New book on teenage suicide among indigenous peoples in Latin America
The continuous discrimination against indigenous peoples, drastic changes in their environment, the systematic violation of their rights and the exclusion from decisions that affect their future, have traumatic individual and collective consequences for indigenous peoples. One response to this situation of hopelessness seems to be the increase in suicide among indigenous children and young people.
Although the population of Latin America has a comparatively low rate of suicide on a global scale, the rate of suicide by indigenous youth ranks among the highest of different population groups in the region. The figure of suicide for the indigenous Guarani in Brazil is for example 30 times higher than the national average. The rate of indigenous youth suicide is alarmingly increasing, as documented by a new UNICEF report. The report titled “Suicidio adolecente en pueblos indígenas - Tres estudios de caso” offers three case studies containing comparative descriptions and analysis of suicide among young indigenous Awajún (Peru), Guarani (Brazil) and Embera (Colombia) peoples. The research, which was coordinated by the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), focus on conveying the view of indigenous youth in order to seek a closer understanding of this painful situation. The book was presented in New York at a side event about indigenous children during the 11th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and can be obtained from the regional offices of UNICEF in Latin America. It can also be freely downloaded as a pdf document from IWGIA’s website.