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In memory of Rodolfo Stavenhagen

November 7 2016
From IWGIA we extend our deepest condolences for the death of Rodolfo Stavenhagen, which have also been expressed by many institutions, academics and indigenous organisations.

Undoubtedly, Rodolfo Stavenhagen has been one of the most emblematic academics in the defense of indigenous peoples’ rights worldwide.
 
Rodolfo Stavenhagen was an emeritus professor and researcher at El Colegio in Mexico and President of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences (FLACSO). In 2001, he was appointed Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, a mandate created by the UN Commission on Human Rights that same year. Threfore, he acted as the first Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples until 2007.

As UN Rapporteur, he elaborated important thematic reports and made visits to different countries, where he received information on the situation of the rights of indigenous peoples and established a direct dialogue with states about their implementation. As the first Rapporteur his work was crucial. It strengthened the relevance of the mandate within the human rights system of the United Nations and built the foundation for the next Rapporteurs to develop their work.

Throughout his career, Stavenhagen also held other important positions. He acted as Deputy Director General of the Organization of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) and founded the Center for Sociological Studies of El Colegio in Mexico. His publications have been crucial to the field of  Latin American social sciences, including Seven erroneous theses about Latin America (1965) and The Ethnic Question: Conflicts, Development, and Human Rights (2001).
 
Rodolfo Stavenhagen and his work with IWGIA

IWGIA had a close collaboration with Stavenhagen for many years. We had the privilege of his presence in various seminars and counted with his valuable collaborations in many of our publications. Particularly relevant was his support to the process of construction of autonomy in Mexico, reflected in the book Mexico: Experiences of Indigenous Autonomy (here you can read the prologue in Spanish). Of great importance was also his collaboration in the edition of the book Making the Declaration Work: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
 
In 2007 and for the occasion of the completion of his mandate, IWGIA had the opportunity to document his visit to Bolivia. Also in 2014 he was interviewed by IWGIA’s radio. In that opportunity Stavenhagen reflected with José Aylwin the reasons why there is a tension between the recognition of indigenous peoples’ rights and economic development strategies in Latin America.

Honoring his memory, enormous legacy and commitment to the recognition of indigenous peoples' rights, we share with you all his collaborations with IWGIA:



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