Peruvian indigenous leader Tarcila Rivera Zea expressed this Friday her sorrow over the death of Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), who she said “contributed to the empowerment of indigenous women around the world”.
Osotimehin was Minister of Health of Nigeria and formerly General Director of the National AIDS Control Agency of Nigeria, which coordinates HIV and AIDS work in a country of nearly 180 million people. In 2011, this physician and public health expert became the fourth Executive Director of UNFPA.
We reproduce Rivera Zea’s statement publish today on her Facebook account.
“We express our support to the UNFPA global family for the unexpected departure of its executive director, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin. We also express our condolences to his family in this moment of deep sorrow.
Both CHIRAPAQ, Indigenous Cultures Center of Peru and the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas (ECMIA) have maintained an historical aliance with UNFPA, and its teams and professionals through the years.
Since 2004 the indigenous women of the Americas have come to the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, with specific recommendations for the inclusion of indigenous women. In the context of CAIRO + 20, we received UNFPA’s support from this body to make the process our own by making specific recommendations to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) to eradicate genital mutilation. In this process Dr. Babatunde and the UNFPA regional representations played an important role.
Through his unconditional support for indigenous women we know with certainty that Mother Earth welcomes him in her heart on this new plane of existence. “