today article. A brief has been distributed by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy titled, "Addressing the Epidemic of Domestic Violence in Indian Country by Restoring Tribal Sovereignty."
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Safe Women, Strong Nations
Native women's advocates in the United States are praising lawmakers for passage of an inclusive, bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act that will afford protection to all women and victims of violence. The bipartisan bill, S. 47, passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, and now by the House, 286 to 138, includes critical provisions to restore and strengthen tribal authority to protect Native women from violence in Indian country. The hard-fought passage comes over 500 days after VAWA expired and the legislation stalled during the 112th Session of Congress.
Native women are murdered at 10 times the national rate; 1 out 3 Native women will be raped in her lifetime, and 3 out of 5 physically assaulted. Even worse, 88% of the perpetrators are non-Indian and cannot be prosecuted by tribal governments. Stand and take action now to restore safety and justice for Native women. Do Something!
The UN Commission on the Status of Women will hold it’s 60th annual session in New York City on March 14-24, 2016. Composed of 45 member countries, the Commission is the global policy-making body for promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. The Center, along with partners, submitted a joint written statement urging the Commission on the Status of Women to address the epidemic of violence against indigenous women in the United States, especially Alaska Native women in rural villages who have reported rates of domestic violence up to 10 times higher than in the rest of the United States and physical assault rates up to 12 times higher.
On Wednesday, December 2, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held an oversight hearing: “Tribal Law and Order Act – 5 Years Later: How have the justice systems in Indian Country improved?”
The epidemic of violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women highlights the United States’ failure not only under its own law, including the trust responsibility to Indian nations “to assist tribal governments in safeguarding the lives of Indian women,” but also under international human rights law.
The Center collaborates with Native women’s organizations and Indian nations to change and improve United States law that unjustly restricts Indian nations from adequately investigating, prosecuting, and punishing these crimes against all perpetrators. The Center supports efforts to strengthen Indian nations in restoring safety to Native women and children.
Restoring full tribal criminal authority will only end violence against Native women if Indian nations have the institutional capacity and readiness to exercise such jurisdiction.
The Indian Law Resource Center, in a joint statement with Americans for Indian Opportunity, the Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians, National Congress of American Indians, and the Native American Rights Fund, called on the UN to address the epidemic of violence against indigenous women by following up on the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples Outcome Document.
On July 15, 2015, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs heard testimony from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the University of Nevada, and the Boys and Girls Club of America during an oversight hearing, titled “Juvenile Justice in Indian Country: Challenges and Promising Strategies.”
Restoring Safety to Native Women and Girls and Strenghtening Native Nations: A Report on Tribal Capacity for Enhanced Sentencing and Restored Criminal Jurisdiction
The Indian Law Resource Center, 2013
The Inter-American Human Rights System: Combating Violence Against Native Women in the United States: A resource on advocacy efforts for indigenous women’s organizations seeeking to bring human rights claims to the international arena
The Indian Law Resource Center, 2013
the Tribal Law and Policy Institute, 2007