Human Rights Conference: Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Stateless Persons

| April 18, 2013
From Greg Constantine

An estimated 30,000 children of Filipino and Indonesian descent in Malaysia’s Sabah state are stateless or at risk of statelessness. They have little access to social services or to the school system. As a result, many children begin work at an early age in places such as the fish market in the capital, Kota Kinabalu. Photo courtesy of Greg Constantine, whose “Nowhere People: The World’s Stateless” photo exhibit is part of the 2013 Webster University Human Rights Conference.

Webster University’s annual human rights conference this year focuses on the rights of indigenous peoples and stateless persons.

The purpose of international human rights is to give every person the chance to live a dignified life. These rights include the right to a nationality, as well as freedom from discrimination and protections for culture and group identities. Despite these rights, approximately 12 million people around the world do not have legal citizenship to any country and are therefore stateless.

Indigenous peoples also continue to struggle for recognition as distinct nations and protect their rights to self-determination, culture, and identity. In both cases, indigenous peoples and stateless persons seek recognition of their “right to have rights.”

Webster’s annual human rights conferenc is focusing on these pressing human rights challenges. Conference participants include indigenous chiefs, scholars, activists, journalists, and people who have experienced statelessness firsthand. The conference will also include several representatives from Webster’s worldwide campuses. The conference is sponsored by Webster’s Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies. It is free and open to the public, but requires registration.

The two-day conference takes place in the East Academic Building at Webster’s home campus in Webster Groves. Topics include:

  • The Displaced People of Burma
  • Unrecognized “ghost” tribes in the United States
  • Anthropological Perspectives on Indigenous Rights
  • Israel & Palestine: Issues of Refugees & Stateless Persons
  • Indigenous Rights and the American Indian Movement
  • Experiencing Statelessness as a Banyamulenge
  • Photo Exhibition of “Nowhere People: The World’s Stateless by Greg Constantine

Read this story at webster.edu to learn more.

Go here for a full schedule and registration.

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