Sacred sites of humanity across the world must be protected because of their inherent importance and of how they signify life. These sites are in danger of being destroyed, profaned, or occupied and commercialized. There have been ongoing efforts to protect them in different parts of the world. Many of the initiatives to protect sacred sites have come from native peoples themselves, although they have had many difficulties to keep them safe. There is, however, no international instrument that legally enables their safekeeping and protection. A universal declaration would be acknowledging spiritual practices of our people and would represent the right to life to all of humanity.
In this talk we will update on the advancements of the initiative coming from original peoples to UNESCO that proposes a new category of protection called "Sacred Biocultural Sites of Humanity".
Geraldine Ann Patrick Encina is a member of the Otomi-Hñahñu Regional Council in Mexico, and a professor of ethnoecology.
Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz is the General Coordinator of the Otomi-Hñahñu Regional Council in Mexico, a caretaker of the philosophy and traditions of the Otomi people, and has been an Otomi Ritual Ceremony Officer since 1988.