First Native American US Ambassador Starts UN Job: Cal Alum Focused on Human Rights


By Michael Collier California Magazine

keithharperKeith Harper says he always wanted a career that helped his people—indigenous people.

Harper’s dream, which he cultivated while a student at UC Berkeley, was more fully realized this week when he became the first Native American of a federally recognized tribe to earn the post of U.S. Ambassador. This week, he begins his new job as the U.S. representative on the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, which is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

As a young man, Harper attended UC Berkeley, where he graduated in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology. He would later return to Cal to address a group of Native American students, says Bridget Neconie, Native American Outreach Adviser in the undergraduate admissions office.

Having completed law school at New York University in 1994, Harper became an attorney and began to make his dream come true. A member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, he helped represent a half-million Native Americans who claimed in a class-action lawsuit in 1996 that the federal government, which had held their families’ land in trust for a century or more, had failed in its fiduciary duties.

More than a decade later, he was part of a legal team that helped secure a $3.4 billion settlement in the landmark case, which was approved by a federal judge in 2011.

The U.S. Senate, in a 52-42 vote last week divided along party lines, confirmed Harper for the post of U.S. ambassador, with support from California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

“Ambassador Harper is well-qualified for this position and he had strong backing, including from within Indian country,” Sen. Barbara Boxer said in a statement Wednesday. “I was proud to support his nomination as the first U.S. Ambassador from a federally recognized tribe.”

Tribal leaders across the nation also praised Harper for winning the post. “Ambassador Harper is an attorney who has dedicated his career to the injustices facing Native peoples,” leaders of the National Congress of American Indians said in a statement. “Issues surrounding Indigenous peoples have emerged prominently on the agenda of the United Nations, and Ambassador Harper will be a valuable resource to the Human Rights Council.”

Some Senate Republicans refused to back his confirmation because of his involvement in the class-action case and for being a major campaign fundraiser, known as a bundler, for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Harper brought in more than $500,000 for the campaign.

“Mr. Harper is just another example of a campaign bundler wholly ill-suited to serve in the diplomatic post for which he’s been nominated,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. McCain added that Harper and his legal team received excessive attorneys’ fees in the class-action case—also a point of contention among some tribal leaders. Harper’s firm and two solo practitioners earned nearly $86 million in attorneys’ fees, according to court documents cited by the Washington Post.

At a news conference in Geneva on Monday, Harper said he will represent oppressed people around the globe and will support the work of non-government organizations that promote human rights. “In our work here, we must never forget our duty to champion the rights of the most vulnerable and to speak for those who have no voice,” Harper told reporters. “Whether those champions are in the media or are those from civil society or human rights defenders, the United States will continue to stand with you.”

With backing from the United States, Harper said, the Human Rights Council, established in 2006, has put a spotlight on human rights issues in Syria, North Korea, Iran and the Central African Republic.

In a 2007 interview posted on the website of New York University’s law school, Harper talked about his mission to serve Native Americans. “ I decided to work in Indian Law,” he said, “because I strongly believe that the law can be utilized to achieve real benefit for our tribal communities through securing their common rights and protecting our lands and way of life.” He added that the landmark case,  Cobell v. Kempthorne, was “mostly about one woman, Elouise Cobell, saying enough is enough—a trustee needs to be accountable and is not the boss but a servant….” The settlement included $1.5 billion in payouts to the 500,000 members of the class action; a $1.9 billion program to consolidate land to help tribes benefit from agriculture, business and housing development; and a $60 million scholarship fund.

The most rewarding part of his career, he said, “is working with American Indian people. There is nothing better for me than to meet with Native clients and figure out ways to solve the problems they confront. Indian people are poised for greatness and I feel very fortunate to be able to be part of the machinery that will permit us to achieve that.”

Protecting traditional knowledge: Tulalip participates in U.N. conference on protection of indigenous identities

By Andrew Gobin, Tulalip News

The Tulalip Tribes continues to participate in United Nations discussions about protecting the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, including oral histories and language, cultural expression, and genetic resources. Ray Fryberg Sr. and Preston Hardison of the Tulalip tribes Natural Resources Department traveled to Geneva, Switzerland, for the 13th conference on traditional knowledge and biodiversity February 3rd-7th.  The meetings potentially will conclude with an international treaty protecting indigenous peoples’ rights to their knowledge and any gains therein. Although the international treaty would protect traditional knowledge on a global scale, the real fight is here at home in the United State who has remained one of the strongest opponents to intellectual property rights on a global scale.

“As Indian tribes across the U.S. enter the national and global markets, the need to protect their traditional knowledge has become more prevalent,” said Hardison. “Especially with casinos, the tribes have brands, logos, and now traditional art that is being put out there.”

This touches on one aspect of the intellectual property debate on traditional knowledge; cultural expression. The use of art to brand Tulalip as a business, as a destination, now is vulnerable to being taken and used in ways other than intended, without the permission of the artist or Tulalip.

“We don’t want to set the rules,” he added, “we want tribes to be recognized as having the right to determine how, where, and why their knowledge is shared. Each culture has its own rules dictating those things, it should be up to those people to determine.”

Tulalip has been involved in this discussion at the U.N. since 2001, represented at 12 of the 14 meetings on indigenous knowledge and biodiversity. What they are working towards is a treaty that protects indigenous people on a global scale, recognizing their inherent rights to resources and traditional knowledge, so that those things may not be exploited. Currently, the exploitation of traditional knowledge and resources jeopardizes the survival of indigenous cultures around the world, essentially stripping them of access to their identities.

Ray Fryberg was selected to co-chair the committee of indigenous leaders that spoke to the issue of intellectual property rights. According to reports from the U.N., he was selected for his vast traditional knowledge and passion for preserving all that is encompassed in traditional knowledge, including genetic and natural resources and cultural expression.

Although Tulalip is sovereign, they are not recognized by the U.N. as a sovereign state. They have no seat, no vote, but they do have a consulting voice. Tulalip has to bid for support from other sovereigns, facing opposition most from the U.S.

“For tribes, pressure for protection has to come from within the U.S., not outside. And Tulalip is just about the only one that is in position to do it,” explained Hardison.

Hardison, along with Terry Williams who also works for Tulalip Natural Resources, have continued to be instrumental in the progress for protecting traditional knowledge. They have been involved since 2001, working together at 11 conference meetings, and were key players in the passing of the Nagoya Protocol, which protects the exploitation of genetic resources. The U.S. is not a nation signatory to the Nagoya Protocol.

Current laws in the U.S. have no teeth. The Native American Arts and Crafts Act prevents non Indians from marketing things as Native American art, but it doesn’t prevent the use of traditional methods and materials for personal gains. The Native American Graves and Repatriation Act allows for remains and artifacts to come back to tribes if the tribes can prove relationship to or historic connection, putting the burden of proof on the tribes. Tulalip continues to fight on the international stage for these rights, strengthening their position to protect these rights at home in the United States.

Andrew Gobin is a reporter with the See-Yaht-Sub, a publication of the Tulalip Tribes Communications Department.
Phone: (360) 716.4188

NICWA And NCAI Applaud United Nations’ Anaya For Calling on U.S. To Protect Veronica’s Human Rights

U.N. Expert Says ‘All Necessary Measures Should Be Taken’
Source: National Congress of American Indians
Portland, Ore. and Washington, D.C.—The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA), the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), and Angel Smith, an independent attorney appointed by the District Court of the Cherokee Nation and “Next Friend in the filing,” are applauding  today’s action by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya calling for state, federal, and tribal authorities in the United States to take all necessary measures to ensure that the well-being and human rights of Veronica Brown, the four-year-old Cherokee child at the center of a highly contentious custody dispute, are protected.
Anaya’s office in a release today pointed out that the Indigenous rights are guaranteed by various international instruments subscribed to or endorsed by the United States, stating, “I urge the relevant authorities, as well as all parties involved in the custody dispute, to ensure the best interests of Veronica, fully taking into account her rights to maintain her cultural identity and to maintain relations with her indigenous family and people.”
NICWA, NCAI, and Smith, who had brought their concerns to the Special Rapporteur’s attention, hailed the announcement as corroboration of the concerns raised both in the federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Veronica in July and in ongoing legal matters in Oklahoma.
Among the possible human rights violations is the forced removal of Veronica from her Indian family and tribal nation without adequate protection or recognition of her right to culture. Such removal violates her right to culture, education, family, and tribal nation as guaranteed by Articles 7 and 8 of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The executive directors of two leading national organizations, NICWA’s Terry Cross and NCAI’s Jacqueline Pata, called for the national conversation about the case to focus on Veronica’s human and civil rights.
“These rights are being violated by the failure of the courts to provide Veronica, her tribal nation, and her extended family with opportunities to be heard regarding her best interests,” said Cross. “What the U.N.’s involvement indicates is that we must all agree to turn our focus back to Veronica. When we do, it becomes disturbingly clear that the courts have utterly failed to protect what is guaranteed to her by international law and established treaties, best adoption practices, and in my opinion, basic tenets of decency. Her rights have been violated, pure and simple.”
“We commend the Special Rapporteur for engaging on this issue—it’s a vital step for protecting all Indigenous children throughout the world. It’s important to note that these are violations of international laws recognized and ratified by the United States long ago, not external forces weighing in on domestic laws,” said Pata. “Veronica, and all similarly situated Indian children, families, and tribal nations, have deeply felt interests in maintaining their individual and collective rights to family, culture, and community. These basic human rights, along with the fundamental principles of self-determination, non-discrimination, due process, and equality, must be protected.”
Smith agreed, stating, “Of course the facts of these matters are heart aching. Even so, it is important and required that when considering Veronica’s rights and protections to acknowledge that, as an Indigenous child, she holds the rights of continued connection to her family, her culture and community. It has been tragic that, in the media firestorm following this case the last two years, so little attention has been paid to Veronica’s basic human rights. These are rights and protections due her—due to Veronica—and are independent of any other individual involved in these matters. Veronica’s rights and interests must be considered.”
Smith continued, “If she were any other child, in any other case, her present situation, needs, and rights would be considered and would have been part of the determination. Today, Veronica is a four-year-old little girl with her own view of her daily world and her own identity. She has her own words, and her own voice. It is time Veronica is heard because it is, after all, Veronica’s life.”
About The National Congress of American Indians
Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of tribal governments and communities, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights. For more information visit

Lakota to file UN Genocide Charges Against US, South Dakota

Jeff Armstrong in Native Challenges.
June 1, 2013 7:57 am est
Jeff Armstrong is a longtime journalist and activist in Fargo, North Dakota. This article originally appeared in Counterpunch.

NEW YORK – In April, a grassroots movement led by Lakota grandmothers toured the country to build support for a formal complaint of genocide against the United States government and its constituent states. Though temporarily overturned, the recent conviction of Efrain Rios Montt for genocide against indigenous Guatemalans should give US officials, particularly members of the Supreme Court, pause before dismissing the UN petition as a feeble symbolic gesture.

The tribal elders’ 12 city speaking tour culminated in an April 9 march on United Nations headquarters in New York and an April 18 press conference in Washington where the Supreme Court had just heard arguments in a challenge to the landmark 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act. Attracting support from Occupy Wall Street and other non-Native allies in the New York march, the Lakota Truth Tour delegation was physically blocked by UN security officers from presenting Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s office a notice of charges against the U.S. under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

lakota-march-on-the-unAn excerpt from the complaint, still being refined into its final, legal form, reads: “This letter serves notice as complaint, that the crime of genocide is being committed, in an ongoing manner, against the matriarchal Tetuwan Lakota Oyate of the Oceti Sakowin, an Indigenous First Nation people whose ancestral lands comprise a large area of the Northern Great Plains of Turtle Island, the continent known as North America.” As evidence, the Lakota cite systematic American usurpation of their land and sovereignty rights, imposition of third world living conditions on the majority of Lakota, US assimilation policies that threaten the future of their language, culture and identity, and environmental depredations including abandoned open uranium mines and the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline slated to invade the Pine Ridge Reservation. The Lakota grandmothers and their allies in the Lakota Solidarity Project have even produced a powerful, full-length documentary, Red Cry, available on DVD or online at »

But the UN complaint is just one facet of a multi-pronged legal, political and educational movement within the indigenous Lakota, Sioux, nation to stop the state removal of Native children from their families into white foster homes and institutions, arguably the most salient and best-documented evidence of ongoing US violation of the genocide convention. Article 2 of the convention defines acts of genocide as follows:

“…any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Historically, one could make a case for the applicability of most, if not all, of the above provisions to official US policies over more than two centuries. Certainly the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the Wounded Knee massacre, of which the perpetrators have yet to be stripped of their Medals of Honor, and Sand Creek slaughter perpetrated by the US military in the latter part of the 19th century, the General Allotment Act of the same time period, the Termination/Relocation policy of the 1950s, the FBI’s war on the American Indian Movement, and the cumulative legal decisions validating the above on explicit or implicit grounds of racial or cultural superiority, come to mind as constituting violations of contemporary international standards of crimes against humanity, if not genocide per se.

Indeed, the ink was scarcely dry on the Genocide Convention before the US deliberately set out to violate Article 2(e) by arbitrarily removing Native children from their families as part of a comprehensive strategy of abolishing reservation boundaries and absorbing indigenous peoples into the states that surround and besiege them. In 1950 President Truman appointed Dillon S. Meyer, fresh from his experience administering the Japanese internment camps with an iron fist, as Indian Commissioner to carry out the final solution to the Indian Problem, i.e., their stubborn refusal to fade into the mists of history, itself a genocidal concept, that has haunted this nation since its inception. It was the formal policy and procedure of the United States at the time to forcibly transfer indigenous children to white homes and boarding schools as a component of a strategy to “terminate” tribes as distinct peoples, meeting the essential threshold of intent under the Genocide Convention. It would have been embarrassing to say the least if the Soviet Union or its allies would have initiated legal genocide charges against the self-avowed fount of human liberty at the United Nations. So it was that the US celebrated its victory over genocidal Nazi imperialism by rebranding the practice in Indian Country as emancipatory individualism and refusing to ratify the 1948 convention until nearly 40 years later.

Ironically, it was the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 that enabled the US to ratify the Genocide Convention by manifesting its intention to stop the wholesale removal of Native children from their families and tribes. ICWA established minimal protections of due-process rights for indigenous parents and recognized the exclusive jurisdiction of existing tribal courts to adjudicate child welfare cases within reservation boundaries, also allowing tribes to intervene in state cases. Ratified by the US in 1986, the Genocide Convention was not implemented until 1989, and then only after denying universal jurisdiction and limiting prosecutions under the act to a five year statute of limitations for violations of the federal crime of genocide. As a measure of the government’s commitment to punishing the ultimate international crime, the federal offenses of arson, art theft, immigration violation and some crimes against financial institutions all carry a statute of limitations period longer than five years. Rios Montt himself would be immune from prosecution under the federal genocide act.

A remarkable 2011 National Public Radio series, Native Foster Care: Lost Children, Shattered Families, revealed that the federal government not only fails to enforce the baseline standards of ICWA against the states. but actually underwrites the removal of Native children in some cases with additional funds, adding an economic incentive to the racial and cultural ones.

Focusing on South Dakota, a yearlong investigation by NPR reporters Laura Sullivan and Amy Walters found that 90% of the 700 Native children taken from their homes yearly in that state were placed in white foster homes or group homes, in blatant violation of ICWA provisions mandating that any Indian child taken into foster care be placed with a family member, tribal member, or other Native family in the absence of “good cause” to the contrary.

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UN’s correspondent on indigenous peoples urges government to act to combat ‘racial discrimination’ felt by Native Americans

“You can see they’re in a somewhat precarious situation in terms of their basic existence and the stability of their communities given that precarious land tenure situation.”


James Anaya United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
James Anaya United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
As published in The First Perspective April 18, 2013
By Chris McGreal in Washington

A United Nations investigator probing discrimination against Native Americans has called on the US government to return some of the land stolen from Indian tribes as a step toward combatting continuing and systemic racial discrimination.

James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said no member of the US Congress would meet him as he investigated the part played by the government in the considerable difficulties faced by Indian tribes.

Anaya said that in nearly two weeks of visiting Indian reservations, indigenous communities in Alaska and Hawaii, and Native Americans now living in cities, he encountered people who suffered a history of dispossession of their lands and resources, the breakdown of their societies and “numerous instances of outright brutality, all grounded on racial discrimination”.

“It’s a racial discrimination that they feel is both systemic and also specific instances of ongoing discrimination that is felt at the individual level,” he said.

Anaya said racism extended from the broad relationship between federal or state governments and tribes down to local issues such as education.

“For example, with the treatment of children in schools both by their peers and by teachers as well as the educational system itself; the way native Americans and indigenous peoples are reflected in the school curriculum and teaching,” he said.

“And discrimination in the sense of the invisibility of Native Americans in the country overall that often is reflected in the popular media. The idea that is often projected through the mainstream media and among public figures that indigenous peoples are either gone or as a group are insignificant or that they’re out to get benefits in terms of handouts, or their communities and cultures are reduced to casinos, which are just flatly wrong.”

Close to a million people live on the US’s 310 Native American reservations. Some tribes have done well from a boom in casinos on reservations but most have not.

Anaya visited an Oglala Sioux reservation where the per capita income is around $7,000 a year, less than one-sixth of the national average, and life expectancy is about 50 years.

The two Sioux reservations in South Dakota – Rosebud and Pine Ridge – have some of the country’s poorest living conditions, including mass unemployment and the highest suicide rate in the western hemisphere with an epidemic of teenagers killing themselves.

“You can see they’re in a somewhat precarious situation in terms of their basic existence and the stability of their communities given that precarious land tenure situation. It’s not like they have large fisheries as a resource base to sustain them. In basic economic terms it’s a very difficult situation. You have upwards of 70% unemployment on the reservation and all kinds of social ills accompanying that. Very tough conditions,” he said.

Anaya said Rosebud is an example where returning land taken by the US government could improve a tribe’s fortunes as well as contribute to a “process of reconciliation”.

“At Rosebud, that’s a situation where indigenous people have seen over time encroachment on to their land and they’ve lost vast territories and there have been clear instances of broken treaty promises. It’s undisputed that the Black Hills was guaranteed them by treaty and that treaty was just outright violated by the United States in the 1900s. That has been recognised by the United States supreme court,” he said.

Anaya said he would reserve detailed recommendations on a plan for land restoration until he presents his final report to the UN human rights council in September.

“I’m talking about restoring to indigenous peoples what obviously they’re entitled to and they have a legitimate claim to in a way that is not devisive but restorative. That’s the idea behind reconciliation,” he said.

But any such proposal is likely to meet stiff resistance in Congress similar to that which has previously greeted calls for the US government to pay reparations for slavery to African-American communities.

Anaya said he had received “exemplary cooperation” from the Obama administration but he declined to speculate on why no members of Congress would meet him.

“I typically meet with members of the national legislature on my country visits and I don’t know the reason,” he said.

Last month, the US justice and interior departments announced a $1 billion settlement over nearly 56 million acres of Indian land held in trust by Washington but exploited by commercial interests for timber, farming, mining and other uses with little benefit to the tribes.

The attorney general, Eric Holder, said the settlement “fairly and honourably resolves historical grievances over the accounting and management of tribal trust funds, trust lands and other non-monetary trust resources that, for far too long, have been a source of conflict between Indian tribes and the United States.”

But Anaya said that was only a step in the right direction.

“These are important steps but we’re talking about mismanagement by the government of assets that were left to indigenous peoples,” he said. “This money for the insults on top of the injury. It’s not money for the initial problem itself, which is the taking of vast territories. This is very important and I think the administration should be commended for moving forward to settle these claims but there are these deeper issues that need to be addressed.”

Paris Judge orders hearing on auction sale of Hopi artifacts

A lawyer has convinced a Paris judge to hold a hearing Thursday to determine the legality of a sale of sacred Hopi Indian artifacts by the Néret-Minet auction house that is scheduled for Friday.


April 9, 2013, 5:36 pm in The New York Times

The lawyer from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, Pierre Servan-Schreiber, said he was acting in a pro bono capacity after having been contacted by Survival International, a global nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of native tribes.

Mr. Servan-Schreiber said he told the judge that the items should not be sold until it can be determined whether they were stolen from Hopi lands, as the Arizona-based tribe believes, or were the objects of sales that violated American and international law.

Efforts to look into the history of the 70 items, he said, would be rendered “virtually impossible” once they were scattered among multiple buyers. He said a delay would “preserve evidence.”

Mr. Servan-Schreiber also argued that the sale is illegal under an old prohibition in French law that bars the sale of “non-commercial” things that are seen as “immoral to sell.” The Hopis say the artifacts, ceremonial masks and headdresses known as Katsinam, or “friends,” embody divine spirits and are purely religious. They say selling them is a sacrilege.

A spokeswoman for the auction house said it was aware of the ruling but she would not comment further. Gilles Néret-Minet, the director of the house, has said repeatedly that he will not delay the $1 million sale. He has said the collector who put the items up for sale obtained them all legally.

The United States Embassy in Paris has also asked the auctioneers to delay the sale “given the ancestry of these masks and the distance between Paris and the Hopi reservation.”

United Nations speaks out about Chief Theresa Spence to Canada

Canadian authorities must start meaningful dialogue with aboriginal leaders – UN expert

Source: United News Centre

 8 January 2013 – A United Nations independent expert today urged the Canadian Government to establish a meaningful dialogue with the country’s aboriginal leaders in light of recent protests.

“I am encouraged by reports that Prime Minister Steven Harper has agreed to meet with First Nations Chiefs and leadership on 11 January 2013 to discuss issues related to aboriginal and treaty rights as well as economic development,” said the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya.

He continued, “Both the Government of Canada and First Nations representatives must take full advantage of this opportunity to rebuild relationships in a true spirit of good faith and partnership.”

For weeks, aboriginal leaders and activists carried out protests referred to as ‘Idle no more,’ according to a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). It noted that the movement has been punctuated by the hunger strike of Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation, which began on 11 December.

“I would like to add my voice to the concern expressed by many over the health condition of Chief Spence, who I understand will be joining indigenous leaders at this week’s meeting,” the Mr. Anaya said.

The independent expert stressed that the dialogue between the Government and First Nations should proceed in accordance with standards expressed in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Declaration states that indigenous peoples have the right to maintain their distinct identities and cultures as a basis of their development and place in the world, to pursue their own destinies under conditions of equality, and to have secure rights over lands and resources, with due regard for their traditional patterns of use and occupancy.

In particular, Mr. Anaya highlighted one of the preambles in the Declaration which affirms that treaties, agreements and other arrangements are the basis for a strengthened partnership between indigenous peoples and States.

The Government affirmed a “commitment to continue working in partnership with Aboriginal peoples and in accordance with a relationship based on good faith, partnership and mutual respect,” when it released a statement supporting the Declaration on 12 November 2010, said Mr. Anaya, who has asked the Canadian authorities to provide relevant information on this matter, in accordance with the terms of his mandate from the UN Human Rights Council.

“I will continue to monitor developments as I hold out hope that the 11 January meeting will prompt meaningful and restorative action by the Government and First Nations leadership,” Mr. Anaya added.

Independent experts, or special rapporteurs such as Mr. Anaya, are appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.