- August 11, 2021

On the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, celebrated on 9 August 2021, the Steering Committee of the Indigenous People with Disabilities Global Network (IPWDGN), would like to remind us of the importance of this day. 

Olga Montúfar, Co-Chair of the IPWDGN, shares what is happening in Latin America. Particularly, the importance of how it will take a change in mindset to achieve full rights for indigenous people with disabilities.

Picture of Olga Montúfar, Co-Chair of the IPWDGN

Olga Montúfar, Co-Chair of the IPWDGN

“The United Nations General Assembly, on 17 February 1995, through its resolution A/RES/49/214, decided that the 9 August would be the day to celebrate the International Day of Indigenous Populations. 2021 will be a celebration with several nuances – today we are facing a global crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and a greater number of challenges to human rights. 

Indigenous people with disabilities are concerned. Despite all of the recommendations that have been made by numerous United Nations mechanisms and core international human rights instruments, the enormous gap in the protection of our human rights continue to persist.

In most countries in Latin America and the Caribbean we have non-inclusive systems. They continue under a paradigm of the normal that is exclusive and that reinforces structural violence towards our collective. To be able to tackle it, you have to focus on those of us outside the system. In order to eliminate this equality gap, it is necessary to prioritize our concerns. We must be involved in designing and implementing public policies, programs, and actions that include society from our indigenous cosmovision and our identity as people with disabilities.

Today, the position of indigenous people with disabilities has been naturalized as a group of persons that depend on others or are in need of permanent protection. That is why we remain isolated and invisible. 

The IPWDGN recognizes the work done by IDA as it is raising the issues and rights of every group, respecting their individualism. We recognize their support. 

We have seen how segregation can be justified – how this can act like paternalism. The idea of the "poor one" who cannot achieve things, and will suffer in the regular system.

This influences indigenous people with disabilities who come from that segregated system. It can make it harder to be included in society and live autonomously because they have not been given the tools.

In this commemoration of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples it is necessary to continue reflecting, evaluating progress, and taking action. To truly ensure that indigenous people with disabilities enjoy the same rights as all human beings, everywhere.”

Manase Ntutu, Co-Chair of the IPWDGN, reminds us of the importance of having inclusive policy making programming and implementation. 

Picture of Manase Ntutu, Co-Chair of the IPWDGNManase Ntutu, Co-Chair of the IPWDGN

“I am very happy to welcome the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples as a human being with diverse characteristics and identities including being an indigenous person with disabilities. 

I strongly recommend that the participation and inclusion of indigenous persons with disabilities should be central to policy making programming, implementation, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms addressing the rights of indigenous people. This is the only way that no one will be left behind, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions should be aligned with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).”

Pratima Gurung, General Secretary of the IPWDGN, reminds us that we need to include indigenous people with disabilities in order to ensure that no one is left behind.

Picture of Pratima Gurung, General Secretary, Indigenous Person with Disabilities Global Network

Pratima Gurung, General Secretary, Indigenous Person with Disabilities Global Network

“While celebrating the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, it is time to discuss the fact that states and other relevant stakeholders should provide a space, mechanisms and enabling environments to discuss, debate and to ensure the individual (UN CRPD) and collective rights (UN DRIP) of indigenous peoples with disabilities. These mechanisms help us to come together, intersect and they impact us in various forms.

The discourse from an intersectional lens from the UN CRPD and UN DRIP has to be initiated at all levels to ensure that we are leaving no one behind.” 

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