U.S. Explanation of Position: Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Resolution

Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Resolution
Explanation of Position
Human Rights Council 30 – Geneva

October 1, 2015

The United States thanks Guatemala and Mexico for introducing this resolution.  The United States strongly supports efforts at the Human Rights Council and throughout the UN system to promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples.  In particular, we support this resolution’s call for a panel discussion on eliminating violence against indigenous women and girls at this Council’s session next September.  Addressing this serious problem is a priority for the United States and U.S tribal leaders, and one we believe this Council and other parts of the UN system should remain focused on.

We are joining consensus on this resolution despite its inclusion of the phrase “the right to health and indigenous peoples.”  We interpret the reference to that language in OP 5 of this resolution as referring to the equal right of indigenous individuals to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, enshrined in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  It relates to the Expert Mechanism’s informal reference to this right and we do not agree that this language can serve as a precedent for future negotiated documents, and we will maintain this position in other fora.  We look forward to the Expert Mechanism’s report on the subject.  Thank you.