It’s a rude awakening for the innocent, but international institutions like the UN are every bit as deceitful and disingenuous as its member states and the transnational corporations they represent. Attacking the UN and other bodies charged with guarding human rights for dereliction of duty or hypocrisy is not always a popular task, but it is more effective than meekly seeking accommodation in activities designed by the UN for keeping indigenous leadership removed from the action.
Since 2007 when UNDRIP was acclaimed, the UN has allowed special rapporteurs to report on atrocities, but simultaneously excludes indigenous delegates from seats at the table where policies and practices are determined. By lending the appearance of concern, the UN can then pretend to be a neutral and fair broker, while in reality it is supporting development as devised by transnational corporations. When one is deceived into thinking the UN operates from principles of fairness, then one is seduced into thinking diplomacy is the only appropriate response. When one realizes it is operating from a colonial zero sum gameplan, the strategy and tactics needed change significantly.
As journalists, we have to set the parameters of the conflict in more realistic terms so that activists and scholars can be more helpful to those whose lives and cultures are at stake. Old hands understand this, but for many young people deciding how to participate, this unofficial, unembedded narrative is important.