In the fall, we reported that four Rapa Nui leaders were arrested for trying to manage their sacred sites and preventing an illegal search of Rapa Nui Parliament offices. Those who were arrested have been released from custody, but the two Rirorokos are still dealing with travel restrictions that prevent them from leaving the island without Chile’s approval. In addition, Chile has launched investigations against three more people, although no arrests have been made yet.
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.
During President Barack Obama’s administration, we have seen two major developments in the advancement of indigenous rights. The first came in December, 2010, when the President announced the U.S. endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The second came in September, 2014, when the UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples resulted in an outcome document in which the UN and member states made major commitments to implement the Declaration.
The Organization of American States (OAS) is a regional intergovernmental human rights organization of 35 member countries of the Americas including the United States. Since 1989, the OAS has worked to develop and negotiate with indigenous peoples a draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Work on the text of the Declaration is likely to be completed in early 2016.
In Other News:
Did you know there are approximately 400 million indigenous people worldwide? Or that those indigenous peoples hold 20% of the earth’s land mass, and that land mass harbors 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity? There is a lot of cultural diversity and natural resources that need protecting. Thanks to your support, we are doing our part through creating awareness of indigenous rights and improving global policies for banks when working with these communities. Please consider a donation to help indigenous peoples continue to protect their environments and cultural heritage.