Secretary-General says media and #SocialMedia empowers indigenous voices #WorldIndigenousPeoplesDay

Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Empowering Indigenous Voices

“In the five years since the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, communities and individuals have been taking advantage of the reach of traditional and new media to tell their story and make their voices heard.

The focus of this year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is “Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices”.  From community radio and television to feature films and documentaries, from video art and newspapers to the internet and social media, indigenous peoples are using these powerful tools to challenge mainstream narratives, bring human rights violations to international attention and forge global solidarity. 

They are also developing their own media to reflect indigenous values and fight against myths and misconceptions.

Empowering Indigenous Voices

Indigenous voices are recounting compelling stories of how they are combating centuries of injustice and discrimination, and advocating for the resources and rights that will preserve their cultures, languages, spirituality and traditions.  They offer an alternative perspective on development models that exclude the indigenous experience.  They promote the mutual respect and intercultural understanding that is a precondition for a society without poverty and prejudice.

On this International Day, I pledge the full support of the UN system to cooperate with indigenous peoples, including their media, to promote the full implementation of the Declaration.  I also call on Member States and the mainstream media to create and maintain opportunities for indigenous peoples to articulate their perspectives, priorities and aspirations.

Let us use the media – indigenous and non-indigenous, and especially new outlets to create bridges and establish a truly intercultural world, where diversity is celebrated; a world where different cultures not only coexist but value each other for their contributions and potential.”

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

Empowering Indigenous Voices

Celebrating ‘International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, and the unique worldview of indigenous children and the richness of their voices’ #UNICEF

 9 AUGUST 2012 is the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

UNICEF joins the international community in celebrating the unique worldview of indigenous children and the richness and diversity that their voices bring to the human family.

The theme of the International Day this year is “Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices. ”The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples among others provide unique references for UNICEF’s enduring commitment to the indigenous child.

The convention says an indigenous child “shall not be denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group, to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practice his or her own religion, or to use his or her own language.” This resonates through UNICEF’s work for indigenous children around the world.

Indigenous children, like all other children, have the right to freely express their views in all matters affecting them.  For them to do so effectively the media needs to be supported to pay particular attention to their linguistic needs.

Doing so would also facilitate the building of bridges between indigenous and non-indigenous children and enrich a cross exchange and mutual understanding and respect for diverse cultures that humanity has been blessed with.

UNICEF has supported a number of initiatives to promote the interaction between indigenous children and the media:

Aiming to increase awareness on the rights of disadvantaged children, in 2010 young indigenous leaders alongside UNICEF Brazil National Ambassador Lazaro Ramos were instrumental in bringing messages on “childhood without racism” across the North and North East of the country through both the traditional and social media.

In Chile, UNICEF is using its assessment of the extent to which indigenous children are visible in the written press to train stakeholders such as journalists on how to sharpen their focus on specific issues.  This is being complemented by two indigenous child-centred publications which document the voices of children from the Araucania region on issues such as identity, discrimination, languages and their dreams and aspirations.

Children and the Media: A handbook for Journalists produced by UNICEF Guyana in 2007 remains a viable tool for all stakeholders in their effort to bring awareness to the media on reporting for children.

Nirmala Govinda, a child is quoted in the handbook as saying: “Even though we may criticise the media sometimes, I am seeing the positive role it is playing, or can play, for me as a student. I am able to read, hear and see what is happening in the country, the good things and the bad things. I am able to find material in the newspapers to help me to do my assignments. I am looking for the positive.”

UNICEF continues to support indigenous children and journalists, and wishes all indigenous children, their families and communities around the world A Happy International Day of the World’s Indigenous People.

Empowering Indigenous Voices