UN Special Rapporteur on Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya will visit the United States from April 23 to May 4 to launch the UN's first ever investigation into the rights situation [press release] of Native Americans. Anaya will be looking into the rights of Native Americans, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians, and meeting with government officials throughout the nation. One main goal of his investigation is to determine how the US's endorsement [press release, PDF] of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [text, PDF] in December 2010 has affected the rights of these groups of people, and whether improvements may still be needed. Anaya will report his findings and make recommendations to US federal and state government officials during his trip.
The US endorsed [JURIST report] the Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010, after being one of four member states originally opposed to the treaty when it was adopted by the UN [JURIST report] in 2007. The other countries opposed to it, Canada, New Zealand and Australia [JURIST reports], have all also changed their views and have since endorsed the treaty. This non-binding treaty outlines the human rights issues faced by the more than 370 million indigenous people throughout the world and encourages nations not to discriminate against them. The declaration was debated for more than two decades before it was passed.