Monday, 7 May 2012

UN Special Rapporteur Anaya releases statement on US visit

On May 4, 2012, Special Rapporteur James Anaya issued a statement after his twelve day visit to the United States, to assess the conditions of the indigenous peoples there. His report indicates that he will make a full report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, “most likely at its plenary session in September”. His statement notes several things:
• Members of the US Congress did not make themselves available to meet with him. This is a glaring omission on their part, given the role that the federal government plays in the lives of indigenous peoples in the United States.
• That the wrongs of the past continue to reverberate into the present day, and the reluctance of the United States to acknowledge these wrongs and the harms they continue to cause is among the root causes of the condition of indigenous peoples today.
• That whilst the United States government has made strides in dealing with the indigenous peoples within its borders, that more needs to be done to advance and realise the rights within the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Among other things, Anaya calls for the US government to “work in consultation and real partnership with indigenous peoples.”

The content of his statement is worth reading on its own. This blog will continue to consider the importance of his preliminary statement and look in more depth at the issues he has raised in the run-up to the release of the full report.

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