Unheard Voices

Throughout the entire COP16 conference although I’m a bit late, freedom of speech has not reigned freely as it should. Indigenous voices and voices of the youth have been stifled.

A rally in Mexico was planned and attended by 1,500 people from more than 40 countries who were from all walks of life, young and old. They planned to march all the way from downtown Cancún to the COP16 venue of Moon Palace. Before they could reach their intended destination they were halted by at least 500 shield-armed federal police who had made a barricade. There was thankfully no violence involved and no one hurt but the reason for this was because there were too many international activists and press involved.

Another was a staged event where youths stood outside in front of where the plenary meeting was taking place and counted one by one planning to reach 21,000 which is the number of deaths that have occurred this year due to climate change alone. They were stopped short at 2,221 when UN security pushed those taking part onto a bus and whisked them away.

The peaceful protest was a result of rightful impatience, inaction and compromises from governments. There were also indigenous peoples who wanted to voice their opinion at COP16 but were refused entry into the venue.

What is confusing me is that the UN is a high advocator of freedom of speech but at UN events like these they are stifled because it might be ‘distressing’ for delegates to see or hear. There is nothing happy or consonant to hear about climate change so reasons like those are inadequate as well as stupid.

We need to hear things like this and we need opinions from the people themselves. Governments are bodies that we the people have elected who we expect to make the most justifiable choice that is best for us. Despite that fact, the government is comprised of people in business suits who live in cities and are most likely not experiencing the full force of what is to come from climate change.

Youth and indigenous people of the world are the ones who will get the full brunt of it, why are we suppressing what delegates should hear and see? We need action and we need action on the right issues. How would you know what is directly impacting the people of your country or world if you are suppressing and stifling their voice?

Regardless of what has happened yesterday on the last day of COP16 progress has been made even if it was questionable progress. REDD+ is one of them, it is an issue that has been ill received with raucous attention from people around the world which I will follow up as to why soon.

To read a followup post click here.

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5 comments
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