Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Mexican scholar on indigenous and minority rights, passed away

November 7, 2016

It is good to remember not only the front-line human rights defenders but also those who struggled on the side of the oppressed contributing their academic and diplomatic talents. One of those is certainly Rodolfo Stavenhagen (born 29 August 1932) who died on 5 November 2016. He was a Mexican sociologist,a professor-researcher at El Colegio de México and former Deputy Director General of UNESCO. From 2001 – 2008 he was the first United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people through Resolution 2001/57.rodolfo-stavenagen

He was also a Board member of several NGOs, including the International Foundation for Development Alternatives; International Alert, the Minority Rights Group and IMADR. His colleague in IMADR, Theo van Boven, stated the following: “It is with profound sadness that I learned about the passing away of our co-director Rodolfo Stavenhagen.  His personality combined the great values of wisdom, dedication and scholarship which he also applied over the years to the benefit of IMADR. I have known Rodolfo since the eighties of last century after he terminated his prominent function as Assistant Director General of UNESCO and became an internationally respected professor at the Collegio de Mexico. …..On a personal note I remember that Rodolfo occasionally spoke to me some words in the Dutch language dating  back to his youth when his parents fled the nazi regime in the late thirties and settled for a short while in the Netherlands and managed to escape and to save their lives after the Germans occupied the Netherlands. No doubt this fact of history had an imprint on Rodolfo’s life. We will continue to remember Rodolfo Stavenhagen  with great affection and hold him in our hearts and minds with deep feelings of gratitude and appreciation…

I personally worked with Rodolfo in the early 80s in the context of the now-defunct group  IGGRI (International Group for Grassroots Initiatives) and setting up International Alert. A gentleman with a very strong sense of justice.

The International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) awarded its Honorary Fellowship to Rodolfo Stavenhagen in 1982.

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