UN to investigate rights of Native Americans

UN Special Rapporteur on Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya will visit the United States from April 23 to May 4 to launch the UN’s first ever investigation into the rights situation of Native Americans. Anaya will be looking into the rights of Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, and meeting with government officials throughout the nation. One main goal of his investigation is to determine how the Unites States’ endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in December 2010 has affected the rights of these groups, and what improvements may still be needed. Anaya will report his findings and make recommendations to US federal and state officials during his trip.

The US endorsed the Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010, after being one of four member states originally opposed to the treaty when it was adopted by the UN in 2007. The other countries opposed to it, Canada, New Zealand and Australia, have all also changed their views and have since endorsed the treaty. This non-binding treaty outlines the rights issues faced by the more than 370 million indigenous people throughout the world. The declaration was debated for more than two decades before it was passed.

From Jurist, April 22. Used with permission.

See our last posts on Native America and the world indigenous struggle.

  1. UN rapporteur on indigenous peoples says US must do more
    James Anaya, UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, completed a 12-day visit to the US May 4, where he met with representatives of Indian nations in Arizona, Alaska, Oregon, Washington State, South Dakota, and Oklahoma, as well as US government officials. In a statement on his fact-finding trip, he said the United States must do more to heal the wounds of indigenous peoples caused by more than a century of oppression, including restoring control over lands Native Americans hold to be sacred. (Reuters, May 5)