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United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
by Robert T. Coulter - The Declaration contains more than 15 articles spelling out and protecting many aspects of tribal self-government and jurisdiction. Tribes are studying these detailed provisions, making strategies, and deciding what elements of the Declaration to implement first. The Declaration is a very useful guide for what changes are necessary, but it will take a strong, national campaign by tribes to get serious, concrete changes made.
December 16, 2010
Today, the United States government at last officially endorsed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and joined the international community in recognizing that American Indians and other indigenous peoples have a permanent right to exist as peoples, nations, cultures, and societies.
Executive Director, Robert T. Coulter, addressed the 30th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva today recommending the swift establishment of an implementing and monitoring body for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The statement makes a number of recommendations about this body, including specific proposals regarding its mandate, structure, and composition.
One of the largest tribes in the United States recently asked me how to get involved at the United Nations. Like many tribes, they are interested in taking their place in the World community and working to protect indigenous rights in this country and globally. Their question was: How do we get started?
Here are some concrete steps:
Pass a resolution within your tribal council to support your Nation’s involvement at the United Nations.
September 2013 | Highlights from the Center's participation in the 24th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland (MORE...)
Indian Law Resource Center delivers statement at UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. CLICK HERE FOR MORE...
President Barack Obama announced the United States’ support for the UN Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples in 2010. Native nations now have the opportunity to use the Declaration as the basis for defining a new era of federal Indian policy. The Center is holding briefing sessions to give Native leaders and advocates an overview of the Declaration and to provide practical case studies on how it applies to Native nations today.
by Karla E. General* - The Declaration recognizes and affirms the rights of indigenous peoples to their cultural, religious, and spiritual practices, to have private access to sacred sites, as well as to maintain and strengthen their spiritual relationship with their traditionally held lands, territories, waters and coastal seas and other resources.
by Jana Walker - Despite some strides in addressing violence against Native women, there is no doubt United States law falls far short of even the minimum human rights standards set forth in the UN Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples. Considering the United States’ trust responsibility to Indian nations, coupled with the standards in the Declaration, it is imperative that the U.S. act now to end the epidemic of violence against Native women.
The United States endorsement of the Declaration, on December 16 of last year, was cause for celebration. With his announcement of support for the Declaration, President Obama emphasized that the endorsement wouldn’t be an empty gesture, but that the administration will take actions in line with the Declaration.
Observations from the October 14-15 consultations on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Tribal leaders meet with U.S. officials in third consultation
On Thursday, October 14, representatives from approximately twenty tribes held a consultation with officials from the White House, State Department, Department of the Interior, and other federal agencies to discuss the United States' review of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
For more than 30 years, the Center has been a global force -- challenging and building legal frameworks-- to enhance the lives of indigenous peoples.
The Center provides training and legal information in order to expand the number of Indian leaders and community members who participate in international human rights procedures. We help indigenous leaders to promote and defend their human rights, to use human rights law to change domestic law and to use their political power to change the United States’ policies concerning international human rights law. We also encouraged Indian leaders to participate in the United Nations and the Organization of American States human rights processes to defend their lands and other rights.