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Ambassador Harper discusses violence against indigenous women

Jodi Gillette and Ambassador Keith Harper at a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council on June 22, 2015. Photo from U.S. Mission in Geneva / Facebook

Ambassador Keith Harper is addressing violence against indigenous women and girls in his work at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Harper, a member of the Cherokee Nation, hosted Jodi Gillette to Geneva, Switzerland, at a panel discussion on the issue. Gillette, the former Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs at the White House, helped secure passage of the Tribal Law and Order Act and the Violence Against Women Act to strengthen tribal justice systems and address high rates of violence against Native women.

“The United States recognized that the jurisdiction and powers of tribes had been so diminished over time that Native American victims, especially women and children, faced impossible pathways to safety and justice," Gillette said at the panel, Indian Country Today reported.

Harper also issued a joint statement on behalf of 35 countries that called for the elimination of violence against indigenous women and girls.

Harper is the first member of a federally-recognized tribe to serve as an Ambassador.

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