by Charlotte Eichhorn
All countries in which the Guaraní are living today have established the rights of indigenous peoples in their constitutions and they guarantee the right of prior consultation – according to Article 169 of the Convention of the International Labour Organization (ILO) – if large-scale projects such as dams and mines are planned. But in reality these rights are not guaranteed. Governmental authorities are riddled with racism and corruption. The Guaraní are therefore often defenceless, are themselves poorly organised and dependent on the support and donations of foreign non-governmental organisations (NGO‘s).
Teaching young Guaraní about their rights, some European and local NGO`s have set themselves the task:
Dra. Mariana is part of a supervision that oversees a study on the topic. During the process, it became clear how little the white population knows about the rights of indigenous peoples. Above all, there is a lack of training in the police force, the prosecutors, the teachers and also the medical profession. In these professions the intercultural situation is hardly perceived and taught.
But Dra. Mariana sees as well - when she compares nowadays situation with the one 25 years ago - that in the white population, the awareness of multiculturalism has grown and the young Guaraní know their rights, organise themselves more efficiently to implement and demand them.