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U.S. General Comment: Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples
October 10, 2012

September 28, 2012

The United States is pleased to co-sponsor the Resolution on Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous peoples around the world face grave challenges, and the United States is committed to addressing these challenges both at home and abroad. During Special Rapporteur Anaya’s April-May 2012 visit to the United States, we discussed the wide range of U.S. programs, policies, and legislation devoted to improving the lives of indigenous peoples.

The resolution welcomes the fifth anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and encourages states that have not done so to respond to EMRIP’s survey on best practices regarding possible appropriate measures and implementation strategies in order to attain the goals of the UN DRIP. The United States has responded to this survey, and looks forward to EMRIP’s final summary of responses.

The United States also echoes the resolution’s commendation of the efforts of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In order to further improve the situation of indigenous peoples, the United States believes that we must focus on the promotion and protection of both the human rights of indigenous individuals and the collective rights of indigenous peoples and is pleased the resolution covers both of these topics in various ways. For example, operative paragraph 12 highlights the role of treaty bodies in promoting human rights. In this regard, we commend the resolution for highlighting the importance of protecting the human rights of indigenous women and children, and indigenous persons with disabilities.