DECLARATION: Right to communicate, indigenous peoples and minority languages

The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) welcomes the International day of the World Indigenous Peoples, which is held every August 9th, and, in particular, the theme of 2012 set by the General Assembly of the United Nations: "Indigenous media: empowering the indigenous voices" within the framework of the Decade for action and dignity.

Since 1994, the International day of the World Indigenous Peoples is held every August 9th worldwide. The General Assembly of the United Nations marks this milestone to raise awareness about the serious situation in which are living more than 500 million indigenous people throughout the world and to promote the implementation by the governments of the United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Indigenous peoples are the most impoverished and stripped sectors of the globalization era. We urge for a full respect of the integrity and life of indigenous peoples who are fighting for the right to land. This right is a fundamental right to culture that represents integrated and fair values and forms of development in concordance with the Earth, whose sovereignty lies in the value of their forms of development often conflicting with hegemonic cultural models.

With regards to this international day, it is essential to express the support of the global network of community radio stations to the thousands of indigenous community radios; to the indigenous peoples who suffer from the marginalization and the prohibition of their right to express themselves in their own languages. The defense of cultural diversity and the expression of minority languages or legally hidden languages is a prerequisite for the effective recognition of the condition of those peoples and the right to self-determination, which will make the effective exercise of citizenship of the indigenous populations possible.

We affirm that the effective exercise of the right to communicate makes the languages of each people a form of exercise of the individual and collective identity right that makes the right to access to radio and television frequencies a preferential right for the less powerful groups that make up the cultural and ethnic diversity of all territories and peoples of the world.

In today's world the defense of culture as part of one’s identity requires spaces and media, supplementing the pluralism that allows the survivance of values that each community and culture lives and own. Therefore, we support the indigenous peoples’ right to communicate so they have access on equal terms to a community radio.

The World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) considers that any recognition of the dignity of the indigenous peoples, in any part of the world will not be be complete if it does not ensure the conditions for the full exercise of the right to communicate, because the full realization of this right is an essential part of cultural sovereignty, which allows the full participation in the public space.

It is to ensure pluralism in the media with community media as spaces for the participation for those who, by their ethnic status, are often marginalized and disparaged.

AMARC asks governments to include indigenous peoples as social actors of the media systems, recognized in their autonomy and fights in defense of their rights that are being held all over the world. AMARC also greets the thousands of radios on every continent that are staring a communication that gives place to the expression of the cultural diversity which they represent.

World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), on August 9th, 2012