Press Statement
Heather Nauert,  Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC, October 12, 2017 On October 12, 2017, the Department of State notified UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of the U.S. decision to withdraw from the organization and to seek to establish a permanent observer mission to UNESCO. This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO. The United States indicated to the Director General its desire to remain engaged with UNESCO as a non-member observer state in order to contribute U.S. views, perspectives and expertise on some of the important issues undertaken by the organization, including the protection of world heritage, advocating for press freedoms, and promoting scientific collaboration and education. Pursuant to Article II(6) of the UNESCO Constitution, U.S. withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018. The United States will remain a full member of UNESCO until that time. Source: https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/10/274748.htm
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Tuesday marked the second day of the Ramapoughs' trial for the alleged zoning violations. The township's attorney, Joseph DeMarco, finished presenting his case last Tuesday, when the trial began.   See the full story here: http://www.northjersey.com/story/news/bergen/mahwah/2017/10/10/ramapough-tepee-trial-enters-second-day/747785001/
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A giant array of solar panels near the famed sandstone buttes of Monument Valley has begun producing electricity for the Navajo Nation at a time when the tribe is bracing for the loss of hundreds of jobs from the impending closure of a nearby coal-fired power plant. The Kayenta Solar Facility is the first utility-scale solar project on the Navajo Nation, producing enough electricity to power about 13,000 Navajo homes. The plant comes at a time when the area's energy landscape is shifting. See the full story here: http://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/energy/2017/08/29/navajo-nations-first-solar-project-now-producing-electricity-13-000-homes/613443001/

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United Nations Headquarters, New York – Today marks the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the UN General Assembly in 2007. No words can describe the feeling of joy, ten years ago, when the Declaration after thirty long years of struggle in its drafting was finally adopted. With the Declaration, Indigenous Peoples now got an international standard that specifically articulated their individual and collective rights as well as their rights to identity, language, health, education and other issues. Over the following years, the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples began to have international and national impact across the world. Some countries now recognise indigenous peoples in their constitutions; others have legislation and policies in place to address historical injustices and promote the rights, identity and worldviews of indigenous peoples. National and regional courts are invoking the Declaration to protect indigenous peoples’ rights. These are good news that we need to learn from and bring forward. Review the full statement in a PDF version here
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SÃO PAULO, Brazil — They were members of an uncontacted tribe gathering eggs along the river in a remote part of the Amazon. Then, it appears, they had the bad luck of running into gold miners.

Now, federal prosecutors in Brazil have opened an investigation into the reported massacre of about 10 members of the tribe, the latest evidence that threats to endangered indigenous groups are on the rise in the country.

The Brazilian agency on indigenous affairs, Funai, said it had lodged a complaint with the prosecutor’s office in the state of Amazonas after the gold miners went to a bar near the border with Colombia, and bragged about the killings. They brandished a hand-carved paddle that they said had come from the tribe, the agency said. See full story at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/10/world/americas/brazil-amazon-tribe-killings.html

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On 8 September 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted, without a vote, a resolution titled, “enhancing the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in meetings of relevant United Nations bodies on issues affecting them” (document A/71/L.82), as orally amended.  By its terms, the Assembly welcomed recent discussions on indigenous participation, and encouraged the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Special Rapporteur of the Human Rights Council on the rights of indigenous peoples to continue to address the issue of indigenous participation. It further requested the Secretary-General to report, by the end of the Assembly’s seventy‑fourth session, on achievements, analysis and recommendations on ways to enable such participation. For more information on the meeting coverage (GA/11938click here.
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The year 2017 may well be remembered in indigenous rights history for the Standing Rock Sioux protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline — a monumental, headline-grabbing, months-long battle that drew massive attention to native land rights. Thousands of “water warriors” withstood water cannons, concussion grenades, police dogs, and batons in their quest to protect tribe land and water from development, until US President Donald Trump issued an executive order in February to move forward with construction of the gas pipeline, dealing a huge blow to activists. Theirs was a crushing defeat, and one that’s been shared by other indigenous groups in countries around the world, from Bolivia to Canada. But for every crushing defeat Indigenous activists have experienced, there have been moments of success, as well. Many of these fights never reached the level of press attention the Dakota Access Pipeline garnered, but nonetheless protected sacred lands and set important environmental precedents. See full story here: http://glblctzn.me/2f3bNPI
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