HRC 27, Agenda Item 3, Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous People and the EMRIP Chair
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council
Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 10:00 am
Thank you, Mr. Vice-President.
We commend EMRIP’s access to justice study for its emphasis on seeking justice for indigenous women, youth, children, and persons with disabilities – all of whom suffer disproportionately high rates of violence worldwide.
A joint statement that the United States issued on behalf of 35 countries at the June 2014 HRC session highlighted the critical topic of violence against indigenous women and girls and underscored the depth of our concern about this terrible problem.
Domestically, our 2010 Tribal Law and Order Act guides us in investigating and prosecuting crimes affecting indigenous communities.
The March 2013 Violence Against Women Act reauthorization enables Indian tribal courts to prosecute non-Native perpetrators of domestic violence against indigenous women on tribal lands.
And the Indian Health Services’ Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative supports community-based projects involving crisis interventions and victim advocacy and counseling.
On EMRIP’s study on addressing natural disasters, we agree that successful disaster risk reduction strategies can only be developed and implemented with indigenous peoples’ participation and input. In that regard, the United States has consulted with U.S. tribal leaders on developing and implementing disaster management measures.
We also agree that education and awareness strengthen indigenous peoples’ involvement in disaster risk reduction efforts. The U.S. government created an outreach campaign called “Ready Indian Country” that provides information on preparing tribal communities for natural disasters.
We thank Special Rapporteur Vicki Tauli-Corpus for her first report to the Human Rights Council. Her intention to focus particularly on indigenous peoples’ economic, social, cultural, and environmental concerns complements the priorities of U.S. indigenous representatives.
During the annual White House Tribal Nations conferences, U.S. tribal leaders have stated that their main focus areas include sustainable economic and infrastructure development, health care, employment, education, protection of Native American lands and the environment, and respect for their cultures.
Indigenous representatives place emphasis on attaining the goals of the Declaration. In your estimation, what practical measures can member states take to realize the Declaration’s objectives?