Learning about Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

Thursday, March 14, 2024
By Elsa Stamatopoulou*
The Institute for the Study of Human Rights and its Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program are committed to spreading knowledge about the rights of Indigenous Peoples within Columbia and around the world. One of the Institute’s recent initiatives was to create the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Indigenous Peoples Rights with a global perspective.
In the past month, two important initiatives of our work partners were carried out that we were pleased to participate in and support.
The International Indigenous Women’s Forum, FIMI, organized a meeting in Antigua Guatemala from 27 to 29 February to evaluate its Global School on Indigenous Women’s Leadership after ten years of annual programs. The Global School has trained about 250 Indigenous women and some forty alumnae of the School from around the world participated actively in the Antigua discussions, showing again and again the profound role of this human rights-centered program for Indigenous women leaders. The Vice-President of Guatemala and the Minister of Labor, an Indigenous woman, also addressed the meeting. The Institute and its Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program annually host and organize a three-day immersion seminar as part of the Global School.
A welcome initiative took place at the United Nations from 20 February to 5 March to train state delegates and UN staff on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights. Composed of five modules, the initiative was led by Colombia and the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Participation was in-person or remote and gathered participants from New York and Geneva, among other places. The Director of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program facilitated the first module on the international normative and institutional framework of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. 
Capacity-building on Indigenous Peoples’ rights is a constant need, so that the various actors, governmental, non-governmental and Indigenous leadership, can converse and hopefully solve complex problems based on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the rich policies and precedents of international and regional bodies and courts.
*The author is the Director of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights