Monday, 15 May 2017
MEET PRATIMA GURUNG - THE NEPALI INDIGENOUS WOMAN WHO HELPED TO GIVE A GLOBAL VOICE TO PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES AT UNPFII 2017
I first met Pratima Gurung in New York attending the 16th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at UN Headquarters, as a student of the Tribal Link Foundation Project Access Training Program; it is taught by world famous and respected Indigenous Rights expert Andrea Carmen of the International Indian Treaty Council/IITC, and co-mentored by Ghazali Ohorella (Alifaru), Tai Pellicier (Taino-Arawak), Victor Anthony Lopez-Carmen (Yaqui & Lakota); and myself - Damon Gerard Corrie (Lokono-Arawak).
I was impressed by the deep degree of commitment to improving the lives of Indigenous Persons with Disabilities that Pratima exhibits in all aspects of her character, one could even sense it as intangibly evident in the aura about her...and it is her noble dream that indigenous persons with disabilities worldwide will all one day be able to live dignified lives.
Hearing her speak about the plight of indigenous peoples in her own country at once educates you mentally - and wounds you emotionally, it includes her own life story...and you know that her heart is in the right place as she raises your own conscious awareness of this often overlooked but vitally important aspect of the Indigenous Rights movement....and I wholeheartedly agree with her that the UN needs to understand and accept without delay - the fact that 54 million indigenous persons with disabilities exist among us, and they require...or rather - it is ESSENTIAL...that they receive separate focus and special attention....
It is a false comfort to mention statistics about how many millions are allocated by each country for persons with disabilities, because the sad truth is that in most countries 99% of these funds go to NON-Indigenous persons with disabilities - even in Nepal which has 1.4 million Indigenous persons with disabilities (out of the 40% of Nepal's National population which is Indigenous).....they are the most forgotten of the forgotten all too often....and this is UNACCEPTABLE if we want to consider ourselves to be çivilised human beings'.
I think we can all support Pratima's call for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) 2018 - to have an Agenda Item specifically for Indigenous persons with disabilities, I for one - will be looking forward to hear Pratima continue to educate the world on this important issue next year - from the hallowed halls of the UN headquarters in New York.
Pratima Gurung also travelled to Washington DC for the 29th April 2017 historic Indigenous Peoples led Peoples Climate Change protest march around the White House, it drew a crowd of 200,000 protesters according to CNN (see video clip below), and she was on the front line co-leading the march with fellow indigenous brothers & sisters from around the world (see photos below):
READ THIS INSPIRING STORY ABOUT PRATIMA FROM UN WOMEN
INDIGENOUS LED PEOPLES CLIMATE CHANGE MARCH - APRIL 29th 2017 - WASHINGTON DC
CNN AERIAL VIDEO OF CROWD ESTIMATE OF 200,000