Symposium Indigenous Peoples, Water and Human Rights: Dialoguing Encounters

Symposium Indigenous Peoples, Water and Human Rights: Dialoguing Encounters

Last 4th October 2022 we organized the Symposium Indigenous Peoples, Water and Human Rights: Dialoguing Encounters. The aim of this Symposium was to trigger a south-north intercultural dialogue on the values of water and its potential to contribute to global debates on governance and human rights. The event took place at Casa de América (Madrid) and it also occurs online through the Zoom platform with Spanish-English interpretation.

The Symposium started with the screening of the short-Muu Palaa, la abuela mar, co-directed by Olowaili Green Santacruz and Luzbeidy Monterrosa, from SentARTE Productions.


Afterwards the Special Issue Indigenous Water Values and Practices in the journal Social Sciences & Humanities Open (Elsevier) was presented by Manuel May, indigenous researcher from the Yucatan Peninsula-Mexico, Lieselotte Viaene, Principal Investigator of the RIVERS-UC3M project, and Karla Medrano (online participation), Scientific Editor of Elsevier’s Social Sciences & Humanities Open.

We prosecuted with the presentation of the NU report Human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation of indigenous peoples: State of affairs and lessons from ancestral cultures, by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation Pedro Arrojo-Agudo.

We moved on with the panel discussion Indigenous values of water, in which we relied on the vision and experience of: Juan Castro, Indigenous Lawyer of Guatemala, Legal Coordinator of the Law Firm for Indigenous Peoples; Binota Dhamai, Chair of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for 2022-2023, member of the indigenous community (Jumma – Tripura) of the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh; Minket Lepcha, Documentary filmmaker and defender of the rivers of India, winner of the Young Green Filmmaker 2016 at the Woodpecker International Film Festival for his film Voices of Teesta.


At the end of the panel discussion, we incorporated reflections from the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID) with the intervention of the Director of Cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean Laura Oroz.


The Symposium came to an end with Minket Lepcha and the screening of her short film Voices of Teesta, a short version presented at the 2018 World Water Forum.

The Symposium counted with Digno Montalván, researcher UC3M-RIVERS, as master of ceremony; Enrique Ojeda, general director of Casa de América and Lieselotte Viaene were in charge of giving the words of welcome; and the dialogue in the panel discussion was leaded by Manuel May.

To download the symposium agenda link



Ana Paula García Nieto – RIVERS Project manager (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)

Ana Garcia