UN Envoy: Indigenous Children Learn Best in Their Own Languages

Forum participants made cases on behalf of traditional knowledge, culture, languages as well as land rights restoration, and environment preservation specifically regarding climate change.

Vice-chair of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), Anne Nuorgam, highlighted that Indigenous children are “inextricably linked to their lands, territories and natural resources” and should be encouraged to connect to their communities and cultures.

RELATED: US: Bill To Tackle Missing, Murdered Indigenous Women Advances 

The U.N. official noted that 2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages and added that “we have to celebrate our languages, but also take concrete action to preserve them and save those on the verge of extinction.”

The vice chair said studies show that children learn best in their native languages and should - according to Article 14 of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) - be educated in their own languages.

“However, this needs financial and technical support from Member States and the U.N. System”, Nuorgam explained at the Eighteenth Session of UNPFII which runs from April 22 to May 3. 

“This enables us to protect our traditional knowledge.”

'Let us honor the indigenous peoples who tirelessly fight for their rights and futures. Many here have traveled very far. Let us make this session meaningful for you and your peoples' Opening Ceremony of 2019!

Thanks for the beautiful photos.

General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa indicated that there were several implementation challenges and that the world has a “historic debt with the Indigenous peoples.”

Nuorgam, who is also a member of Finland’s Saami Parliament and head of the Saami Council’s Human Rights Unit, further stated that the Forum provides an opportunity to share innovations and practices that have been developed in Indigenous communities “over centuries and millennia.”

Forum participants made cases on behalf of traditional knowledge, culture, languages as well as land rights restoration, and environment preservation specifically regarding climate change.

“In my culture, everything that we talk about and everything that we teach one another has to do with the land,” Canadian educator and filmmaker Ashton Janvier, one of more than 1,000 delegates at UNPFII, stated about the Denesuline language.

“We’re working on creating resources, books and knowledge in the Dene language,” Janvier said. “We teach the younger generation land-based teachings – making fire, offering tobacco, trapping, hunting, fishing on the land – and that’s how we work on revitalizing the language.”

Vice-chair Nuorgam also took the opportunity to draw attention to difficulties being faced by Indigenous women, pointing out that while women are integral for addressing poverty and hunger, they face structural discrimination and violence. 

“These topics are of central importance to Indigenous peoples and the attainment of their human rights”, Vice-President (VP) of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Valentin Rybakov said while addressing the Forum. “Along with recognition comes the need to acknowledge the source, ownership and protection of traditional knowledge.”

Rybakov disclosed several activities which will be launched to support the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The ECOSOC VP announced the first SDG Summit for State heads in Sept. to review six of the SDGs, including education equality, economic growth and combating climate change.

The 16 independent experts of the Forum comprise eight nominated by U.N. Member States and others by Indigenous organizations globally.

Indigenous peoples make up under six percent of the world’s population but account for 15 percent of the poorest, according to the Forum.

Indigenous peoples live in some 90 countries, represent 5,000 different cultures and speak a majority of the world’s estimated 6,700 languages.


  • Published in Culture

Cuba Quoted as an essential Ally of the United Nations

Maria Fernanda Espinosa, who is the president of the General Assembly of those multilateral institutions, said upon arriving to Havana that Cuba is an essential allied for the United Nations.

The UN needs nations like Cuba, given it is of the great defending nations of the multilateral system. The diplomat was welcomed by the Cuban Foreign Affairs vice--Minister Anayansi Rodríguez at the Tercera (Third) terminal of the José Martí international airport.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa said she was feeling happy to be in Havana city and said she brought a really complete agenda through which she will watch the advances of Cuba in terms of the gender equality and the UN´s contribution to the Cuban government for the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development's Goals.

“We are learning from those Cuban initiatives in terms of the South-South cooperation themes and we are also pretending to advance a convention about the urgent need in terms of strengthening the multilateral system. She added.”

A Press release from the Cuban Foreign Affairs Ministry added that Maria Fernanda Espinosa will carry out high-level meetings with local officials and she will gather with members of the civil society, besides, she will deliver a special conference for the students at the Raúl Roa International Relations Higher Instutute.

Maria Fernanda Espinosa has hold the presidency of the UN General Assembly since June 2018 and she was the fourth woman to get to that post and the first one representing Latin America.

Cuba Quoted as an essential Ally of the United Nations

At the moment of being elected, she was the foreign minister of Ecuador where she was also a Defense minister and coordinator of the Cultural and Natural Heritage. She is poet and a graduate in applied linguistic. She later became a specialist in Anthropology and Amazonian studies through Postgraduate and master´s courses, respectively.

Cuban has claimed the reform of the United Nation in many international forums events. A reform aimed at achieving a really democratic and inclusive organization, along with a transparent and democratized Security Council and a revitalized General Assembly.

On November 1st, 2018 on its XXVII consecutive occasion, the UN General Assembly approved the resolution that presents Cuba on the US economic blockade which had the support of the immense majority of the international community.

The United Nations was founded on October 14th, 1945 and it currently has 193 nations members of it.

  • Published in Cuba

UN Calls to Eliminate Technological Barriers to People with Autism

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called to eliminate the barriers that prevent people with autism from accessing technologies and achieving their full potential.

In a message on World Autism Awareness Day, the UN chief noted that access to those technologies is a key requirement for those people to exercise their basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

On this day, 'we speak out against discrimination, celebrate the diversity of our global community and strengthen our commitment to the full inclusion and participation of people with autism.'

'Supporting them to achieve their full potential is a vital part of our efforts to uphold the core promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: to leave no one behind,' Guterres noted.

UN Assesses Tensions in Gaza Strip

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolai Mladenov will offer on Tuesday a report to the Security Council, while tensions in the Gaza Strip are increasing.

Mladenov expects on Tuesday to meet with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to discuss the recent violent events near the border fence with Israel of that occupied Palestinian territory.

On Monday, Guterres expressed concern about the latest events related to Gaza and called on the Palestinian and Israeli sides to restrained themselves.

Stephane Dujarric, spokesperson for the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said so and stressed the need to avoid any act that may worsen the situation on the ground, especially for civilians.

The spokesperson referred to the launching of a rocket from Gaza towards Israel, which he considered a serious violation, and noted that they are also aware of the reports about the open fire by the Tel Aviv security forces against the Palestinian territory.

We continue monitoring closely those events and we urge both sides to exercise maximum restraint, the spokesperson said.

  • Published in World

2018 Single-Deadliest Year For Afghan Civilians, UN Reports

Civilian deaths increased by 11 percent, as a string of bombings and suicide attacks annihilated a country already in the midst of war.

In a report released Sunday by the U.N., more civilians were killed in the Afghan war in 2018 than during any other year on record after nearly two decades of fighting.

RELATED: UN Report: 2,798 Afghan Civilians Killed in 2018, Up 39%

U.N. officials said that, despite peace talks progressing, the war in Afghanistan killed almost 4,000 civilians in 2018, including a record number of children, making it the single deadliest year for Afghan civilians since the United Nations began documenting casualties a decade ago.

The report suggested that Islamic militant groups were responsible for almost two-thirds of civilian casualties — 63 percent, to insurgent groups, primarily the Taliban and the Islamic State.

Afghan and American forces were responsible for 24 percent; 14 percent by Afghan national security forces, six percent by American forces and four percent by government-backed armed groups. 

AFP reports that civilian deaths jumped by 11 percent from 2017 with 3,804 people killed and another 7,189 wounded, according to the UN figures, as suicide attacks and bombings decimated the already war-torn country.

The report was released as the next round of peace talks between U.S. and Taliban negotiators, are scheduled for Monday in Doha, Qatar, 

In a statement, the United Nations secretary general’s special representative for Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, called the figures “deeply disturbing and wholly unacceptable.”

Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, called the record number of children killed “particularly shocking.”

Tadamichi said it best when he issued a resolution to the horrendous situation, "It is time to put an end to this human misery and tragedy,"  ​​​

  • Published in World

UN Agrees to Support Venezuela's Montevideo Meeting

The UN spokesman said they "support the efforts of the international community that will help find a political solution" to the situation in Venezuela.

The Secretary General of the U.N., Antonio Guterres, Tuesday gave his support to Venezuela, by endorsing a meeting in Montevideo, Uruguay -scheduled for Thursday, which aims to try to promote a peaceful solution to the situation in the South American nation.

RELATED: Cuban Music Icon Silvio Rodriguez Gives Support to Venezuela

The U.N. had earlier this week offered to mediate the meeting - which will involve eight E.U. member states, and also Bolivia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Uruguay, should the Venezuelan government request it.

The spokesman for Guterres, Stéphane Dujarric, said that Guterres "supports the efforts of the international community that will help find a political solution" to the situation in Venezuela.

According to South American publication, El Periodico, Gutteres announced its support for the dialogue, while maintaining its neutral stance regarding the situation in the Latin American nation, which was brought about when the United States recognized Juan Guaido, as Venezuela’s 'self-appointed' interim president.  

Guaido is an opposition lawmaker who declared himself as the 'interim president' of Venezuela on Jan. 23 in violation of the country’s constitution.

Asked about the upcoming meetings in Montevideo, said the Secretary-General supports efforts by the international community that will assist in finding a political solution to the crisis in Venezuela.

Speaking to the Voice of America, Guterres said, "Venezeula must decide the solution, elections are always a possibility." 

He continued, "Our position in the present moment has been to tell the two parties; we are here, we are available to offer our good offices, at your request, so we do not impose ourselves (...) to find a political solution through the negotations that are necssary for that solution to be possible."

When the publication asked Guterres about the possibility of a military intervention, his stance was clear; "I hope that does not happen," he said. "The time for an era of foreign intervention passed long ago."

Guterres was encouraged by last Saturday's peaceful protest, saying "Our strong call is to avoid all forms of violence, that, of course, have no purpose and do not benefit anyone."

  • Published in World

USA Asks to Discuss Venezuela Issue at UN, Despite Opposition

The United States delegation asked the United Nations Security Council to summon a meeting next Saturday on Venezuela, issue that is not considered object of discussion in that organism by members like Russia.

The situation in Venezuela is a domestic problem of that country and does not have to be debated in the Security Council as it is not part of its agenda, told reporters Moscow's permanent representative to the U.N, Vassily Nebenzia.

China also defends the thesis of the non-interference in domestic affairs of United Nations member states. The ambassador of South Africa to the U.N., Jerry Matjila, said it is difficult to find a unified position on that issue in the Security Council.

Any member of the Council can ask for a vote of procedure to block the meeting asked by the United States, for which a minimum of nine votes is needed to summon the meeting.

Besides China, Russia, United States, United Kingdom and France cannot call their vetoes.

Diplomatic sources point to the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, hopes to participate in the meeting asked to be scheduled for Saturday. Washington does not have an ambassador to the U.N. since the departure of Nikki Haley on December 31 last.

This Thursday, the U.N. General Secretary, Antonio Guterres, stressed the urgent need that all relevant actors commit to a political dialogue, inclusive and credible in Venezuela and called to reduce tensions and prevent violence.

The eve, Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro denounced that the United States leads an operation for a coup d'Etat that aims to impose a parallel government in that nation which subordinates to their interests.

Those declarations of the Venezuelan head of State refer to the recognition by the U.S. government of the self-proclaimed head of the National Assembly, Juan Guaido, as 'president in charge', found in contempt by the Supreme Court.

In that way, they pretend to treat as illegitimate the new constitutional period of Maduro, elected by the majority.

Washington accepted a president by non-constitutional ways, rejected Maduro, while announcing the cessation of diplomatic and political bilateral relations.

  • Published in World

UN Stresses Concern over Assassinations of Social Leaders in Colombia

The representative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Colombia, Alberto Brunori, has urged the Government of Ivan Duque to urgently take measures to halt the increasing number of assassinations of social leaders.

Brunori expressed concern over the rise of crimes against human rights defenders and land claimers in regions of Cauca department, southwestern Colombia.

In the first few days of 2019 there are many dead, most in Cauca, stressed the UN representative alluding to the killing of seven social leaders in the first week of the year.

The Italian political scientist hailed the Government's meeting last Friday in which the Plan of Timely Action was discussed. It envisions a strategy to counter social violence in Colombia. However, he stressed that urgent measures should be taken quickly to put up a system aimed at guaranteeing protection for social leaders.

According to the nation's Ombudsman Office, since the signing of the Peace Agreements two years ago, some 358 Colombian have been murdered for their political beliefs or for being linked to social demands.

Human rights organizations believe the figure is higher, tagging it at over 400, including nearly 100 former fighters of the former guerrilla Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces- People's Army.

On Saturday, Colombia's Attorney General, Nestor Martinez, admitted for the first time there is a pattern of systematic killings of social leaders.

  • Published in World
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