Thursday, 23 October 2014

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(Obselete) News

Refugee camps struggle as winter has entered

 Photo: UNICEF/Jordan-2012/Khaled Al Masri

With cold winds and snow falling and settling on the ground, it is a time of joy for most of us, as we sit inside, drinking hot beverages and look out our windows on the peaceful landscape, digesting christmas.

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Media plays vital role in empowering indigenous rights – UN experts

anaya In light of this year’s theme “Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices”, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, have stressed the vital role that media can play in the respect for, and the promotion and protection of, indigenous peoples’ rights.

The right of indigenous peoples to establish their own media in their own languages is a key right in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (article 16). The Expert Mechanism, in its 2012 study on indigenous peoples’ languages and cultures, highlights that media can be an essential tool for the revitalisation of indigenous languages, especially in the education of indigenous children.

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The Sami: one people, four countries

creative commons -     John BoydThe Sami are the indigenous people living in the northern-most reaches of Europe, in Sápmi, which stretches across the northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Kola Peninsula. They are a minority in today’s Finland, Russia, Sweden and Norway, but a majority in the innermost parts of Finnmark County in Norway and in the municipality of Utsjoki in Finland. There are different estimates of how large the Sami population, from 70,000 to 135,000 since there are few common criteria of what "being a Sámi" constitutes. The most common estimates are that there are between 40 and 60,000 Sami in Norway, 20,000 in Sweden, 7,500 in Finland and 2,000 in Russia.

However, although regarded as one people, there are several kinds of Sami based on their patterns of settlement and how they sustain themselves. Furthermore, their rights and general situation differ considerably depending on the nation state within which they live.

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The Sami through their own perspective

creative commons - norske samers riksforbund3It is an uphill struggle anywhere in the world for media outlets that cater to a small population of around 100,000 souls, but for the Sami media there is an even bigger challenge: the Sami are dispersed between three of the Nordic countries and speak at least six quite different dialogues.

“It is important for us Sami to have media in our own language,” says Kari Lisbeth Hermansen, editor of the newspaper Avvir.

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People without a language are like a kayak without skin

Greenland1The population of Greenland is only be about 60,000 or roughly the same as European cities such as Gladsaxe in Denmark or Järfälla in Sweden, Torquay in England or St Nazaire in France. In terms of population Greenland may be a dwarf, but geographically speaking it is a giant of 2.2 million square kilmeters or almost four times the size of France – Western Europe’s biggest country.

As if this does not provide enough challenges, Greenlanders and the local media have to cope with unfavourable climatic conditions and geographical factors such as glaciers, ice and mountains and lack of infrastructure.

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