When I first saw Anita and her husband Tek in the lobby of our Hotel in New York (they checked-in minutes after me), I knew that they would be new members of our Tribal Link spiritual family; they exuded an aura of sincerity, purpose, and humility.....and it made me immediately relaxed in their presence, as if we had known each other before...though now meeting for the first time in this life.
Indeed, they had come to receive the all important Project Access training course uniquely offered by the Tribal Link Foundation - and facilitated by some of the most respected Indigenous Rights experts in the world today (the trainers). Assisting the trainers were myself, Ghazali Ohorella, Tai Pellicier & Carl Hutchby, ALL Alumni/past graduates of the program who have gone on to use the 'tools of knowledge' we gained in our own Project Access training - to positive effect all over the indigenous Fourth World, we even formed a Global entity specifically dedicated to members of our Tribal Link spiritual Family and the dedicated work we have committed ourselves to do in appreciation for the training we were able to attain via generous sponsorship of the good works being done by the Tribal Link Foundation.
I remember sitting with Anita in the UN headquarters as she nervously read and re-read the statement she was prepared to read on behalf of the Group, her first chance passed - due to no fault of hers - when the allotted time ran out (because States took longer than the 'considerate' amount of time they SHOULD have kept to), then it happened a second time and my heart sank in my chest as I could FEEL the disappointment in Anitas auric field, her devoted husband Tek tried his best to keep her spirits up....'don't worry sister (I told her) - even if you do not get to read I will make a news article of it and your presence here WILL be recorded for posterity!"...Anita smiled, but then she let me know the negative comments she had been told before she left Nepal to come to the UN....comments such as "Oh you probably will never get a chance to read anything".....which unfortunately, IS often quite true....I have seen in my many times at the UN that the majority who travel here from all over the world to attend the UNFII (a few thousand indigenous persons) truly do NOT get a single opportunity to read any statements at the UN.....it is just a case of too many people and too little time, and it certainly does NOT help when Government representatives take up a considerable chuck of what should be OUR time - and then add insult to injury by going OVER their time and speaking for 5 minutes or more - thereby eroding even more of the time LEFT for Indigenous peoples to speak.
But fortune smiled on Anita - and her name was called to read her statement, we all scrambled to gather behind her to show our support, solidarity, and love for Anita as she read.....and she read beautifully and within the 3 minute time we were trained to stick to (in respect to others)....we had expected nothing less from Anita, even in her first practice reading of the statement in the Training she read it flawlessly and well within time.
Anita is definitely a success story for the voice of the indigenous in Nepal!
Anita Gurung is a representative of the Association of Nepalese Indigenous Nationalities Journalists (ANIJ), which is an umbrella organization of 1700 indigenous media persons engaged in various mainstream media houses, and also alternative media across Nepal (members represent their respective indigenous communities.
Some indigenous communities in Nepal are relatively prosperous by national standards, however, the majority of communities are still living in dire conditions - and have remained oppressed and suppressed.
Key roles and responsibilities of ANIJ include: Providing leadership for indigenous journalists, mainstreaming indigenous issues and promoting alternative media, indigenous rights advocacy, capacity building on human rights issues and human rights instruments for indigenous peoples such as UNDRIP; and also research of various kinds.
HERE IS THE STATEMENT ANITA READ AT THE UN:
United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Fourteenth Session, New York City, 20th April - 1st May 2015
Agenda Item 3a. Follow-up on the 'Outcome of the high-level plenary meeting (HLPM) of the General Assembly - known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples'.
Intervention on behalf of participants in the Project Access Capacity Building program (Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, and the Pacific) at the 14th Session of the UNPFII including the Tribal Link Foundation Inc., the United Confederation of Taino People, the Caribbean Amerindian Development Organization, the Pacific Disability Forum, Akali Tanga Association, Saniri Alifuru, Bangladesh Indigenous Women's Network, Dewan Adat Papua, Tamu Bauddha Sewa Samiti Nepal, and the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People.
Presented by: Anita Gurung
Klhesode Prihsode Chhyajalo
Thank you Madam Chair,
Madam Chair, Indigenous Peoples from 5 regions of the world participating in the 'Project Access Training for Indigenous Peoples' held in New York from April 15-17th 2015, fully endorses the outcome document from the World Conference and the the long standing position of Indigenous Peoples - to implement their rights enshrined in the UN Declaration.
We further appreciate the commitments and reaffirmations made by member States and UN agencies, however we are concerned that much work remains to be done for the full implementation of the outcome document within the United Nations.
On paragraph 27, there is currently no mechanism or process for the international repatriation of ceremonial items and ancestral remains. This ongoing human rights violation is of profound concern to many Indigenous Peoples from all regions - and should be included in the recommendations under this agenda item.
With reference to paragraphs 28 and 33, we reaffirm the recommendations made in, and fully endorse the report of, the 'Open-ended meeting of indigenous peoples on the follow-up to the WCIP' held in Geneva, Switzerland; from March 3-5 2015.
Regarding paragraph 31 on the development of a system-wide action plan, the UN system must ensure the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in this process in accordance with Article 18 of the UN Declaration.
In this regard we reiterate previous calls for partnership and mutual respect between States and Indigenous Peoples, emphasizing that all parties must consult and cooperate in good faith with Indigenous Peoples allowing equal, direct and meaningful participation.
We therefore recommend:
First, the Permanent Forum to closely monitor and assess the implementation of recommendations enshrined in the Outcome Document of the WCIP as a recurring agenda item for the next sessions.
Secondly, towards the international repatriation of ceremonial items and ancestral remains, we recommend that this Forum call upon the UN Expert Mechanism, in the context of its current study on cultural heritage, to include next steps for implementation of Paragraph 27 of the Outcome Document.
Madam Chair, we appeal to the member states and UN system to recognize the full and effective
participation of indigenous peoples in the implementation of the outcome document, by doing so we are confident that we can achieve the world we want!
Orchhe! Thank you.
I also asked Anita 3 important questions at the end of her training - here there are with her answers included:
Question 1 How did you personally benefit from the Project Access Training? Did it give you a better understanding of the UN process for example?
ANITA READING THE GROUP STATEMENT AT THE UN
Anita participating in a peaceful display of solidarity at the UN of the 47 abducted Mexican Indigenous students from Ayotzinapa in Mexico