United States Endorses International Declaration On Indigenous Rights
ACLU Says Support For Declaration Is Essential To Upholding U.S. Obligations Under International Law
NEW YORK - December 17 - In an important step toward upholding and promoting the United States' commitment to international human rights at home, President Obama announced Thursday that the U.S. will lend its support to the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). The decision is a reversal of the position taken by the Bush administration in 2007, when the U.S. voted against UNDRIP even as 145 nations supported it.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights at Home Campaign (HuRAH Campaign) have long called for unqualified endorsement of UNDRIP, which articulates the rights set forth for indigenous peoples in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The following can be attributed to Jamil Dakwar, Director of the ACLU Human Rights Program and steering committee member of the HuRAH Campaign:
"We commend the Obama administration for endorsing this important declaration and rectifying the Bush administration's rejection of an essential human rights document. Unqualified endorsement of this declaration is essential to protecting the rights of all indigenous peoples, especially Indian and Alaska Native nations in the United States. The administration should work in close partnership with indigenous peoples and tribal governments to address the serious human rights challenges that continue to face indigenous communities in this country."
The following can be attributed to Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:
"Guaranteeing basic human rights for our indigenous population should be considered a priority and we are happy to see that the Obama administration agrees. We will continue to work with Congress and the administration to ensure that it remains so. We are hopeful this endorsement will lead to a renewed effort to bolster human rights protections both here in the U.S. and abroad."
The following can be attributed to Professor Lisa Crooms, chair of the HuRAH Campaign:
"The Obama administration's endorsement of the Declaration is a welcome first step towards matching U.S. rhetoric on human rights with concrete actions. Effective promotion and implementation of the declaration will require the administration to work in full partnership with indigenous peoples and civil society to build a human rights infrastructure here at home."
The ACLU and the HuRAH Campaign also urged the Obama administration to issue an executive order to reconstitute the Inter-Agency Working Group on Human Rights, which is essential to promoting and implementing UNDRIP and other declarations and ratified treaties across the government.
The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is available online at: www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/
The HuRaH statement in support of the UNDRIP is available here: www.hurahcampaign.org/wp-
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Harper offers to meet with native leaders
OTTAWA—Prime Minister Stephen Harper has offered to sit down with Canada’s native leaders to discuss problems plaguing aboriginal communities across the country.
Harper’s Dec. 8 letter was made public at the end of a three-day Assembly of First Nations conference in Gatineau, Que., which put the spotlight on several issues, including the need for education, health care, housing and potable water.
In the letter to Shawn Atleo, national chief of the Assembly, Harper said he would be open to participating in a proposed Crown-First Nation gathering.
“Regarding First Nation education, we agree that this matter is an important priority for advancement,” the Prime Minister said.
The meeting would be first of its kind for Harper since coming to office in January 2006 and a milestone in the relationship between Canada’s natives and the Conservative government.
“I am pleased that the Prime Minister has responded to our call to work in respectful partnership to craft concrete plans for progress on our priorities,” Atleo told his fellow leaders as the special chiefs’ assembly wrapped up Thursday.
“The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is now a reality, and First Nations are taking action to transform our communities, governments and our relationship with Canada,” he said.
Atleo concluded that Canada’s aboriginal communities are “no longer looking in the rearview mirror at the Indian Act but focusing our gaze forward on our vision of a brighter future founded on the principles of our treaties, our rights and the UN Declaration.”
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Strong Heart Warrior Society:
We are releasing this announcement after disturbing events transpired last night at Canupa Gluha Mani’s (Duane Martin Sr) home within the Sharp’s community on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Duane’s house was raided by 9 tribal police officers who declared that someone had reported that Duane was having a “House Party.” Anyone who knows Duane Martin Sr. fully well knows that he is 22 years sober, and he was one of the main activists to attempt to have Whiteclay, Nebraska, shut down (where they sell thousands of cans of alcohol per day). The tribal police are very well aware of these facts because they arrested him three years ago for trying to block the flow of alcohol from Whiteclay. Tell people what you found when you went in his house, police - NOTHING!
The police claimed that someone tipped them off, which could only be from one of the several bootleggers and drug dealers on his street. The fact that these bootleggers are still allowed to sell alcohol and drugs there is the tribal police and government’s fault-- not Duane Martin Sr’s. The fact that tribal police would invade his home is absolutely unacceptable and preposterous. While Cora and I were with Duane for over two months this past summer, we personally watched people, drunk in the street, stagger in and out of houses and yell in the road. Where are the police when they are needed? Why do they attempt to intimidate Duane along with the bootleggers of this community? This is unacceptable and requires direct action on all of our parts.
Duane is calling for all Lakota people, Natives, and activist from everywhere to back him this coming Friday at Sharp’s Corner. Enough is enough, and if the tribal police will not do their job for the people and community, The Strong Heart Warrior Society will. Duane will hold a press conference at 10:00 AM, and then there will be a march through the community at 1:00 PM. Please help join in the fight to take back sovereign Lakota freedom and protection of their people! Duane Martin Sr. is a leader for the rights of the Lakota, and he needs participation this coming weekend. We will not sit ideally by while Lakota people die and the tribal government, police, and BIA do nothing but antagonize the people who fight for the protection of their people. Please post and spread the word.
Duane Martin Sr
The Strong Heart Warrior Society
(605) 517-1547 or (605) 454-5552
Other questions may be sent to me:
The Strong Heart Preservation Movement
League of Indian Nations of North America
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