State Department Ignores UN Inquiry Re: Indigenous Prisoner Rights Violations

Mar 29th, 2014

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples recently published a letter of inquiry that he and the the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, wrote the U.S. State Department in June 2013, asking:

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What measures exist to ensure the protection of the religious freedoms of Native American prisoners in state and local prisons? Specifically, what legal, policy or programmatic actions, if any, have federal and state Government authorities taken to ensure that Native American prisoners are able to engage in religious ceremonies and traditional practices as well as have access to religious items in state and local prisons?

The letter was written in response to Huy’s April 19, 2013, letter of allegation to the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Despite the Special Rapporteurs’ request that the State Department respond to those allegations within 60 days and “provide any additional information it deems relevant to the situation,” a report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to the UN Human Rights Council indicates that the United States has yet to respond.

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