On Wednesday, October 11, 2023, Ms. Marissa del Rosario Blackett, Counsellor, delivered an intervention on the rights of indigenous peoples.
She emphasized the critical role of promoting the rights of indigenous peoples in the context of justice, environmental sustainability, and global harmony. Ms. Blackett highlighted the historical challenges faced by indigenous communities, including discrimination and dispossession of ancestral lands and resources. Despite these challenges, their traditional knowledge and practices position them as essential stewards of ecological knowledge, contributing to sustainable resource management, biodiversity preservation, and climate change mitigation.
Especially significant is the frontline role of indigenous communities in areas most vulnerable to climate change impact, providing valuable insights into adaptation and mitigation strategies. Ms. Blackett stressed the necessity of integrating local knowledge and sustainable practices into the global response to climate change.
Addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Ms. Blackett pointed out the disproportionate vulnerabilities faced by indigenous communities and stressed the responsibility to implement targeted policies to address inequalities in healthcare, education, and economic opportunities. Notably, Malteser International Americas was highlighted for its dedicated work with the Indigenous Wayuu people in northern Colombia and Venezuela, supporting their access to essential services and promoting lasting and sustainable development. The approach aligns with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, emphasizing the importance of informed consent on matters affecting these communities.
Ms. Blackett concluded by underlining the intrinsic link between the well-being of indigenous peoples and the well-being of the planet. Advocating for environmental stewardship, Ms. Blackett emphasized the need to advance indigenous human rights and their demand for social justice.