Issue 2 2009

Center to discuss Principles of International Law for Multi-lateral Development Banks at UN Permanent Forum session

Attorney Leonardo Crippa will discuss MDB obligations during a Permanent Forum side event on May 26th.
OAS Photo

NEW YORK, New York - More than 2,000 indigenous leaders and representatives are expected to attend the eighth session of United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which convened on Monday, May 18 and runs through May 29. In addition to discussing the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Forum will discuss the relationship between indigenous peoples and industrial corporations, and the need to promote corporate social responsibility. Center staff will be leading a workshop and discussion of our paper, Principles of International Law for Multi-lateral Development Banks on May 26th, 2009. (More...)

For more information on the Permanent Forum session and details of the side events, please visit the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues website.

American States recommit to Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

With help from indigenous activists and supporters, the Center achieved a small but very significant victory at last month's Summit of the Americas. World leaders responded to the Center's call for a renewed commitment to the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and reaffirmed their commitment to respect indigenous peoples' rights and promote the successful conclusion of the negotiations of the American Declaration. (More...)

Seeking justice, Latin indigenous leaders come to testify

Article by Rick Kearns, Indian Country Today

WASHINGTON, DC - Indigenous leaders from four Latin American countries came to Washington D.C. last month to assert that their respective governments are criminalizing their right to protest, preventing them from seeking justice. (More...)


Raul Ilaquiche of ECUARUNARI, a confederation of the Quechua peoples in Ecuador. Photo by Shayda Naficy.

Chain of extermination devastates Awa peoples in Colombia

Two more Awa leaders were killed this month by an unknown armed group. On May 10, Ademelio Servio Bisbicus and Marco Antonio Taicuz were shot to death in their homes. Bisbicus' wife, Bertha Taicuz was wounded by the gunfire.

The attack came 6 weeks after the bodies of eight Awa Indians believed to have been murdered by FARC rebels in February were recovered in the indigenous territory of Tortugaña Telembí, Colombia. Two of the discovered bodies were pregnant women, both about 8 months pregnant when they were killed. (More...)


Mining and agri-business, including the cultivation of coca, have made the mountainous region that is home to the Awa, highly strategic in terms of military control. Photo courtesy of ONIC

Australia backs UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; pressure builds for the United States, Canada and New Zealand to follow

In early April, the Australian government officially endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. By reversing its 2007 policy against the UN Declaration, Australia became the 144th country to adopt it. Now only three governments -- the United States, Canada, and New Zealand -- remain opposed to the UN Declaration, and many activists are encouraging these governments to join the rest of the world in its support of the rights of indigenous peoples. (More...)

Wilma Mankiller and other Indian leaders are urging President Obama to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Legislative efforts to end violence against Native Women

HELENA, Montana - The Montana State Legislature passed a resolution aimed at protecting Montana's 27,529 American Indian and Alaska Native women living both on and off reservations. The resolution, introduced by Senator Carol Juneau (D-Browning), takes aim at the staggering national statistics confirming that Native women are far more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than any other segment of the population. (More...)

US CONGRESS CONSIDER TRIBAL LAW and ORDER BILL - Members of the United States Senate have also responded to the horrific rates of violence against Native women by including special provisions on domestic and sexual violence in proposed legislation. (More...)

Montana Senator Carol Juneau

Indians still await formal apology

Article by Gwen Florio
May 10, 2009

Twenty-one years ago, Congress apologized to Japanese Americans for interning them during World War II.

Sixteen years ago, Congress apologized for the "grave injustice" of overthrowing the Kingdom of Hawaii a century earlier.

Last year, the House - though not the Senate - apologized for "the fundamental injustice, cruelty, brutality and inhumanity of slavery and Jim Crow" segregation.

Ten days ago, Congress began - again - considering a resolution apologizing to Indian people for the injustices perpetrated upon them in the two centuries since a fledgling United States adopted a policy that stated, "The utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indian." (Read the full article)


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