IPLP Outreach

IPLP is involved in a number of community service projects, including:

Will-writing project with the Allottees Association of the San Xavier District of the Tohono O'Odham Nation
Mary Guss, on behalf of IPLP, and Claudia Nelson, of NPTAO, are partnering on a will-writing project with the Allottees Association of the San Xavier District of the Tohono O'odham Nation. The Office of the Special Trustee is also involved and provides informational assistance as well as occasional office space. The project began in June of 2012. Twice a month Guss and Nelson travel to the Allottees office or to Sells to meet with individuals who need assistance in the preparation of their wills. The following month the Allottee returns to sign his or her will. An Indian Will Writing clinic has grown directly from this partnership, and law students are now also involved in meeting with clients and drafting their wills and related estate documents.

Current Cases:

Rio Yaqui
Associate Clinical Professor James Hopkins, with the assistance of IPLP students is representing the Traditional Authorities of the Rio Yaqui Pueblos, the governing body for all eight Rio Yaqui Pueblos in the Rio Yaqui Valley, Sonora, Mexico on a Petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Right. Filed in January 2011, the Traditional Authorities are requesting precautionary measures in the face of urgent, immediate, and irreparable harms to the Rio Yaqui people, their lands, resources and access to surface water rights on the Rio Yaqui caused by Mexico's continued agri-chemical practices and the alleged resulting Yaqui infant deaths that are in violation of the Rio Yaqui peoples' fundamental right to life as well as Mexico's support for massive resource development projects that includes the diversion of the Rio Yaqui to the City of Hermosillio, all of which will deny the future existence of the Rio Yaqui people in the Rio Yaqui Valley.

Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group
Professor Robert A. Williams, Jr., with the assistance of IPLP students and staff, is representing the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group (which consists of six First Nations in British Columbia, Canada) on a Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Right. The Petition was filed in May 2007 and includes a request for precautionary measures to avoid immediate and irreparable harm to Hul'qumi'num traditional lands and resources caused by the Canadian government's ongoing violation of the Hul'qumi'num peoples' rights to property, culture and equality of the law, as protected by the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man. The Commission has agreed to hear the merits of the petition. More information and resources about this case...

Border Action Network
IPLP represents the Border Action Network, a non-government organization whose work involves protecting the human rights of persons affected by border and immigration policies, in a petition before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. The organization is trying to stop violent attacks by vigilantes against immigrants along the Arizona/Mexico border area. Virtually all of these immigrants are from Mexico and other Latin American countries, and many of them indigenous. The petition before the Inter-American Commission seeks redress for human rights violations caused by the United States' lack of protection and legal remedies for immigrant victims of violence and intimidation by these vigilante groups. More information and resources about this case...

Prior Projects:

Maya Communities of Southern Belize
A team of lawyers and IPLP students worked with the Maya Leaders Alliance in filing and litigating a class action lawsuit on behalf of Maya communities in Belize. The case, which followed a positive decision from the Inter-American Commission, resulted in the affirmation of their traditional land rights. More information and resources about this case...

Western Shoshone
The IPLP program worked with the Indian Law Resource Center and the Western Shoshone Defense Project to assist the Dann Traditional Family and other Western Shoshone groups to defend their land rights in precedent-setting proceedings before the Inter American Commission and the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. More information and resources about this case...

Awas Tingni
The Awas Tingni decision from the Inter American court was the first occasion on which an international tribunal with legally binding authority found a government in violation of the collective land rights of an indigenous group. IPLP assisted the community in securing its land rights and saw the Government of Nicaragua deliver title to them in December 2008. More information and resources about this case...

Baka "Pygmy" of the Congo
The IPLP Program was asked by the Rainforest Foundation UK to develop a report concerning the human rights of indigenous peoples in Africa. In 2006 IPLP completed the project and submitted a report entitled, "The Rights of the Pygmy People in the Republic of Congo."

YATAMA, the main indigenous political party in Nicaragua, sought help to enable it to fully exercise its rights of political participation. IPLP assisted in bringing an Amicus Curiae brief before the Inter American Commission in support of YATAMA’s petition.

Raposa Serra do Sol
IPLP assisted the Raposa Serra do Sol of Brazil with cases before the Inter American Commission and UN's CERD, seeking protection of their lands from the Brazilian federal government and protection from threats and violence experienced at the hands of non-indigenous Brazilians.

Inuit Circumpolar Conference
IPLP students assisted in submitting a petition to the Inter American Commission on behalf of the Inuit people of the Arctic regions, seeking relief from violations of their human rights experienced as a result of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S.