Panel Discussion on Ten Years of Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Annual Panel Discussion on Ten Years of Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Statement by the United States of America as delivered by Katherine Gorove

Human Rights Council 36th Session
Geneva, September 20, 2017

Thank you Mr. President.

The United States thanks the panelists for this interesting panel.  The U.S. is pleased that this panel has recognized that the UN human rights treaty bodies, special procedures, and Universal Periodic Review process have devoted substantial efforts to examining the situation of indigenous peoples worldwide, including with regard to the Declaration’s aspirations.  Discussion this morning has also recognized the human rights defenders working to advance the Declaration’s objectives, sometimes at the cost of their lives.  And discussion has also highlighted the importance of the General Assembly’s consultation process on enhanced participation for indigenous peoples at the UN.  The United States thanks the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) for its report on ten years of implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which also highlighted all of these important issues.  The United States places great importance on the General Assembly’s consultation process on enhanced participation for indigenous peoples, as it is essential for indigenous peoples’ voices to be effectively heard in UN sessions.  We hope for the consensus adoption of the General Assembly’s resolution on enhanced participation this fall, to provide for continued consideration of this important topic.

U.S. government agencies consult regularly with U.S. tribes about proposed actions affecting tribal interests.  They look to the Declaration as they aim to improve conditions for federally recognized tribes and, as appropriate, other indigenous communities.  The United States strives to tangibly improve the lives of indigenous peoples.  The 2016 White House Tribal Nations Conference Report, entitled “A Renewed Era of Federal-Tribal Relations,” describes the many tribal-related policies and programs in the United States.  In addition, the U.S. Agency for International Development is strengthening the way that it designs projects and activities to address indigenous peoples’ issues and ensure that their rights are respected.

Thank you for your attention.