Apr 16, 2019

Indigenous Peoples and the Inter-American System of Human Rights: Securing Pathways to Justice?

UNPO General Secretary, Ralph Bunche, is invited to speak tomorrow on 16 April 2019 at a discussion panel hosted by Georgetown University in Washigton, DC.

The development of international legal norms regarding Indigenous peoples represents a crucial expression of the global community’s acknowledgment of Indigenous peoples’ rights regarding lands, traditional practices and language, spiritual knowledge, natural resources, civic recognition and cultural preservation. However, Indigenous peoples still face major challenges to ensure the rights they possess in theory are realized in practice at numerous levels.

We ask the following questions: beyond the symbolic and moral recognition of their social, political and cultural rights, how and to what extent has the development of the Inter-American System of Human Rights effectively impacted the lives of Indigenous peoples? How have Indigenous peoples and organizations been battling to secure justice, security and recognition through the use of the Inter-American instruments and institutions? To what extent can current challenges to the effectiveness of Inter-American human rights norms be identified, dismantled and overcome by Indigenous peoples and organizations?

Through a conversation among speakers coming from Indigenous organizations and the Inter-American human rights institutions, this conference aims to identify current legal and political challenges to the implementation of Indigenous people’s rights in the Americas. In particular, we explore advocacy strategies and diverse forms of resilience that Indigenous peoples have developed within the Inter-American System of Human Rights.

Composition of the Panel :

- Mrs. Juanita Cabrera Lopez (Executive Director at the International Mayan League)

- Mr. Leonardo Crippa (Senior Attorney at the Indian Law Resource Center)

- Mr. Ralph J. Bunche (General Secretary of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization UNPO)

- Mrs. Rosa Celorio (Associate Dean for International and Comparative Legal Studies at George Washington University Law School and Former Senior Attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights)

- Mr. José Vicente Otero Chate (Indigenous activist from Cauca, Colombia and journalist - through video)

Event moderated by Marjorie Mandelstam Balzer (research professor in the School of Foreign Service, affiliate with Department of Anthropology, co-convener of the Indigenous Studies Working Group, and a Berkley Center faculty fellow).