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Human Rights Council Hears Native American Testimonials

Indian Country Today, Posted: Mar 25, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- More than 100 people convened at the University of New Mexico Law School on March 16 to hear Native American testimonials of human rights abuses and systematic discrimination perpetrated by the U.S. government against their people, reports Indian Country Today. The meeting was part of a yearlong United Nations review of the U.S. human rights record, which is required every four years of the 47 nations who hold a seat on the UN Human Rights Council. The United States was voted out of the council during the George W. Bush administration, but regained its seat after the election of President Obama last year. Over the course of the day, Native tribes familiarized UN officials with a history of discriminatory government policies that have resulted in the decimation of native populations, illegal confiscation of lands, and cultural genocide. Native American activists hope that the hearing will increase pressure on the federal government to sign on to the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted in September 2007 by a vote of 144 to 4, with 11 abstentions. The United States was one of the four countries to vote against the declaration, along with Canada, Australia and New Zealand, all of which have colonial histories and large indigenous populations.

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