Progress that destroys traditional culture, language, land and human heritage “is not development, but willful destruction”, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights said on Wednesday, in defence of indigenous peoples everywhere.
As more people are moving to cities, traditional practices are weakening among the Karen, a society of indigenous farmers in northern Thailand. In New York to speak at a commemoration for Indigenous Peoples Day, Prasert Trakansuphakon, a Sgaw Karen, described some of the traditional Karen practices to Liz Scaffidi.
Marking the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, UN Secretary-General António Guterres put a spotlight on the factors pushing indigenous people to migrate “within their countries and across international borders” despite their “profound spiritual connection to their lands and resources”.
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, is not afraid of a fight. As a young woman she joined the movement to protect her mountain homeland in the Philippines from major dam and logging projects.
But now Ms. Tauli-Corpuz finds herself on the frontline of a new battle, as she told Dianne Penn in this latest episode of the UN Gender Focus podcast.