Dev Kumar Sunuwar appointed as advisor to UN Secretary General on UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples

Wednesday 23 December, 2020   |   Political affairs

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Dev Kumar Sunuwar appointed as advisor to UN Secretary General on UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples

United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres has appointed Indigenous Television's Chairperson Dev Kumar Sunuwar as a member of the Advisory Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, as per General Assembly resolution 40/131. Sunuwar has been selected as a representative of Indigenous Peoples of the Asia-Pacific region to advise the UN Secretary General on the use of the Fund for a three-year tenure (January 2021-December 2023).

The Advisory Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples is composed of five persons with experience on Indigenous issues. Board members are selected from different regions of the world. In addition to Sunuwar, Secretary General also appointed to Diel Mochire Mwenge from Congo, Marjolaine Etienne from Canada, Tukumminnguanq Nykjaer Olsen from Denmark and Pablo Miss from Belize to fill the board.

United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres has appointed Indigenous Television's Chairperson Dev Kumar Sunuwar as a member of the Advisory Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples.

Established in 1982, the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples has a mandate to support representatives of indigenous communities and organizations from across the world to particip ate in various UN meetings about Indigenous Peoples and their issues such as the sessions of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including the sessions of Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review and various treaty bodies.

Sunuwar is the second Nepali to be appointed as a member of the Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples. Previously, human rights attorney Shankar Limbu had served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Fund. The board is composed of five persons with experience on indigenous issues, and they are selected from different regions of the world.  

Sunuwar was a fellow at the headquarters of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland in 2010. He has been working closely with various UN bodies on Indigenous Peoples since then; and is widely regarded as a person with the knowledge about the UN's role in protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Sunuwar is currently working as the Asia-Pacific region coordinator for Cultural Survival, a United States-based non-profit organization dedicated to defending the rights of Indigenous Peoples. He has also been leading a caucus on indigenous media within the UN since 2015. He has been advocating for and contributing to giving voice to Indigenous Peoples through the UN radio and television; and providing support to the media run by indigenous communities.

Sunuwar is the second Nepali to be appointed as a member of the Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples. Previously, human rights attorney Shankar Limbu had served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Fund.

Sunwar holds a Master's degree in international laws and human rights, political science, and mass communication. He also teaches international laws at Kathmandu School of Law. Active in journalism for the last 15 years, he is also the founder of Indigenous Television, which is Nepal's first community television station run by indigenous community.

About the UN Voluntary Fund

The UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations was established by the UN General Assembly in 1985, and its primary purpose was to support representatives of indigenous communities and organizations to participate in the deliberations of the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations by providing them with financial assistance, funded by means of voluntary contributions from Governments, non-governmental organizations and other private or public entities.

Over the years, the mandate of the Fund has been expanded to support representatives of indigenous communities and organizations to participate in the sessions of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Issues, the Human Rights Council and human rights treaty bodies.

The Fund is administered by the UN General Secretary in accordance with the Financial Regulations and Rules of the UN. Trustees. The Board has the mandate to advise the Secretary-General on the use of funds. The fund is spent through the OHCHR, which also houses the secretariat of the Fund.

The Fund is administered by the UN General Secretary in accordance with the Financial Regulations and Rules of the UN. Trustees. The Board has the mandate to advise the Secretary-General on the use of funds. The fund is spent through the OHCHR, which also houses the secretariat of the Fund.

The Board of Trustees of the Fund includes five members chosen from five different regions of the world. The Fund plays a crucial role in enhancing indigenous communities' access to UN sessions, deliberations and meetings that matter for them, and their future. It also supports Indigenous Peoples to raise their voice at UN forums.

In the Board of Trustees of the Fund, Sunuwar represents a region that has a huge indigenous population. The world has an estimated 450 million indigenous people, and 350 millions of them live in the Asia-Pacific region. Most indigenous people in this region have been robbed of their rights over land, forest, and natural resources, and are suffering from poverty and systemic discrimination. They are struggling for basic education, health, and other public services.

Over the next three years, Sunuwar will play a critical role in enabling these poverty-stricken, deprived and discriminated Indigenous Peoples of the Asia-Pacific region to raise their voices at UN forums.

 


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