2012–2013: Rights of Indigenous and Stateless Peoples | Year of Human Rights | Webster University

2012–2013: Rights of Indigenous and Stateless Peoples

Indigenous and Stateless PeoplesThe 2012-13 Year of International Human Rights (YIHR) focused on the rights of indigenous and stateless peoples. These groups often suffer from lack of political and social recognition, and their human rights are regularly threatened despite the existence of international legal protections. For instance, many indigenous groups struggle to maintain their cultural traditions and self-determination even after the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Approximately 12 million people are stateless – they are not citizens to any country – despite the human “right to a nationality” that is outlined in international law. In fact, statelessness has been described as a “forgotten human rights crisis” that leads to exploitation and additional rights violations. While some indigenous people are also stateless, these are two distinct groups that both face severe threats to their human rights and dignity. The 2012-13 YIHR was therefore committed to drawing attention toward these neglected issues and supporting the rights of indigenous and stateless persons.

Highlights of the 2012-13 YIHR included:

April-May, 2013: Nowhere People, The World's Stateless. Photo Exhibit by Greg Constantine. View Constantine’s work on stateless populations around the world at www.gregconstantine.com.

November 29, 2012: Indian Blood: Mixed Race Identity, Indigenous People, and HIV/AIDS. Andrew Jolivette, Ph.D. This event explored issues of inter-generational trauma, Native American cultural resilience, stress coping mechanisms, and identity politics within the context of public health disparities – ranging from mental health in urban environments to political activism, and the sacred role of two-spirit, same-gender loving indigenous populations throughout the United States.

October 29, 2012: Humanitarian Government as the Postcolonial and the Compassionate Side of Globalization. Michel Agier, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement et École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris.Co-sponsored by the Department of Languages and Cultures.

September 10, 2012: Monte Reel, author of the human rights common reading The Last of the Tribe: The Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the Amazon.

Tuesdays in September, 2012: Year of International Human Rights Film Festival, Indigenous Rights. Films included Thick Dark Fog (September 25), Rabbit Proof Fence (September 18), Smoke Signals (September 11), and Reel Injun (September 4).

The Conference

The 2013 annual human rights conference took place on April 18 and 19, 2013, and centered on the rights of indigenous peoples and stateless persons. The two-day conference offered different perspectives on the intersection between human rights protection and recognition, and brought together experts, scholars, and students to examine the human rights ramifications stemming from lack of full legal and social recognition. A dynamic program of lectures, expert panels, break-out sessions, and exhibitions allowed participants to critically consider the necessity of recognition for upholding international human rights and ensuring that human dignity is protected for all.

Explore our 2013 Conference Reflections for more on the people and ideas brought together by the conference.

Download the full conference schedule.

Conference multimedia

    Chief Caleen Sisk
    "The Human Rights Crisis
    for Unrecognized Tribes"



    Winona LaDuke
    "Indigenous Rights and the American
    Indian Movement"



     Maureen Lynch
    "Global Ramifications of Statelessness"


    Roundtable Discussion








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