Professor Rodolfo Stavenhagen was the first Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People appointed by the United Nations.

In his 2004 Annual Report, he focused on the Right to Education of indigenous peoples. He concluded that “The main obstacle to full enjoyment of the right to education has been assimilationist models of education and education systems’ ignorance of or failure to appreciate indigenous languages and cultures” and that,

“Indigenous education, adapted to indigenous peoples’ cultures and values, is the best way of ensuring the right to education; it does not mean shutting out the outside world or ignoring the challenges posed by national societies or the global economy, but is in fact viewed by indigenous communities themselves as a necessary tool for the full personal, social and cultural development of aboriginal peoples.” 

The Rutu Foundation is committed to helping indigenous peoples achieve the full enjoyment of their right to education and we would like to express our gratitude for the work of Professor Stavenhagen on which we may continue to build.


Rutu director Ellen-Rose Kambel with Prof. Stavenhagen (Paris, 2011)

See: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, Rodolfo Stavenhagen, E/CN.4/2005/88, 6 January 2005, paras. 86 and 88.

New York leading the way?


Great news from the city that never sleeps! Nobody will deny that New York is a great example of America’s richness in cultural and linguistic diversity. This diversity is reflected in the city’s school system, as it continues its multilingual makeover by expanding the number of bilingual programs. In September 2016, 29 Dual Language Programs in Spanish, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Arabic, Polish will be launched at schools in New York. Over the past years, the number of bilingual programs have been steadily increasing, bringing the total now to 180 different programs.

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|Lees Christella’s verhaal in het Nederlands|

It is late afternoon. A sharp April wind cuts into my face. As I get off the tram, I see a middle-aged woman approaching me. A while later, lost at the Oostende coast, I would ask the same woman the way. The woman stopped, like she was trying to imagine all the different scenarios that could have possibly led to this moment. She looks at me inquisitively, and asks: “Are you from Surinam or something?”

Ok, I had not expected this.

Following up on her question she added: “Because your Dutch is so good!” Continue Reading