2016 IPLP Graduate Appointed to UN Forum

Elifuraha (Eli) Laltaika, ’16, has been appointed to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UN Permanent Forum).

Just a month after completing his Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD) from the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy (IPLP) Program, Laltaika was appointed to serve on the UN Permanent Forum as an expert on the intersection of economic development, environmental protection, and the protection of indigenous peoples’ human rights. 

Professor Robert A. Williams, Jr., E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law and Faculty Chair of the IPLP Program, noted that together with the appointment of IPLP alumna Erica Yamada to the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, "the IPLP Program now has two SJD alumni serving on the two UN Bodies with the specific mandate to promote indigenous peoples' human rights within the UN system. No other law school or university in the world can say that right now."

The UN Permanent Forum is one of the main UN Bodies promoting indigenous peoples’ rights. The forum is responsible for facilitating dialogue with indigenous peoples on salient issues and convening indigenous groups, UN Member States, UN Agencies, and other stakeholders in order to:

  • produce research and recommendations for relevant UN Bodies related to the protection and promotion of indigenous peoples’ human rights
  • develop strategies to increase meaningful participation of indigenous groups within the UN system
  • increase indigenous peoples’ access to justice
  • identify barriers to the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Laltaika says he is “profoundly thankful to everyone at IPLP. The program has been both a training ground and source of inspiration; its experiential learning environment allowed me to interact with renowned professors, friendly staff, local indigenous communities, international practitioners, and brilliant students from diverse backgrounds. Thanks to the skills I honed at IPLP, I will make meaningful contributions advancing indigenous peoples’ rights."