Mobile Menu - OpenMobile Menu - Closed

“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

The Rights of Indigenous Peoples - Latin America

Thursday, April 29, 2010 - 10:00am
2200 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for the first in a series of hearings on the rights of indigenous peoples. The hearing will explore the serious challenges faced by indigenous peoples in Latin America, which threaten their communities, their health and property, as well as traditional knowledge and culture.

According to estimates by the United Nations, there are between 300 million and 370 million indigenous peoples in over 70 countries. They represent an important facet of the world’s cultural fabric, with unique ways of life, distinct identities and different economic and political traditions. Despite the differences among indigenous communities, they continue to face common global threats and injustices as they have throughout their history. These threats range from expropriation and destruction of traditional livelihoods, to forced assimilation and migration, racial discrimination and exclusion from political participation and self-determination.

The Universal Declaration on Human Rights guarantees fundamental rights of all human beings, but many indigenous peoples remain without effective protection. As a result of an almost 22-year process, the international community finally further clarified indigenous rights in the 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which lacks the enforceability and monitoring of a U.N. Convention.

If you have any questions, please contact 202-225-3599.

Hosted by:

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
Frank R. Wolf, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Panel I

  • Janet C. Ballantyne, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, U.S. Agency for International Development
    Written testimony
  • Kevin Whitaker, Director for Andean Affairs, Bureau of Western Hemisphere, U.S. Department of State
    Written testimony
  • Joe Cassidy, Director Multilateral and Global Affairs, Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State
    Written testimony

Panel II

  • Dinah L. Shelton, Mannatt/Ahn Professor of International Law, George Washington University
    Written testimony
  • Daisy Zapata Fasabi, Vice President, AIDESEP - the Interethnic Development Association for the Peruvian Amazon
    Written testimony
  • Estanislao Bejerano Morales, representing the Ngöbe People, Panama
    Written testimony
  • Feliciano Santos Santos, representing the Ngöbe People, Panama
  • Dario Mejia, representing ONIC - the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia
    Written testimony



111th Congress