From Cerrito to Bruselas

Just days after the end of the Trinational Meeting of the Gran Chaco Women's Collective, the indigenous leader of the Qom people of Cerrito in the Paraguayan Chaco, Bernarda Pessoa, left for Brussels, Belgium, to participate in the EU-LAC Forum, on July 13 and 14. On the occasion, a public declaration was issued, which included the main proposals for the EU-CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Summit.

Bernarda received a personal invitation from the event organisers, in which they mentioned the importance of her participation, given her trajectory as an environmental, territorial and human rights defender. She thanked the Avina Foundation for her great support, which provided her with the logistical backing for her travel and accommodation and her participation in the event.





The leader spoke about the experience of the women of the American Chaco and digitisation. She mentioned the importance of connectivity in rural and indigenous territories to strengthen research, defence and access to land, water and management with public institutions and organisations. She also discussed the need for financing to reach more territories and the importance of technological equipment. She stated that we must continue to focus on youth and women.

Bernarda explained that indigenous autonomy is essential in all endeavours, and, in that sense, she called for a leading role for the communities in all projects, programs and initiatives with institutions and organisations that can carry out actions from the local, national and international levels.

“I felt very good because I was invited to this important activity, but there should be more participation of civil society and indigenous peoples,” said Bernarda.

Finally, she commented that she partook in enriching dialogues and reflections on the need to continue working for gender equality and equal opportunities for indigenous women.


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