The United Nations Human Rights Committee recently heard about the violations of indigenous prisoners’ religious freedoms at the hands of the United States throughout the country.
Huy, a Seattle, Washington based non-profit formed in 2012 to reform state policy in regard to Native prisoners’ Indian religious freedoms and cultural expression, was joined by the National Congress of American Indians, Native American Rights Fund, and the American Civil Liberties Union in presenting their information to the U.N.
Kate Fox Principi, secretary of the Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland heard the coalition’s concerns, which came in the form of an update to a previously submitted 15-page report, titled “Joint Submission to Human Rights Committee Concerning Indigenous Prisoners’ Religious Freedoms in the United States of America.”
“This update, as with the original report, concerns the United States’ violations of indigenous prisoners’ religious freedoms and the United States’ failure to fully implement the ICCPR on state and local levels, in particular response to paragraphs 1(b), 4, 16, and 27 of the Human Rights Committee’s list of issues concerning the United States, for the 110th Session. The Human Rights Committee’s review of the United States’ human rights record was scheduled to occur last October during the 109th Session, but was postponed due to the United States government shutdown last fall,” according to a Huy press release.
All the information presented through the update and the report address the treatment and violations occurring in California, Montana, Hawaii, Arizona, South Dakota, Texas, Wyoming and Missouri.
“The religious and human rights violations being committed by state and county corrections agencies against indigenous prisoners remain prevalent,” said initial Chairman of the Huy Board Advisors, Gabriel Galanda, Round Valley, a tribal lawyer with Galanda Broadman, PLLC in Seattle. “International intervention is now needed to bring the U.S. and its state and local siblings into universal compliance with American federal law and worldwide human rights norms.”
The indigenous prisoners’ religious rights coalition is altogether comprised of:
-- Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians
-- Round Valley Indian Tribes
-- National Native American Bar Association
-- Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program
-- Native American Rights Fund
-- Center for Indian Law and Policy at the Seattle University School of Law
-- The National ACLU
-- The ACLU of Washington
-- The ACLU of Southern California