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.
Indigenous Peoples in International Law (Oxford Univ. Press, 1996, 2d. ed. 2004). ISBN 0-19-517350-3
International Human Rights: Problems of Law, Policy, and Practice (4th ed. 2006) (co-authored with Richard B. Lillich, Hurst Hannun & Dinah L. Shelton) ISBN 0-316-52687-8
The Protection of Indigenous Peoples' Rights Over Lands and Natural Resources Under the Inter-American Human Rights System, 14 Harv. Hum. Rts. J. 33 (2001) (co-author with Robert A. Williams, Jr.).
The Native Hawaiian People and International Human Rights Law: Toward a Remedy for Past and Continuing Wrongs, 28 Ga. L. Rev. 309 (1994), reprinted in International Law and Indigenous Peoples 309 (S. James Anaya ed., 2003).
A Contemporary Definition of the International Norm of Self-Determination, 3 Transnat'l L. & Contemp. Probs. 131 (1993).
United Nations Special Rapporteurs bear mandates from the United Nations Human Rights Council and may hold the titles Special Rapporteur, Independent Expert or Special Representative of the Secretary-General, and are also referred to simply as mandate-holders