Member & Chair of the UNPFII
Mariam joined the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, not only because it is a key space inside the United Nations, but also to illustrate the capacities of Indigenous Youth and Women. For her, to be at the UNPFII, it is not only inspiring Indigenous girls, women and youth to engage in the recognition and implementation of their rights, but also to give a face, to illustrate African indigenousness.
Mariam has thus been involved with the UNPFII since 2014, as the youngest Indigenous representative, member, Vice-chair and Chair of the Forum.
As a member of the forum, thanks to her diplomatic skills, Mariam has been able to prioritize the dialogue between different actors in order to contribute to advance Indigenous Peoples’ rights, including States who are usually rigid to let Indigenous peoples denounce human rights’ violations. She insisted that the UNPFII, United Nations’ agencies, programs and funds, as well as States and other actors, keep the problematic issues for Indigenous peoples as a priority in its agenda.
She contributed to develop work methods in the UNPFII in order to ensure a monitoring the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. For example, recommendations are now drafted according to the SMART criteria, a specific member of the forum is designated to ensure the monitoring of specific recommendations, and an item is included in the Agenda of the annual session in order to report on follow-up actions and implementations of the recommendations.
Thanks to her leadership in the Permanent Forum, she was successively a member, its vice-chair, its interim chair and its chair. She took the voices of millions of Indigenous in Indigenous communities in the seven Indigenous socio-cultural regions before the United Nations General Assembly, the Presidency of the Economic and Social Council, the WHO, the FAO, before academic spaces, such as the Harvard University, University of Columbia, McGill University, University of British Columbia. It allowed Mariam to build strong relationships with a diversity of peoples, actors and institutions who continue to call on her expertise on Indigenous issues.