Can International Law Support Changes to Federal Indian Policy? Implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Conference
April 19, 2013 – 8:30 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University
Great Hall, Armstrong Hall, 1100 S. McAllister Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85287
Agenda and registration online at: http://conferences.asucollegeoflaw.com/drip/ Register early!
Sponsored by the Indian Legal Program and the Center for Law and Global Affairs at ASU
Keynote Speaker: S. James Anaya, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
USA: UN rights experts call on Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act
GENEVA (19 February 2013) – The United Nations Special Rapporteurs on violence against women, Rashida Manjoo, and on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, urged the United States Government to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Their call follows the recent approval by the US Senate of a bipartisan bill to reauthorize and strengthen VAWA.
“Since its enactment in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has played a crucial role in providing guidance to state and local level governments, and in facilitating their adequate responses to violence against women,” Ms. Manjoo said. “It has steadily expanded funding to address domestic violence and, with each reauthorization, it has included historically underserved groups.”
The new bill includes improvements with regard to the criminal justice system’s response to crimes including sexual assault and homicides resulting from domestic violence. It also foresees enhanced protections for Native American and Alaskan Native women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender victims, as well as immigrant victims and their children.
“Following my visit to the United States in 2011, I highlighted the positive legislative and policy measures undertaken by the US Government to fight violence against women, including the enactment and subsequent reauthorizations of the Violence Against Women Act, and the establishment of a dedicated office on violence against women at the highest level of the Executive,” the expert on violence against women said.
Likewise, Special Rapporteur Anaya expressed concern in his report following his visit to the United States in 2012 that numerous cases of violence against indigenous women are committed by non-indigenous individuals, many of whom are not subject to indigenous prosecutorial authority because of their non-indigenous status.
“Congress should act promptly to pass key reforms to the Violence Against Women Act that bolster indigenous tribes’ ability to prosecute cases involving violence against indigenous women,” emphasized the expert on the rights of indigenous peoples.
“We would like to reiterate the importance of reauthorizing VAWA in order to build upon its accomplishments and continue striving for more adequate responses from the authorities in providing protection to victims and ensuring accountability for perpetrators,” the UN Special Rapporteurs stressed.
ENDS Continue reading
James Anaya, a United Nations fact-finder, has learned that vibrant Indian cultures are often invisible in the United States mainstream and that problems of Indians today seem trivial to U.S. citizens who tend to believe Natives and Native issues exist only in the distant past.
Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/01/28/anaya-urges-presidential-support-apology-147285
On a personal note that illustrated the here-and-now of Native concerns, Anaya said he’d received a letter from a 15-year-old student attending high school near the Rosebud Sioux (Sicangu Lakota) Reservation in South Dakota.
“Life here is very hand-to-mouth,” the student wrote. “I’m going to be honest with you—sometimes I don’t eat. I’ve never told anyone this before, not even my mom, but I don’t eat sometimes because I feel bad about making my mom buy food that I know is expensive.
“And you know what? Life is hard enough for my mom, so I will probably never tell her.”
Anaya gave the Thomson Visitor Lecture as part of the 2012-2013 Speaker Series of the American Indian Law Program.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, urged the Government of Canada and Aboriginal leaders to undertake meaningful dialogue in light of First Nations protests and a month-long hunger strike by Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation.
“I am encouraged by reports that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has agreed to meet with First Nations Chiefs and leadership on 11 January 2013 to discuss issues related to Aboriginal and treaty rights as well as economic development,” Mr. Anaya said. “Both the Government of Canada and First Nations representatives must take full advantage of this opportunity to rebuild relationships in a true spirit of good faith and partnership.”
The announcement of the meeting followed weeks of protests carried out by Aboriginal leaders and activists within a movement referred to as ‘Idle no more.’ The movement has been punctuated by Chief Spence’s hunger strike that has been ongoing since 11 December 2012. “I would like to add my voice to the concern expressed by many over the health condition of Chief Spence, who I understand will be joining indigenous leaders at this week’s meeting,” the independent expert said.
The protests and hunger strike are carried in the context of complaints about aspects of the relationships between First Nations in Canada and the Government, including in the context of recent federal legislation and executive decisions affecting Aboriginal peoples.
“Dialogue between the Government and First Nations should proceed in accordance with the standards expressed in the UN Declaration* on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” the Special Rapporteur emphasized. Mr. Anaya recalled that the Government affirmed a “commitment to continue working in partnership with Aboriginal peoples and in accordance with a relationship based on good faith, partnership and mutual respect,” in its statement of support for the Declaration on 12 November 2010.
From Angela Riley:
Please Save the Date! Friday, January 22, 2010
The UCLA American Indian Studies Center
in conjunction with
The UCLA School of Law Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs
will present a one-day Symposium, tentatively titled:
Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in the International Human Rights Framework — A Comfortable Fit?
This Symposium will bring together internationally-renowned scholars whose work focuses on issues pertaining to indigenous peoples’ group rights, with a particular emphasis on potential conflicts that arise for collective, indigenous claims within the international human rights framework.
Professor S. James Anaya, Special Rapporteur to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and Professor of Law, Arizona Law School
Please be on the lookout for more information as the date approaches. We do hope you will join us!