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EMRIP Item 4: U.S. Statement on Indigenous Persons with Disabilities
July 12, 2016

Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP)
Ninth session, July 2016

A.I. 4: Indigenous Persons with Disabilities
U.S. Statement as delivered by Anna Naimark

Tuesday, July 12, 2016; morning session

Thank you.

The United States is pleased that EMRIP is considering the rights of indigenous persons with disabilities at its current session.  This is a topic of great importance to us.  While the United States has many policies and programs in place to help all persons with disabilities, some U.S. organizations focus on specific populations within that group.  We would like to highlight the work of the Native American Disabilities Law Center (NADLC), a private nonprofit organization in New Mexico that works on issues involving the rights of Native Americans with disabilities.  NADLC provides advocacy, referral information, and educational resources to those living anywhere in the Four Corners area of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico.  As a designated protection and advocacy system under the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, it provides legal advocacy and pursues other remedies to protect the rights of people with developmental disabilities.  Other statutes authorize the protection and advocacy system to use the same methods to advocate for people with other types of disabilities.

The Center receives funding from several federal agencies – including the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Social Security Administration, and the Department of Education – to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities.  These include those with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and traumatic brain injury.  Its individual cases focuses on preventing abuse and neglect and using remedies ranging from technical assistance in self-advocacy to litigation.  Efforts on institutional change include advocacy for special education services as well as accessible home and community-based services.

Thank you for your attention.