Clustered Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples and the EMRIP

Human Rights Council 30th Session
Agenda Item 4: Clustered ID with Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP)

As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper,
U.S. Permanent Representative to the Human Rights Council

Geneva,
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

We thank Special Rapporteur Tauli-Corpuz for her report on the challenges indigenous women face, including disproportionate rates of violence.  During the June HRC session, the United States hosted a side event on violence against indigenous women and girls.  The panel discussion was part of the U.S. initiative, “The Future She Deserves,” aimed at leveraging Geneva-based institutions and multilateral meetings to empower women and girls.  Members of OHCHR’s Indigenous Peoples and Minorities Section provided UN and civil society perspectives on the gender-based violence toward indigenous women.  And Jodi Gillette, former Special Assistant for Native American Affairs to President Obama, spoke about two major achievements in combating to violence against Native American women in the United States:  first the 2010 Tribal Law and Order Act and second, the March 2013 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act which provided, among other things, a mean for indigenous governments to prosecute indigenous and non-indigenous suspects of qualifying violent crimes.  In addition, the United States and the Africa Group presented a side event on preventing and eliminating violence against women.  We look forward to future opportunities for collaboration with our African partners.

Our question is:  Indigenous survivors of violence often do not have access to the services they need, including health services, safe shelters, and legal means of redress.  Recognizing that this will take long-term efforts to rectify, what are some of the first steps that member states can take to address survivors’ needs?

Concerning EMRIP, this session’s resolution on EMRIP reform is an important first step to begin the process.  The United States supports having an existing UN body partner with countries on a voluntary basis to assist them in working toward the goals of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  We favor revising EMRIP’s mandate and composition for this purpose.  EMRIP’s functions should be revisited to reduce the duplication and meeting costs associated with the PFII and EMRIP programs of work.

Going forward, there should be a resolution defining the modalities of consultations on revitalizing EMRIP.  Our preliminary thoughts are that this text would identify when consultations would begin and conclude; who would chair them; and the process to allow for indigenous peoples’ participation, among other topics. The United States stands ready to work with member states and indigenous peoples on such a resolution.

Our question is what any specific recommendations has the EMRIP membership heard from indigenous representatives on how the body should be restructured?