Using International Law to Respond to the MMIW Crisis

The MMIW crisis in America is not just the result of failures of our criminal justice system, it is a result of systemic violations of indigenous women’s human rights. The presentation will review the international legal framework applicable to MMIW and other forms of gender-based violence committed against indigenous women. We will look closely at the two key human rights instruments that are specific to indigenous peoples—the UN and American Declarations on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Both Declarations create legal standards and obligations that countries must observe in their dealings with indigenous peoples. The rights affirmed in these Declarations include the right of self-determination, rights to lands and resources, and the right of indigenous women and children to be protected against violence. Finally, the session will share information about the work Native women, tribes, and organizations have done using the international human rights system to advance indigenous women’s rights and offer information about how you can get involved in these efforts.