by Kelly Rogge
One of democracy’s greatest gifts is the idea that citizens have the power to vote and bring about change. To showcase that idea, Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Henry Louis Center for Global Transitional Justice plans to commemorate the United Nations Indigenous Peoples Day in September on the KCKCC main campus.
Ewa Unoke, a political science professor at KCKCC and director of the Henry Louis Center, said when the Charter of the United Nations was originally signed in San Francisco almost 70 years ago, colonized countries throughout the world won the legal right to self-determination. But in reality, he said, the first and original peoples or ethnic nations of Africa, Antarctica, Australia, Asia, Europe and North and South America did not earn such rights of representation at the U.N.
The Indigenous Peoples Day event is from 10 a.m. to noon Sept. 13 in Room 2325 at KCKCC, 7250 State Ave.
“If the artificially created countries have the right of membership to the United Nations, then the original ethnic nations ought to have the right of representation in an ethnic united nations,” Unoke said. “While the U.N. diplomats represent their national governments, the ethnic citizens of their countries are not represented.”
On Sept. 13, 2007, the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of the World. Unoke said for those involved with the Henry Louis Center, it’s time to end the economic, social and political exclusion of the original ethnic nations. He said the center’s Ethnic United Nations project is a radical, but forward-looking concept – mobilize interested citizens with human rights, restorative justice views to review and adopt a covenant on the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples and to establish a global parliament or forum where common issues affecting the ethnic peoples are debated and action taken to ameliorate such problems.
“The idea is to invite indigenous peoples and human rights activists to represent their original ethnic nations and vote to convene an annual conference which will incrementally lead towards establishing an ethnic united nations,” Unoke said.
For more information or to make a reservation for the event, contact professor Ewa Unoke at 913-288-7119 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.