Meet Miriam: A trailblazer, lawyer and human rights defender of indigenous women
This year, the theme for International Day of Indigenous Peoples is about the role of indigenous women in the preservation and transmission of traditional knowledge.
For generations, indigenous women like Miriam Pascual Jiménez have been playing crucial roles as breadwinners, caretakers, knowledge keepers, leaders, defenders, and much more. From the preservation and transmission of traditional ancestral knowledge to the defense of indigenous peoples' lands and territories, to advocating for indigenous peoples’ collective rights at all levels, indigenous women are the backbone of their communities — and yet, they suffer from intersecting levels of discrimination and high levels of poverty.
How the UN in Mexico supports Miriam and other indigenous community leaders
In Mexico, there are 68 indigenous groups, 10 per cent of the country's total population. Its linguistic heritage includes 68 original languages, making Mexico one of the countries with the greatest linguistic diversity in the world.
The promise of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind is of crucial importance to indigenous peoples — and indigenous communities have much to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
With OHCHR, UNESCO, UN WOMEN, FAO and ILO as leading entities, the UN country team in Mexico is coordinating efforts to advancing the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind by embracing an intercultural approach that promotes diversity and centers on efforts to combat discrimination, promote inclusion, integration, and equity in access to development opportunities for indigenous communities.
They help design laws on equality and inclusion, including prior consultation with indigenous peoples; they promote intercultural education that promotes indigenous peoples' knowledge and tradition; they seek to integrate indigenous peoples, including women, in production chains.
The UN team in Mexico also encourages participation in decision-making spaces and strengthen economic empowerment and sustainable management of indigenous communities' resources, as well as knowledge management that guarantees indigenous peoples' freedom of expression and development of media and linguistic heritage.
They also help fight against different forms of violence, including against women and indigenous human rights defenders — like Miriam.
This video was produced by the UN Mexico country team. UN agencies on the ground in Mexico support indigenous communities through their joint programming to leave no one behind — as laid out in UN Mexico's recent Cooperation Framework (2020-2025), which delineates the development priorities of the Government and the UN Mexico country team, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. To learn more, visit: mexico.un.org.
Earlier this year, we shared other examples of how community leaders are helping to preserve indigenous languages and heritage and advance peacebuilding efforts by starting a communications network that enabled them to provide Internet access to remote rural areas and disseminate content in their mother tongue.