International Update | Vol. 15 | Issue 1

By Jana L. Walker and Christopher Foley Attorneys, Indian Law Resource Center

United Nations decides to continue consideration of how to enhance indigenous participation

On September 8, 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution titled “enhancing the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in meetings of relevant United Nations bodies on issues affecting them” (A/ RES/71/321). The resolution is a result of commitments made at the 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, where member states decided to consider ways to enable indigenous participation at the UN.

Although the resolution is an important development, it is something of a disappointment. After many rounds of consultations among indigenous peoples and member states, and months of states-only negotiations, states failed to reach agreement on the technical details of how to create a new status for indigenous governments. Instead, the resolution decides to delay substantive action until the General Assembly’s 75th session (2020–2021). In the interim, a calendar of regional consultations and interactive hearings among UN representatives, indigenous peoples, and member states has been proposed for the next several years. The first of these interactive hearings is expected to take place on the sidelines of the 17th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues that is scheduled for April 16–27, 2018.

For more information, see….

New Report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights focuses on the Human Rights of Indigenous Women in the Americas

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has published an important new report, Indigenous Women and Their Human Rights in the Americas, based on information from indigenous women and leaders. The report, which shines a spotlight on the human rights of indigenous women in the Americas, discusses the forms of discrimination faced by indigenous women and how discrimination increases their exposure to violence and limits their access to justice and to their economic, social, and cultural rights. Among other things, the Commission’s report includes guiding principles and recommendations to help states in preventing and responding to these ongoing human rights violations affecting indigenous women. Read the full Report on Indigenous Women and Their Human Rights in the Americas:

Looking Ahead
UN Commission on the Status of Women

During its 62nd session, the Commission’s priority theme will be “challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls,” and the review theme will include “participation in and access of women to the media, and information and communications technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women.” The session will be held at UN headquarters in New York City on March 13–24, 2018. The Indian Law Resource Center, National Congress of American Indians, and National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center will host a CSW 2018 parallel event
on March 19. The event will screen scenes from the feature film Wind River followed by an expert panel discussion about violence against indigenous women in rural America on the sidelines of the Commission’s session.

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

The Permanent Forum, an advisory body to the UN Economic and Social Council will hold its 17th session at UN headquarters in New York City on April 24–May 5, 2018. The Permanent Forum’s theme will be “Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories, and resources.” The Permanent Forum also will address follow-up to the outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, including but not limited to enhancing participation of indigenous peoples at the United Nations.

UN Human Rights Council

The Human Rights Council works to enhance the promotion and protection of human rights and to investigate human rights violations. During its 38th session in Geneva on June 18–July 6, 2018, the Council is expected to hold a day-long discussion on women’s rights.