Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Rights of Indigenous Peoples

“We are not negotiating basic human rights, we are demanding them.” Students participate in a United Nations conference on the rights of indigenous societies

Together with their professor, María del Carmen Suñén Bernal, two Leuphana students participated in a United Nations conference on the rights of indigenous societies in Geneva. Based on the interviews they conducted, a video will be created and – together with the film, "La hija de la laguna" (The Daughter of the Lake) – shown at Scala Lüneburg and/or in cooperation with AStA, Leuphana’s student council, at one of their events.

by Monserrat Velásquez Rivas (Digital Media)

Together with our professor, María del Carmen Suñén Bernal, my classmate Hanne and I had the opportunity to participate in the U.N. sessions dealing with the “Rights of Indigenous People.”During these sessions, we listened to petitions and complaints from indigenous societies and to the solutions offered (which didn’t always happen). As the days passed, we got to know and talk with many amazing people. Most of them seemed a little frustrated because in the main conference room, they only had two minutes to present their topic. 

After having attended the conferences, listened to the problems, and talked to people from all over the world, it is hard not to feel empathy with their causes and concerns and not to feel privileged yourself. Terms like recognition, dignity, and respect were the common denominators for many petitions, and as one powerful indigenous leader said, “We are not negotiating basic human rights, we are demanding them.”

Hanne and I are now more aware of our way of living and how it may negatively affect different communities around the world. The next step for us is to think of ways to help.