The first day couldn’t have started better than it had: all the honorable delegates came into the conference keen on discussing both the engaging topics regarding the strengthening of the human rights of returnees and internally displaced people, and also the dilemmas and problematic issues that indigenous societies are facing in this day and age. Although they had to take the tough decision of choosing just one topic to discuss about for today, it seemed that the majority was drawn more towards the second topic: indigenous societies.
And so the debate began…and to no surprise, they all seem to agree on the moderated caucuses regarding the solutions that should be implemented in today’s society about the integration of indigenous people. As the delegate of Cuba stated, every country deals with the problem of indigenous societies. As a result, the measures they have decided on to implement are quite similar. A common element in the moderated caucus inquired by the delegate of Latvia regarding the measures of protecting the rights of the indigenous people is education. By education they mean establishing programs available for every single individual on local level that will, eventually, flourish globally. Not only is the education about cultural diversity important for non-indigenous people in order for them to see things more clearly from a different perspective, but access to it is also extremely vital for the indigenous children since they represent the future of our generation. The delegate of Ethiopia came up with the proposal of implementing semi-autonomous institutes that would provide indigenous children the opportunity to study in their mother-language, and in this way preserving their language, culture and traditions.
Their assimilation should also be made in a very specific way so that their cultural heritage would not be wiped away by ignoring the differences between the civilizations. So as important as treating every single individual with the same amount of respect and equal share of opportunities, without facing any sort of discrimination, the preservation of their cultural identity should be kept in mind, as the delegate of the United Kingdom has stated. At the end of the day, it’s not about who is right or wrong, it’s about multiple people who are fighting for the same goal.
By Lucia Roznov, Human Rights Council Press Officer