Tuesday, September 28, 2010

General Debate on the UPR process, September 23th 2010. Intervention by Andrea Carmen, International Indian Treaty Council

United Nations Human Rights Council 15th Session
September 13th – October 1st, 2010, Palais de Nations, Geneva
Intervention by Andrea Carmen, International Indian Treaty Council

Agenda Item 6: General Debate on the UPR process, September 23th 2010

Thank you Mr. President. The International Indian Treaty Council expresses its support for the letter presented yesterday, September 22nd, 2010 to the government of Canada by 9 Indigenous Peoples’ and human rights organizations, urging Canada to implement transparent and participatory structures and processes for effective follow-up and implementation of UPR as well as Treaty Body recommendations.

The letter states that “Canada accepted a number of important recommendations made during its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN Human Rights Council in February, 2009 to develop a more “effective, transparent and accountable” mechanism for follow up and reporting on treaty body review. These NGO’s propose “that a process for reform be immediately instituted, involving civil society, Indigenous peoples and representatives of all levels of government.”

We appreciate the steps the United States has taken this year to involve Indigenous Peoples and civil society in the preparation of its UPR report for the November 2010 review session. However, we reiterate the concerns by many of those participating in this process regarding follow up and implementation of the outcomes. Monitoring and follow up is essential to the credibility and effectiveness of the UPR process in all States including the US, and to ensure this process makes a real difference to communities “on the ground”.

We are particularly concerned that the United States currently has no structures or mechanisms specifically equipped and mandated to work with federal, state and local government agencies, Indigenous Peoples and Tribal governments, civil society organizations and communities to monitor and ensure the implementation of its international human rights commitments and obligations. These include the US’ commitments that will be made to this Council through the UPR process as well as obligations under the UN Treaties and Nation-to-Nation Treaties with Indigenous Peoples which the US has ratified.

In closing Mr. President, we join with the over 300 members of the US Human Rights Network and the Human Rights at Home Campaign to call upon the United States to put effective structures in place to monitor and coordinate implementation with the full participation of all levels of government, Indigenous Peoples and civil society. Our recommendations include a reinvigorated Interagency Working Group on Human Rights within the Federal Government and a National Commission with a human rights mandate.

We urge the US government to take immediate steps to put such mechanisms in place in advance of its UPR review in November, and offer them any assistance we are able to in this regard.

Thank you.

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