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The federal government’s obligation in protecting human rights was the focus of a listening session on March 16 at the UNM School of Law. Representatives from the U.S. Department of State heard comments from American Indian tribal governments and community members on the United States’ human rights record within the American Indian community.
Specifically, the day-long meeting focused on the Universal Periodic Review, a process that reviews the human rights records of all 192 member states of the United Nations every four years. The United States is one of the states under review in 2010.
Discussions centered around the right to self determination, nation-to-nation relationships and treaties, the right to land, territories, sacred sites and resources, both surface and subsurface, along with health, justice food security and a variety of other issues.
The Department of State will continue to accept comments until April 30, after which they will be compiled into a national report, which will be submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council.
For more information, contact Helen B. Padilla, director of the American Indian Law Center, at 505-277-5462.
A second listening session took place on March 17 at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, AZ.