Leuphana delegation at the United Nations in Geneva

2022-07-20 Lüneburg/Geneva. After a two-year break from Corona, students from Leuphana University Lüneburg were able to participate again this month in the conference of the "Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples" at the United Nations in Geneva. The academic delegation was led by Dr Cristina Blohm. The 15th session of the conference was held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 4 to 8 July 2022.

Three students qualified for participation in the delegation thanks to their special commitment and very good performance in Cristina Blohm's seminar "Los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas de América Latina en el Sistema de las Naciones Unidas". Participating in the conference gave the students the opportunity to expand their theoretical knowledge acquired in the seminar with practical impressions and to gain an insight into the United Nations system.

Lucía Lasso Drews (Global Environmental and Sustainability Studies), Alina Maria Wagner (Studium Individuale) and Male Soley Gatza (Global Environmental and Sustainability Studies) presented their position paper in Spanish to the conference participants. It was about the UN Decade of Indigenous Languages (2022 - 2032) for the protection and revitalisation of the linguistic diversity of indigenous peoples.

In their presentation, the students made it clear that the extinction of indigenous languages goes hand in hand with a loss of culture and identity and that the knowledge associated with the language, which also contributes to the preservation of global biodiversity, is irretrievably lost. The protection of indigenous languages is a race against time, since according to UNESCO, one indigenous language is currently dying out every fortnight.

Head of delegation Cristina Blohm herself addressed the conference participants with two contributions. In her presentation on "Violence against indigenous women", she dealt with gang rapes of young indigenous girls and women, which are not prosecuted and sentenced as crimes in various Andean countries. She supported the demand of indigenous victims to prosecute such cases of sexualised violence. In her second presentation, Blohm spoke about forms of modern slavery, such as forced labour, bonded labour or human trafficking. According to the International Labour Organisation, over two million indigenous people in Latin America are affected by this.
Dr Cristina Blohm has been committed to the rights of indigenous peoples for decades. She is an advisor to the Amazonian ethnic groups and has been an academic representative at the UN conference on behalf of Leuphana since 2003.