JAIRO RODRIGUEZ DAVIS
Jairo is a System Engineer, who has dedicated much of his life to the process of building the Archipelago Movement for Ethnic Native Self-determination (AMEN-SD), working for his Raizal People’s right to self-determination, sustainable development and reparations - due to questionable occupation and flagrant violations of inalienable human rights. His researches and efforts are based and emphasized on his people’s territorial rights, on decolonization, self-government and sovereignty. He has also led the establishment of the Indigenous National Raizal Authority (INRA).
His research on the origin of the Raizal People and their relation with the Mosquito Territory, Central America and the Caribbean, along with his compilation of the genealogy of the Raizal families, as from the 17th and 18th centuries, obtaining facts related to the true story of his people, permitted him to promote efforts of reconstructing important relationships with the indigenous and tribal peoples of the neighbouring countries of Central America and the Caribbean.
His principal interest is now in education, one with a better structure, and with emphasis on History, Human Rights and decolonization; which led him to initiate the establishment of a Raizal Self-determination and Development School (RSDS) – for political education. And for a university with contextualized education, he is leading the recovery and reestablishment of the local Christian University, which began with community funding, with the hope to obtain governmental support. He is volunteer in the construction of the Raizal Readers website, dedicated to build a true suitable ethnic-cultural education in English for the Raizal children, from kinder and primary grades.
His activism started with his interests in the conservation of the Raizal People’ culture -like their language, and the environmental reparations due to the overpopulation caused on the small oceanic island of San Andres. He is now seeking legal and technical help to have the recognition of the right of nature in the Raizal territory – also declared as the UNESCO Seaflower Biosphere Reserve.
He assumed as General Coordinator and spokesman of AMEN-SD, and participated in events such as the OAS 2003 Interamerican Commission of Human Rights hearing in Washington. In 2013, he formed part of the Delegate to visit the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights in Geneva, to interceed for the human rights of the Raizal People, after the ruling of the ICJ over the maritime dispute between Colombia and Nicaragua over the Raizal territory. Conscious of the degradation of his ancestors lifestyle, the new high level of dependence on the costly importation of food, and the high vulnerability of the Raizal People, he now leading a Raizal Food Production Center, and continues to seek funding for its development.
He also served as one of the Raizal delegates in the National Space for Prior Consultation of Afro Colombians, Black Communities, Raizals and Palenqueros.
He is a critic of the international principle of uti possidetis juris, invented by the new born nations in South America after independencies from European powers, when it is manipulated to ignore the Raizal People sovereignty and territorial rights over their Archipelago.
He considers the San Andres Archipelago to be a hidden colony of Colombia in the Caribbean which lacks recognition and represents an immense cloud of obstacle to the Raizal People’s self-determination and sovereignty.
In behalf of his advocacy to human rights, in 2018 he was selected to be part of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights Minority Fellowship Programme, in Geneva, Switzerland.