Hearings & Briefings

The Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Latin America

Hearing Thursday, April 29, 2010 10 AM Room 2200 of the Rayburn House Office Building

This hearing will take place at 10 AM on 4/29/2010, in Room 2200 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
The hearing is open to members of Congress, congressional staff, the media and the interested public.

Thursday, April 29, 2010
10 AM
Room 2200 of the 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 PDF, which lacks the enforceability and monitoring of a U.N. Convention.
Panel 1

Janet C. Ballantyne, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, U.S. Agency for International Development

Kevin Whitaker, Director for Andean Affairs, Bureau of Western Hemisphere, U.S. Department of State

Joe Cassidy, Director Multilateral and Global Affairs, Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State

Panel 2

Dinah L. Shelton, Mannatt/Ahn Professor of International Law, George Washington University

Daisy Zapata Fasabi, Vice President, AIDESEP – the Interethnic Development Association for the Peruvian Amazon

Estanislao Bejerano Morales, representing the Ngöbe People, Panama

Feliciano Santos Santos, representing the Ngöbe People, Panama

Dario Mejia, representing ONIC – the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia

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

James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC

Frank R. Wolf, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Contact the Commission

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
4150 O'Neill Federal Building
200 C Street SW
Washington, D.C. 20515
United States of America

Phone: +1 (202) 225-3599
Fax: +1 (202) 226-5887


The Commission seeks to make its events, meetings and hearings accessible to persons with disabilities.

If you are in need of special accommodations, please call (202) 225-3599 at least four business days in advance or whenever practicable.

Questions with regard to special accommodations in general (including availability of Commission materials in alternative formats and assistive listening devices, sign language interpretation, etc.) may be directed to the Commission.

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