For the 2012 United Nations Special Rapporteur Consultation Conference information...

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S. James Anaya was appointed to the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2008 as the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and is a Regents’ professor and a James J. Lenoir professor of human rights law at the University of Arizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law. As Special Rapporteur, Anaya reports to the U.N. Human Rights Council on human rights situations of indigenous peoples in selected countries, addresses alleged violations of indigenous peoples’ rights by way of communication with governments and promotes good practices between indigenous peoples and states.

The Navajo Nation and the Commission engaged the Special Rapporteur through a formal communication process, a resolution from the Commission on May 7, 2010, as part of a collaborative effort with the Dine Hataalii Association, the Dine Medicine Man Association, and the Azee Bee Nahagha of Dine. On behalf of the Navajo Nation, the Commission submitted a formal complaint to the Special Rapporteur alleging the United States and its political subdivision are violating the inherent and fundamental right of the Dine and other indigenous peoples to access the San Francisco Peaks as a sacred site and to preserve and protect the San Francisco Peaks from further desecration and economic and recreational exploitation.

In the Commission’s formal communication to the Special Rapporteur, “[t]he Commission strongly request[ed] Professor S. James Anaya, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, to:

  1. Examine ways and means of overcoming existing obstacles to permanently protect the San Francisco Peaks as sacred site to the Dine and other indigenous peoples from further economic and recreational exploitation and desecration.
  2. Gather, request, receive and exchange information and communications from all relevant sources-including the United States, the State of Arizona, the Dine and other indigenous peoples and their communities and organizations- relative to the violations of their human rights and fundamental freedoms to preserve and protect the San Francisco Peaks and other sacred sites and to practice their cultural and religious beliefs without undue burdens or restrictions from the United States and the State of Arizona; and
  3. Formulate recommendations and proposals to the United States and the State of Arizona to prevent, remedy and redress the continuing violations of the Dine and other indigenous peoples human rights and fundamental freedoms as it relates to the proposed desecration of the San Francisco Peaks and other sacred sites and the practice of their cultural and religious beliefs without undue burdens or restrictions.

On May 17, 2010, the formal protocols from the Navajo Nation had been addressed to communicate with the Special Rapporteur.

The Special Rapporteur presented his report, A/HRC/18/35/Add.1, to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland and it was released to the public on August 22, 2011.

On September 2, 2011, NNHRC passed a resolution, “Acknowledging the Report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, S. James Anaya, and Recommending that the Navajo Nation Council to Formally Request the President of the United States of America to Direct the U.S. Forest Service to Suspend the Permit authorizing the use of Reclaimed Waste Water to make Artificial Snow and follow the Recommendations of the Special Rapporteur; and other recommendations” and indicates the timeline between the NNHRC and Anaya formal correspondences. The 22nd Navajo Nation Council Delegate Jonathan Nez (Shonto/Navajo Mountain/Oljato/Tsah Bii Kin) sponsored legislation 0387-11 on behalf of the Navajo Nation Human Rights Commission.

On September 21, 2011, the Special Rapporteur formally addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva about the Commission’s request. President Shelly testified on behalf of the Commission and the Navajo Nation."