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S. James Anaya is the American James J. Lenoir Professor of Human Rights Law and Policy at the University of Arizona's James E. Rogers College of Law. In March 2008, he was appointed by the United Nations as its Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples.
Anaya is a graduate of the University of New Mexico (B.A., 1980) and Harvard Law School (J.D., 1983). At Harvard Law School, he was a member of the Board of Student Advisers. He teaches and writes in the areas of international human rights, constitutional law, and issues concerning indigenous peoples.
Anaya has served as a consultant for organizations and government agencies in numerous countries on matters of human rights and indigenous peoples, and he has represented indigenous groups from many parts of North and Central America in landmark cases before courts and international organizations. He was the lead counsel for the indigenous parties in the case of Awas Tingni v. Nicaragua, in which the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for the first time upheld indigenous land rights as a matter of international law. In addition, he directed the legal team that successfully achieved a judgment by the Supreme Court of Belize affirming the traditional land rights of the Maya people of that country.