Recent years have seen robust developments in international law regarding the rights of indigenous peoples. UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Rapporteur Dinah Shelton will convey their observations about these developments, share some of their experiences from the field, and exchange thoughts on future challenges and work to be done.
James Anaya is a Regents Professor and the James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law (USA), where he teaches and writes in the areas of international human rights, constitutional law, and issues concerning indigenous peoples.
Professor Anaya is a graduate of the University of New Mexico (B.A. Economics, 1980) and Harvard Law School (J.D., 1983).
He was on the law faculty at the University of Iowa from 1988 to 1999, and he has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, the University of Toronto, and the University of Tulsa.
Among his numerous publications is his acclaimed book, Indigenous Peoples in International Law (Oxford Univ. Press, 1996, 2d. ed. 2004).
Prior to becoming a full time law professor, he practiced law in Albuquerque, New Mexico, representing Native American peoples and other minority groups. For his work during that period, Barrister magazine, a national publication of the American Bar Association, named him as one of "20 young lawyers who make a difference."
Professor Anaya has lectured in many countries in all continents of the globe. He has advised numerous indigenous and other organizations from several countries on matters of human rights and indigenous peoples, and he has represented indigenous groups from many parts of North and Central America in landmark cases before courts and international organizations.
Among his noteworthy activities, he participated in the drafting of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and was the lead counsel for the indigenous parties in the case of Awas Tingni v. Nicaragua, in which the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for the first time upheld indigenous land rights as a matter of international law.
Professor Shelton joined the Law School faculty in 2004. Before her appointment, she was professor of international law and director of the doctoral program in international human rights law at the University of Notre Dame Law School from 1996-2004. She previously taught at Santa Clara University and was a visiting lecturer at the University of California, Davis, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, the University of Paris, and the University of Strasbourg, France. From 1987 to 1989, she was the director of the Office of Staff Attorneys at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
Professor Shelton is the author or editor of three prize-winning books: Protecting Human Rights in the Americas (winner of the 1982 Inter-American Bar Association Book Prize and co-authored with Thomas Buergenthal); Remedies in International Human Rights Law (awarded the 2000 Certificate of Merit, American Society of International Law); and the three volume Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes against Humanity (awarded a "Best Research" book award by the New York Public Library). She also has authored many articles and books on international law, human rights law, and international environmental law. She is a member of the board of editors of the American Journal of International Law and is a vice-president of the American Society of International Law.
Professor Shelton serves on the boards of many human rights and environmental organizations. In 2006, she was awarded the prestigious Elizabeth Haub Prize in Environmental Law, and has served as a legal consultant to the United Nations Environment Programme, UNITAR, World Health Organization, European Union, Council of Europe, and Organization of American States. In 2009, she became the first woman nominated by the United States to become a member of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, established by the Organization of American States to promote and protect human rights in the Western Hemisphere. She was elected to a four-year term in June, 2009.
James Anaya, Regents Professor and the James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, discusses the role indigenous rights plays in international law.
Body of legal rules, norms, and standards that apply between sovereign states and other entities that are legally recognized as international actors. The term was coined by the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. Important elements of international law include sovereignty, recognition (which allows a country to honour the claims of another), consent (which allows for modifications in international agreements to fit the customs of a country), freedom of the high seas, self-defense (which ensures that measures may be taken against illegal acts committed against a sovereign country), freedom of commerce, and protection of nationals abroad. International courts, such as the International Court of Justice, resolve disputes on these and other matters, including war crimes. See alsoasylum; immunity.