July 10, 2017 | Geneva, Switzerland
Center staff attorney, Christopher Foley, addressed the 10th session of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to urge the body to act boldly to protect indigenous rights. For years, indigenous peoples have demanded an implementing body for the Declaration with authority to gather information and to disseminate reports about implementation and violations of indigenous rights. In 2016, the Expert Mechanism was newly empowered to take on this urgent work.
"It is urgent for this body to respond strongly to the violence and other human rights violations inflicted on indigenous peoples, particularly indigenous women," said Foley.
The Expert Mechanism is a subsidiary body of the Human Rights Council. It provides the Council with expertise and advice on the rights of indigenous peoples. Indigenous peoples can communicate directly with the Expert Mechanism regarding situations they face, and the Expert Mechanism can now report to the Council as often as it desires regarding violations of indigenous rights and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The Center's statement identifies a number of tools within the new mandate of the Expert Mechanism that can significantly improve the protection of indigenous rights. Importantly, the Expert Mechanism now has the authority to be proactive, to ask questions and obtain answers, to evaluate information and to share its findings with states, the United Nations, and national human rights institutions, NGOs and the public.
Download the Center's full statement - Agenda Item 6: Ten years of implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: good practices and lessons learned | July 13, 2017