"Know Your Rights!" - United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for indigenous adolescents
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Yesterday was the official launch of a version of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples written specifically for the use of indigenous adolescents. It is an encouragement for them to know their rights and those of their community.
You can find it here in English:
And here in Spanish (translation by UNDP):
“It is so much more youth-friendly, because it is visual, didactic and contextual. When I first read the regular version of the Declaration, I thought that what I was reading was made so as not to make sense to me as a young person!” says Gabriele Papa, from the Hawk clan of the Seneca tribe. Gabriele, a senior high school student, is the secretary of the Salamanca High School Model United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and one of the founding members of the Model UNFPII.
An event was organized at UNICEF’s headquarters at the occasion of the release of the publication, gathering a panel of young and passionate indigenous representatives from all over the world. “What gets me motivated in working with other indigenous youth is that it makes you feel you are not alone, but there are a lot of us fighting for the same issues”, explains Gabriele. Dalí Ángel Pérez, a young Zapotec Indian from Choapam Oaxaca in Mexico, adds that "there are youth who come from the other end of the world, but still we face the same problems".
Dalí is the Latin America focal point for the Global Indigenous Youth Caucus and also coordinates a youth commission of Mujeres Indígenas (Indigenous Women), participating in workshops on the rights of indigenous children and adolescents, and in the training of young human rights advocates. At the Latin America level, as part of the Alianza de Mujeres Indígenas de Centroamerica y México (Alliance for Indigenous Women of Central America and Mexico), she has prompted the verbalization and visibility of local and regional organizational work processes of indigenous youth. In 2012 Dalí was awarded the National Youth Award in the category of human rights, which is the highest public recognition that the Mexican Government provides to young Mexicans.
The only male on the panel, Tuomas Aslak Juuso, is president of the National Finnish Sámi Youths (SSN) and was elected to the Sámi parliament of Finland in 2008, where he at that time was its youngest member in history. In 2012 Tuomas was selected as youth representative of the Global Coordinating Group for the United Nations World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. “We, as youths, want to secure the possibility of reproducing our traditions.”
María Cecibel Cisneros asked herself what she can do as a young person to put a stop to human rights violations and discriminations perpetuated against her tribe that she was constantly witnessing as a young indigenous leader from Huamanga in Ayacucho, Peru. She is currently participating in the International Indigenous Women’s Forum’s International Program on Human Rights and International Advocacy Skills. “If we don’t know where we come from, we don’t know where we are going, and that is where the journey ends”.
Are there indigenous peoples in your country? What are the challenges faced by the youth belonging to these communities?