Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Closing of the Intercultural University "Amawtay Wasi" in Ecuador

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The decommissioning of the Intercultural University of Nationalities and Indigenous Peoples "Amawtay Wasi " constitutes a violent assault on all the progress achieved ​​by the indigenous movement in Ecuador during recent times and throughout their struggles.

These regressive actions, manifested in the systematic closure of community schools, violate the rights of indigenous peoples; the Intercultural Bilingual Education System, in centralizing indigenous children in the so-called experimental "Millennium Schools" manifest  the disappearance of bilingual intercultural teaching institutes, nullifying the training of teachers with identity and intercultural perspective and; of course the final closing of the intercultural University of Nationalities and Indigenous Peoples "Amawtay Wasi" respond to this plan, because this institution of Nations and Peoples shares a formation from the diversity of knowledge and wisdom from the content and methodology of indigenous peoples, with the accompaniment of its thinkers and their commitment, critical of the standardization of the universality of science. This University is committed to recovering the epistemology of indigenous peoples, their community system as an alternative proposal to the crisis of civilization in the western world and its economic model.
It is paradoxical  that the Intercultural University of Nationalities and Indigenous Peoples "Amawtay Wasi" is closed, but at the same time four Eurocentric and colonialist universities are created, one of them with a plagiarized indigenous name. The purpose of these schools is to revive the neo-indigenismo of the 1950s, which means essentially the re-colonization of Nationalities and Indigenous peoples and their cultural, economic, social and political assimilation, and their dismantling and disappearance as diverse first Nations. This means ethnocide through the imposition of the liberal project of individual citizenship, to convert them to fringe elements of the consumer society, against the "threat" of thought and the ancient community life that persists to this day. It is a clear demonstration of discriminatory and racist action that comes from hatred and intolerance towards the indigenous movement and its members.

We are aware that a supposed "evaluation" was used as a technical pretext to argue that the score required for continuity was not reached. However, it is necessary to know if the evaluation assessment model included minimum standards and criteria for the evaluation of intercultural perspectives, and "technicians” with academic experience and knowledge of research on inter-culturalism, or if the same assessment tools that were used that apply only to classical Western-style universities.
 Therefore we demand the immediate review and opening of the Intercultural University of Nationalities and Indigenous Peoples "Amawtay Wasi", and its normal operation in accordance with the rights of indigenous peoples contained in the Constitution of the Republic, and international standards guaranteeing the fundamental rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The State is obligated to ensure the functioning of the University allocating the budget to meet the requirements according to the plans and programs as well as academic staff from the Nationalities and Peoples in accordance with the provisions of the ILO Convention 169 ILO, that states in Article 27 paragraph 1 "In addition, governments shall recognize the right of these peoples to establish their own educational institutions and facilities , provided that such institutions meet minimum standards established by the competent authority in consultation with these peoples. Appropriate resources shall be provided for this purpose." Similarly the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Article 14 provides: "Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, consistent with their cultural methods of teaching and learning".  The Intercultural University of Nationalities and Indigenous Peoples "Amawtay Wasi " has become a reference and example in the educational experience and academic process for the Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the world.

For these reasons we demand that the respective Ecuadoran institutions immediately resume the academic activities of the Intercultural University of Nationalities and Indigenous Peoples "Amawtay Wasi" that is by right theirs as Nationalities and Indigenous Peoples within a Plurinational and Intercultural State, and the respect merited by indigenous communities as well as national and international society.

Quito, Ecuador, November 22, 2013

Save the Intercultural University of Indígenous Peoples "Amawtay Wasi"

To be delivered to:
Martha Tabares, Interamerican Commission of Human Rights

Pluriversidad Indígena Amawtay Wasi: PRESENTE!

For more information on Amawtay Wasi

Embassy of Indigenous Peoples

a TONATIERRA project