Sametingspresidentens tale på UNPFII

Sametingspresident Silje Karine Muotkas tale/statement på UNPFII. Den 23. sesjonen til FNs permanente forum for urfolkssaker (UNPFII) arrangeres i New York 15.-26. april 2023. Tema: “Enhancing Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination in the context of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: emphasizing the voices of Indigenous youth” (Forbedre urfolks rett til selvbestemmelse i sammenheng med FNs erklæring om urfolks rettigheter: fremheve stemmene til urfolksungdom). (Talen finnes bare på engelsk)

Giitu/Thank you madam chair

On behalf of the Sami Parliament in Norway we congratulate on your election and look forward to your strong and capable leadership!

Indigenous youth are a vital part of Indigenous Peoples’ self-determination.

Youth and children under 18 are not able to vote in elections, and young voters are in minority. Therefore we need to have mechanisms to ensure that youth are heard, if we are going to practice true self-determination.

Sámediggi has therefore established a Youth Council than is chaired by the youth themselves and the agenda is decided by the youth themselves.

Sámediggi has also established a children's forum consisting of 11 Sámi children to ensure their right to participation. These are examples on how we can strengthen the voices of youth and children

Especially Sami youth have demonstrated knowledge and courage and are perfectly able to speak for themselves. When the Norwegian supreme court ruled that the human rights of south sámi reindeer herders in Fovsen were breached, and the Norwegian government did nothing to stop the human rights breach, it was sámi youth that were in the frontlines demanding action. Our Sámi youth, with support from allies, were instrumental in ensuring that the Norwegian government admitted the human rights violation, and the need for reparations. I am tremendously proud of the Sámi young human rights defenders.

We need to continue to fight for youth to be able to take part in Indigenous rights and Indigenous knowledge. The Deatnu river has been closed for salmon fishing for three years, and the transfer of knowledge between generations can therefore not be exercised. We need a management that is based on indigenous knowledge and self-determination, otherwise sámi youth won’t be able to continue our traditions and customs.

The Samediggis children’s forum and the youth council has brought up several important issues: the lack of fulfillment of Sámi children rights, the harm of stereotypical teaching about the Sámi people in the Norwegian education system, and the lack of teaching materials in Sámi languages.


By raising these issues, the youth show us that good policy making demands youths voices. Many people say that youth are the leaders of tomorrow, but this is not true, youth are already leaders and we need to include them in decisions that affect their lives.

Thank you, ollu giitu!