For almost 30 years, Brazilian activist Joenia Wapixana, has been fighting for indigenous land rights and against “institutionalized discrimination” in Brazil. In a special interview with UN News, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, she says it’s time to dedicate more resources to this fight.
I believe that when a person has suffered racial discrimination, or is suffering from racism, it is necessary to protect them with the fullest extent of the law. Report the incident, even if nothing comes of it. It is important for us to create a record of this phase that we are going through.
The Conference should also hold discussions on the inclusion of indigenous peoples in the debate on public policy, because it is essential to include in the fight the specific needs of the various groups.
Resources and not just legislation [should be made available]. Because from the moment you recognize the problem, but you don’t have the structure in place to solve it with the financial resources to implement [the policy], you will end up suffering from the same discrimination, and in the same situation that you faced at the first Conference.”
This article is one of a series of multimedia features published as part of the commemorations surrounding the twentieth anniversary of the UN’s Durban Declaration, considered to be a milestone in the global fight against racism.