On April 24, The University of Oklahoma College of Law hosted consultations among U.S. government officials, federally recognized tribes, and members of civil society to discuss the implementation of U.S. human rights obligations and commitments. The consultations were held in anticipation of the second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the U.S. human rights record at the United Nations in Geneva, which will occur in 2015. The consultations included twelve U.S. government officials representing a variety of federal agencies, including the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior, as well as tribal representatives and members of civil society groups that promote the rights of indigenous peoples.
The College of Law is a longstanding leader in the field of Native American Indian Law. Over 46% of the students take at least one course relating to Native American Indian Law. OU Law offers a certificate in American Indian law, a Master of Laws (LLM) in Indigenous Peoples Law, and an online Master of Legal Studies (MLS) in Indigenous Peoples Law. The College of Law also has a cutting edge International Human Rights Clinic in which students investigate the situation of indigenous peoples throughout the world and submit reports of their findings to the United Nations UPR process. As a leader on both the domestic and international rights of indigenous peoples, the College of Law was proud to host these important consultations to help the U.S. Government, tribal leaders, and civil society prepare for the upcoming UPR review of the United States with respect to its record on the treatment of indigenous peoples.
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What lead you to OU Law? As was permitted at the time, my first year at OU Law in 1956 was as an undergraduate senior at OU. I never questioned where I would go to law school. I was our family’s second generation to go to OU law school. We are now a five-generation family to do so. My dad and his identical twin brother, Ralph, were OU Law graduates, class of 1927. My grandfather, Dr. William Bennett Bizzell, was OU’s 5 th president. OU was a second home to me.
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