Human Rights

For too long, indigenous peoples around the world have been marginalized and subject to unjust and discriminatory legal systems of states. Large disparities in economic and political power make indigenous peoples especially vulnerable to wrong-doing. For more than 30 years, we have worked to build a legal framework to help indigenous peoples win recognition of their human rights, including: right to exist as distinct peoples and cultures; right to be free from discrimination and forced assimilation; and right of self-determination and other essential rights.

We invite you to review the Center’s Human Rights work and get involved:

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: 10 year Anniversary

It is hard to believe that on September 13, 2017, a decade will have passed since the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Over the last ten years, we have continued our work to ensure the promises in the Declaration are realized and, in spite of some challenges, we have seen some good progress in laws, policies, and practices locally and internationally.

About the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will help protect our self-determination rights, our rights to our territories and natural resources, our right to sustainable development and to the healthy environment on which indigenous peoples physical and cultural survival depends. It will also help to ensure respect for the practices, traditions, laws, and cultural values of indigenous people.

Mayan leadership learns how to hold development banks accountable for human rights violations

Multilateral development banks play a key role in financing large-scale development projects, such as dams and forestry initiatives, that have often had devastating impacts on indigenous people and their communities. The Center led a workshop on the United Nations System and multilateral development banks for the traditional and ancestral authorities of the Mayan Nation.

Support the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) announced May 27, 2016, that due to a financial crisis it would be severely limited in its ability to fulfill its mandate by the Organization of American States (OAS) to promote respect for human rights in the region. We ask you to join us in creating awareness about the value of the IACHR and call for steps necessary to fund the Commission. #savetheIACHR #SalvemosLaCIDH

Update: Five Year Anniversary of the US Endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Dec. 16, 2015 marks the fifth anniversary of the U.S. announcement of its support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Since 2010, tribal leaders have been working vigorously to implement the UN Declaration at all levels which includes law and policy reform, changes in administrative practices, and long-term efforts to correct conditions that impede tribal development or that undermine tribes’ right to self-determination, cultural rights, and resource rights.

Indigenous Caucus withdraws from negotiations on the American Declaration

May 15, 2015, the Indigenous Caucus of Indigenous Peoples of the Americas withdrew from the 18th session of the negotiations on the draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Negotiations hit a stalemate when a few OAS states introduced text for the American Declaration that would have reduced rights already recognized in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Human Rights

For too long, indigenous peoples around the world have been marginalized and subject to unjust and discriminatory legal systems of states. Large disparities in economic and political power make indigenous peoples especially vulnerable to wrong-doing. Changing and reforming the legal framework for indigenous peoples has always been at the core of the Center’s work.

Program:

Human Rights Training

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.

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