WASHINGTON – As President Obama signed into law the Tribal Law and Order Act at a bill signing-ceremony, Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) executive director Larry Cox, who attended the signing, released the following statement:
“President Obama today took an important step toward addressing some of the harsh injustices that Native peoples in the United States have faced for decades. The Tribal Law and Order Act is a groundbreaking piece of legislation that tackles the complex jurisdictional maze that allows violent crime against American Indians to flourish. If properly implemented, it will open the door for the U.S. government to address the erosion of tribal authority. In time it will decrease the high levels of rape and finally provide Native women with effective recourse if they are sexually assaulted. In short, this legislation challenges the long-standing mind-set that Native women are not worthy of protection.”
In 2007, Amnesty International released its landmark report, Maze of Injustice: The failure to protect Indigenous women from sexual violence in the USA. Following the release of the report, AIUSA members campaigned intensively for passages of effective remedies to reduce sexual violence against Native women. Additionally, AIUSA worked intensively with Native women advocates and Members of Congress to provide recommendations for and feedback on the Tribal Law and Order Act. The Tribal Law and Order Act is bi-partisan legislation that was introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD).
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 2.8 million supporters, activists and volunteers who campaign for universal human rights from more than 150 countries. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.