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A global crisis is unfolding. The rapid expansion of development projects on indigenous lands without their consent is driving a drastic increase in violence and legal harassment against Indigenous Peoples.

I've been alerted to hundreds of cases of "criminalization" from nearly every corner of the world. These attacks—whether physical or legal—are an attempt to silence Indigenous Peoples voicing their opposition to projects that threaten their livelihoods and cultures.

My new report finds a pattern of abuse, with the private sector often colluding with governments to force Indigenous Peoples from their lands by whatever means necessary to make way for infrastructure, agriculture, mining, and extractive projects.

According to Front Line Defenders, 67 percent of the 312 human rights defenders murdered in 2017 were defending their lands, the environment, or indigenous rights, nearly always in the context of private sector projects. Around 80 percent of killings took place in just four countries: Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and the Philippines.

These murders nearly always occur in the context of ongoing threats against entire communities. The first step is typically smear campaigns and hate speech that paint Indigenous Peoples as "obstacles to development"—or in the worst cases, terrorists or thugs.

Then come arrest warrants on trumped-up charges, which are sometimes deliberately left hanging so that communities live under perpetual threat. When indigenous leaders are arrested, they often sit in jail for years awaiting trial. In many of the worst cases, militarism, anti-terrorist legislation, and "states of emergency" are used to justify escalating physical violence.

I myself was put on a list of terrorists by the Philippines government in retaliation for advocating for the Indigenous Peoples in Mindanao, many of whom have been displaced by growing militarization. Although the case against me has been dismissed, there are still many others on the list who have been falsely accused and whose safety and security are under threat, including long-time indigenous advocate Joan Carling.

At the same time that justice systems are wielded as weapons against Indigenous Peoples defending their rights, there is widespread impunity for those who commit violence against Indigenous Peoples.

At the root of this global crisis is systematic racism and the failure of governments to recognize and respect indigenous land rights. Indigenous Peoples and local communities customarily own more than 50 percent of the world's land but only have legally recognized rights to 10 percent. This enables governments to declare them "illegal" on the lands they have lived on and protected for generations.

In spite of incredible risks, Indigenous Peoples continue to speak out. They continue to defend their ways of life, their communities, and the lands and forests all humanity depends on.

It is time for world leaders to listen. They should have known better.


Read the full report here.



GENEVA/NEW YORK (7 August 2018) – States around the world must take effective action to guarantee the human rights of indigenous peoples, says a group of UN experts*. In a joint statement marking International day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, the experts say it is crucial that the rights of indigenous peoples are realised when they migrate or are displaced from their lands:

"In many parts of the world, indigenous peoples have become migrants because they are fleeing economic deprivation, forced displacement, environmental disasters including climate change impacts, social and political unrest, and militarisation. Indigenous peoples have shown remarkable resilience and determination in these extreme situations.

We wish to remind States that all indigenous peoples, whether they migrate or remain, have rights under international instruments, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

While States have the sovereign prerogative to manage their borders, they must also recognise international human rights standards and ensure that migrants are not subjected to violence, discrimination, or other treatment that would violate their rights. In addition, states must recognise indigenous peoples' rights to self-determination; lands, territories and resources; to a nationality, as well as rights of family, education, health, culture and language.

The Declaration specifically provides that States must ensure indigenous peoples' rights across international borders that may currently divide their traditional territories.

Within countries, government and industry initiatives, including national development, infrastructure, agro-business, natural resource extraction and climate change mitigation, or other matters that affect indigenous peoples, must be undertaken with the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous peoples, such that they are not made to relocate against their will. States must recognise that relocation of indigenous peoples similarly triggers requirements including free, prior and informed consent, as well as restitution and compensation under the Declaration.

We are concerned about human rights violations in the detention, prosecution and deportation practices of States. There is also a dearth of appropriate data on indigenous peoples who are migrants. As a result of this invisibility, those detained at international borders are often denied access to due process, including interpretation and other services that are essential for fair representation in legal processes.

We call on States immediately to reunite children, parents and caregivers who may have been separated in border detentions or deportations.

In addition, States must ensure that indigenous peoples migrating from their territories, including from rural to urban areas within their countries, are guaranteed rights to their identity and adequate living standards, as well as necessary and culturally appropriate social services.

States must also ensure that differences among provincial or municipal jurisdictions do not create conditions of inequality, deprivation and discrimination among indigenous peoples.

We express particular concern about indigenous women and children who are exposed to human and drug trafficking, and sexual violence, and indigenous persons with disabilities who are denied accessibility services.

We look forward to engagement in the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration regarding indigenous peoples' issues.

On this International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, we urge States, UN agencies, and others, in the strongest terms possible, to ensure indigenous peoples' rights under the Declaration and other instruments, and to recognise these rights especially in the context of migration, including displacement and other trans-border issues."



(*) The experts: The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a subsidiary body of the Human Rights Council. Its mandate is to provide the Council with expertise and advice on the rights of indigenous peoples as set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and to assist Member States in achieving the ends of the Declaration through the promotion, protection and fulfilment of the rights of indigenous peoples. It is composed of seven independent experts serving in their personal capacities and is currently chaired by Ms Erika Yamada.

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council, with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights. The Forum is made up of 16 members serving in their personal capacity as independent experts on indigenous issues. Eight of the members are nominated by governments and eight by the President of ECOSOC, on the basis of broad consultation with indigenous groups. It is currently Chaired by Ms Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine.

The Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Ms Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures is the general name of the Council's independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

The United Nations Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples was established by the General Assembly in 1985. The Fund provides support for indigenous peoples' representatives to participate in sessions of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Human Rights Council, including its Universal Periodic Review, and UN human rights treaty bodies. Its Board of Trustees is currently Chaired by Mr. Binota Dhamai.

For more information and media requests, please contact:

For the Expert Mechanism: Mr. Juan Fernando Núñez (+41 22 928 9458 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

For the Permanent Forum: Ms Martina Volpe Donlon (+1 212 963 6816 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Ms. Mirian Masaquiza (+1 917 367 5100, more information at

For the Special Rapporteur: Ms Christine Evans (+41 22 917 9197 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Ms. Julia Raavad (+41 22 917 92 88 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), or write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For the UN Voluntary Fund: Mr. Morse Flores (+41 22 917 9898 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)


For the Kasepuhan, the forest is a way of life. Living in Java, Indonesia, the Kasepuhan rely on their lands for food, shelter, medicine, and income. Kasepuhan translates as “the keeper of ancestral land,” and the Kasepuhan follow their customary practices in their interactions with nature—the forest is intimately connected with their spiritualities and cultures.

Kasepuhan women are often responsible for sustainably managing these forests and resources. They hold multiple roles: as keepers of traditional religious rituals, agents of peace, and providers of food and medicine for their families and communities.

Yet like the vast majority of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, the Kasepuhan—who have lived in the Lebak district since the 17th century—had no formal legal recognition of their lands. The Indonesian government designated their territory a national park without their consent in 1992, and declared their traditional forestry and farming practices illegal.

This impacted the entire community, but was particularly dehumanizing for women given their unique connection to their forest and lands. They faced harassment and intimidation by police, who cracked down on them for gathering their traditional foods but failed to put a stop to illegal logging by outsiders.

Reduced forest access meant reduced access to traditional foods and medicine, leading to lower health rates for indigenous women and forcing them to travel long distances to reach markets. And because purchasing food is more expensive than harvesting from the forest, many children felt pressured to work rather than attend school, diminishing educational opportunities, particularly for indigenous girls.

This is part of a larger pattern across the country: Indonesia’s National Inquiry into the Rights of Indigenous Peoples found Indigenous Peoples were frequently evicted from their sources of life in forest zones due to the establishment of national parks, reserves, and other conservation areas in customary forests without their consent.

Indigenous Peoples and local communities have managed and protected Indonesia’s great forests for generations—yet despite having customary rights to at least 40 million hectares, they legally own less than 1 percent of the country’s land. This gap leaves their lands vulnerable to expropriation for development projects—but also for protected areas.

The National Inquiry found particular violations of women’s rights when their lands were converted to protected areas. Ironically, those districts that are richest in natural resources—and therefore prime targets for both conservation and development projects—have the highest rates of poverty, lowest rates of education, and highest rates of infant and maternal mortality.

The very social fabric of communities can also be torn by the loss of customary forests. It becomes more difficult to transfer knowledge to younger generations, leading to the loss of traditions and heritage and threatening the very identity of forest communities. Kasepuhan and other indigenous women help maintain peace, but losing access to the forest threatens this role as well. In Kalimantan, for example, Indigenous Peoples bring a gift of the fruit durian when entering negotiations between communities; without access to the forests, they instead arrive empty-handed.

Being expelled from customary territories also often comes with threats, harassment, and discrimination that can be particularly difficult for women, who have limited access to information and decision-making, and little or no training for work in the market-based economy.

After decades of uncertainty, the Kasepuhan successfully achieved a local regulation recognizing their land rights in 2014. In 2016, at the national level, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry recognized the rights of Kasepuhan Karang, one of the six Kasepuhan communities living in the National Park, over 462 hectares of forest (out of 1,081 hectares). This first achievement needs to be expanded, as recognition of the Kasepuhan’s rights protects their lives and livelihoods, and enables them to continue protecting Indonesia’s forests, which are a crucial bulwark against climate change.

There is a growing body of evidence to prove what Indigenous Peoples and local communities have long known: where community rights are secure, forests are more likely to stay standing. New research finds that communities achieve at least equal conservation outcomes with less than a quarter of the budget of formal protected areas.

In many cases, it is women who manage and protect the forests. Ensuring respect for their rights is vital to achieving Indonesia’s—and the world’s—sustainable development and climate goals.

Read the full case study at


They are indigenous women, whom in the complexity of their diverse realities, meet and organize themselves to weave innovative initiatives in order to defend their individual and collective rights. Overcoming this, impoverishment, multiple discrimination and different forms of violence. There are more than 185 million who belong to 5 thousand different Indigenous peoples, according to the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture.

From an innovative intercultural philanthropy approach, the International Indigenous Women`s Forum (FIMI for its acronym in Spanish)[1] through its Fund for Indigenous Women AYNI [2] implements, for the second year the Leading from the South program, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Foreign from Holland.

Leading from the South (LFS) has invested in projects around the world, accompanying processes where indigenous women from Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Pacific, have an active role in the management and distribution of resources in their communities; leading initiatives to influence public policies, which allows them access to land, services and resources; and face unequal power relations to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence.

Currently, FIMI and its AYNI Fund is launching the LFS 2018 call, hoping to co-invest in projects of groups, organizations and networks of indigenous women related to the following thematic areas: political advocacy; institutional strengthening; land, territory and resources; Mitigation and adaptation to climate change, and access to public services.

Organizations or networks lead by indigenous women can access: until July 31, 2018, to apply for three types of grants: small, medium and large, depending on the size and amount of the grant for your organization.

Be updated at

17th Session Report of the Permanent Forum (2018)

21 June 2018, 3:29 am Written by
Published in Latest News

The report of the 17th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (16–27 April 2018) on the theme “Indigenous peoples’ collective rights to lands, territories and resources” is now available in all UN languages:

E/2018/43 – E/C.19/2018/11: | AR | EN | ES | FR | RU | ZH |

The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues has identified the proposals, objectives, recommendations and areas of possible future action set out below and, through the Economic and Social Council, recommends that States, entities of the United Nations system, intergovernmental organizations, indigenous peoples, the private sector and non-governmental organizations assist in their realization.

Follow links to the report at

Speakers at a programme in Rangamati yesterday called for an impartial investigation into the alleged assault on Yan Yan, the queen of the Chakma circle, and female volunteers at Rangamati Sadar Hospital on February 15.

They also demanded that the government identify the persons, who raped two Marma sisters, and ensure justice for the victims.

The demands were made at a rally organised in solidarity with the Chakma royal family at Rangamati Rajbari premises. Indigenous people from three hill districts took part in the rally.

The Marma sisters -- aged 18 and 13 -- were admitted to the hospital on January 22. Earlier in the day, the elder one was allegedly raped while the other sexually assaulted during a drive by a team of security forces in their village, Bilaicchari.

Following a writ petition, a High Court bench on February 13 ordered the authorities concerned of the government and Rangamati Sadar Hospital to hand over the girls to their father. The petition was filed by the girls' father.

Meanwhile with the court order, several policemen accompanied by the parents of two sisters, went to the hospital on February 15 and handed them over to their parents.

The sisters, however, refused to go with them, as they feared for their safety, according to witnesses. As a group of volunteers, who had been giving the two sisters company day and night at the hospital, and Chakma circle queen Yan Yan protested the police move, a group of masked men attacked them, they added.

Speaking at the protest rally, Chakma Raja Devasish Roy said we have to get united against the attack on Chakma royal family and CHT people.

He demanded exemplary punishment for the culprits. “If anyone thinks that … CHT people are afraid, their idea is wrong,” he added.

Goutam Dewan, president of Chittagong Hill Tract Citizen Committee, said the assault on Chakma queen is tantamount to the attack on all CHT indigenous people.

"We want exemplary punishment for the attackers," he said.

In the rally, Chakma queen Yan Yan, Professor Mongsanu Chodhury, former member of National Human Rights Commission Nirupa Dewan, and headman-karbari representatives of three hill districts were present, among others.

Source: (Posted on 20 February 2018)

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, in cooperation with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), has initiated the preparation of her next thematic report on criminalisation and attacks against indigenous peoples defending their rights under human rights treaties and the United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples. The report will specifically consider the collective impact on indigenous communities and consider the design of prevention and protection measures. This report will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in September 2018.

Building on numerous recent initiatives undertaken by indigenous peoples, civil society actors as well as by the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, the Special Rapporteur wishes to focus her report on the specific experiences and challenges faced by indigenous peoples. Concrete steps taken by different stakeholders to prevent attacks and provide collective protection measures will be explored with a view to identify proposals for action.

Attached is a Concept Note providing more information about the upcoming report.

Within the context of the preparation of this report, you are encouraged to submit your inputs by 16 March 2018.

Kindly submit a summary of maximum 5 pages of the situation/cases you wish to submit for the consideration of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, indicating the subject ‘Criminalisation report 2018’ in the subject heading to; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



17 February 2018, 2:49 am Written by
Published in Latest News

This year IIWF/FIMI will award the Prize in honor of the vision and creativity of indigenous women's organizations fighting for ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE in their communities.

General characteristics of the call.

The prize is organized by the International Forum of Indigenous Women-FIMI, and is aimed at indigenous women's organizations in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

This award seeks to promote a process of recognition and visibility of the historical participation of indigenous women in the protection of Mother Earth and its diverse and profound connection of the territory. Also, strengthen and motivate good practices and collective experiences promoted by indigenous women's organizations as first carers of their environment, their natural resources and their livelihoods.

We know that the environmental violence experienced by indigenous peoples generates diverse dynamics and local individual and collective processes for environmental justice in indigenous communities, and we are aware that in these processes indigenous women play a fundamental role, contributing in the cultural, spiritual, political or social areas. Therefore, the nominations should have a collective work approach led by indigenous women.

Lines of action.

It is expected that environmental justice initiatives are framed in some of the following lines of action:

*Access to clean and safe water

*Demands and complaints about deforestation

*Conservation and recovery of ancestral spaces.

*Protection of knowledge related to traditional medicine.

*Protection of health from the impacts of extractive industries and megaprojects

*Strategies for adaptation to climate change.

About the objective of the call.

The objective is that indigenous organizations have systematized information on different initiatives to protect their lands, territories and resources, which will serve as a tool for the incidence and monitoring of compliance with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, mainly the one referred to gender equality together with the objectives aimed at preserving and using in a sustainable way the terrestrial species and ecosystems of the planet, access to clean and safe water, as transversal axes for environmental justice.

Rules of the contest.

About the profile of the applicants to the prize.

Organizations, associations, networks or groups of indigenous women that are part of a community of indigenous or tribal peoples, who have obtained significant achievements, successful practices and alliances from the implementation of a community initiative related to the conservation and protection of their land, territory and / or resources in indigenous communities.

Initiative nominations of NGOs or state institutions will not be taken into account.

Characteristics of successful shared practice.

The actions of the successful practice must have been of a collective and community nature, and have benefited a group or a community.

Through successful practice, positive environmental changes in the community must have been achieved.

Participation, decision making and leadership of indigenous women in said practices or collective processes.

About the prize.

Three prizes of USD 10,000 (Ten thousand US dollars) will be awarded each, one for each region (LAC, Asia and Africa) assigned to the winning organization. The prize will be presented at an event organized by IIWF/FIMI during the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues of the UN, in New York.

Requirements for the nomination to the prize.

Applicants for the award must comply with the following procedures:

Fill and send form established by IIWF/FIMI for documentation of good practice.

Submit the minutes of the conformation of your directive

Attach photographs or other documentation that you consider relevant to support your application, may be: testimonies, life stories or links to newspaper and magazine articles that document the activities.

Two letters of recommendation from allied organizations of your process.

Nomination letter.

Selection of proposals

The evaluation of the nominations will be in charge of a selection committee made up of indigenous women of outstanding international trajectory in the field of human rights of the indigenous peoples and defense of the land, who will value the relevance of the presented practice.

Other important aspects

For the protection and safety of the people involved, please inform us of any restriction for the public management of information, especially the protection of the identity of the people, if they consider it necessary.

Send your nomination by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before the deadline for submission: March 9, 2018 at 12:00 p.m.

Download the application document.

Fraternal greetings,


Teresa Zapeta

Directora Ejecutiva




Nadia Fenly Observatorio de Mujeres

Indígenas Contra la Violencia


Announcer: International Women's Day 2018

29 January 2018, 3:44 am Written by
Published in Latest News

(Friday, January 26, 2018)--- The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, is “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.

This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. Sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women has captured headlines and public discourse, propelled by a rising determination for change.

People around the world are mobilizing for a future that is more equal. This has taken the form of global marches and campaigns, including #MeToo in the United States of America and its counterparts in other countries, protesting against sexual harassment and violence, such as #YoTambien in Mexico, Spain, South America and beyond, #QuellaVoltaChe in Italy, #BalanceTonPorc in France and #Ana_kaman in the Arab States; “Ni Una Menos” (‘not one less’), a campaign against femicide that originated in Argentina; and many others, on issues ranging from equal pay to women’s political representation.

International Women’s Day 2018 is an opportunity to transform this momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.

Echoing the priority theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, International Women’s Day will also draw attention to the rights and activism of rural women, who make up over a quarter of the world population and majority of the 43 per cent of women in the global agricultural labour force.

They till the lands and plant seeds to feed nations, ensure food security for their communities and build climate resilience. Yet, on almost every measure of development, because of deep seated gender inequalities and discrimination, rural women fare worse than rural men or urban women. For instance, less than 20 per cent of landholders worldwide are women, and while the global pay gap between men and women stand at 23 per cent, in rural areas, it can be as high as 40 per cent. They lack infrastructure and services, decent work and social protection, and are left more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Making the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals a reality, to leave no one behind, needs urgent action in rural areas to ensure an adequate standard of living, a life free of violence and harmful practices for rural women, as well as their access to land and productive assets, food security and nutrition, decent work, education and health, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Rural women and their organizations represent an enormous potential, and they are on the move to claim their rights and improve their livelihoods and wellbeing. They are using innovative agricultural methods, setting up successful businesses and acquiring new skills, pursuing their legal entitlements and running for office. Recently, as hundreds of courageous women from the film, theatre and art industry in the USA started speaking against sexual harassment and assault by powerful men in the industry, they found a powerful ally in Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, the national farmworker women’s organization, no stranger to the abuse of power.

On 8 March, join activists around the world and UN Women to seize the moment, celebrate, take action and transform women’s lives everywhere. The time is NOW.


CSW62 Registration Extended

24 January 2018, 6:30 am Written by
Published in Latest News

Registration for the 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) is extended to February 3, 2018, online. Representatives of NGOs in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) can register.

For more details, visit