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(New York, 5 July)The United Nations Secretary-General António  Guterres has appointed Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for a second term as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women) for a period of four years. 

“This renewed term is our opportunity to reflect constructively, build our momentum, and surge ahead. In these years we are going to be putting our new Strategic Plan 2018-2021 into practice, supporting Member States and our diverse partners to accelerate their implementation of the 2030 Agenda with gender equality and women’s empowerment and full realization of their rights at its heart; we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of our establishment; and we will drive hard towards this and the other key milestones of 2020 as a firm platform for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030,” said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka.

The Secretary-General's decision came following consultations with Member States and the Executive Board of UN Women. The two-day annual session of the Executive Board had met earlier the previous week to fine-tune the strategic planning for the next four years, expressing its confidence in UN Women’s vital mandate and strong leadership.

Commenting on progress to date, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka emphasized the high calibre and commitment of UN Women’s staff: “Their energy and dedication keep us going through all the challenges, and make our organization what it is. Together with Member States and all our partners, we are fiercely ambitious for the women and girls of this world, and positive that greater equality bears fruit for all,” she said.

Under Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women has played a significant role in ensuring that women were put front and centre of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and that the responsibility of ending gender inequality became everyone’s responsibility. She established game-changing movements such as HeForShe that engages men and boys. She has been influential in transforming conversations and knowledge on the most important issues affecting women’s lives such as discriminatory laws, unequal pay and unpaid care work, violence against women, disenfranchisement, and conflict and humanitarian crises, through flagship programming that coordinates response through the UN system. Through this she has broadened the base of both state and non-state actors that influence transformative and irreversible change. 

Before joining UN Women, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka worked with women and girls in different capacities in civil society and as a public representative. Her work has focused on political and economic rights as well as girls’ education; her experience includes promoting gender equality for women in both the private and the public sectors. She was involved in her country's struggle against Apartheid. As World YWCA coordinator for young women’s programmes, she worked with young women all over the world. 

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka was the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008.  She initially became a Member of Parliament in 1994, chairing the Public Service Portfolio Committee.  She was Deputy Minister in the Department of Trade and Industry (1996-1999), Minister of Minerals and Energy (1999-2005), and briefly served as acting Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology in 2004. In all her portfolios she was actively involved in policy and legislation that impacted positively on the lives of women and girls. She holds a PhD in technology-based education. 



FIMI has new executive director

5 July 2017, 2:22 am Written by
Published in Latest News

Dear sisters,

Warm greetings from the International Indigenous Women’s Forum. 

We would like to share with you and our sisters in the region that since 2016, FIMI has been actively working on its institutional strengthening. This has included increasing the number of members of the Board, and a selection process to hire an Executive Director for FIMI.

After reviewing all applications, the Selection Committee and Board Members agreed by consensus to name our sister María Teresa Zapeta as FIMI’s Executive Director. The decision was based on Teresa’s experience, knowledge and high commitment with the realities of indigenous women, and with FIMI’s goals and mission. Teresa will end her role as program Coordinator, and start working as Executive Director starting July 3rd, 2017.

Our sister, Teresa is an indigenous Maya K’iche woman from Guatemala. She has been involved in indigenous women’s struggle for years. We know she will continue with her commitment and vision in her new role. We are grateful for your support, from each of the networks, which will ensure a better performance in her duties. 

We would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our commitment as a global and strategic partnership with each of our allies. We aim to continue this mutual strengthening and support process, at the regional and global levels. We appreciate your support and collaboration to continue to coordinate efforts in a sustainable manner, jointly advocating for the advancement of all indigenous women in the world.

We hope to keep connected. We will keep you updated with opportunities and regional and global information.

In solidarity,

Tarcila Rivera Zea


FIMI Board

Executive Summary

Despite an estimated population of 1 000 000 Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in Thailand (50% of which are women), the government does not legally recognise their indigenous status, obstructing the individual and collective rights of this section of the population. The IPs of Thailand, which make up 1-2% of the national population are spread mainly across three geographical regions; the Chao Ley fisher communities in the south, small groups in the north-east and east of Thailand and the many highland peoples, or hill tribes as they are referred, in the north and north-west. Over 100 000 IPs are estimated to be without citizenship however accurate numbers are missing in both total and stateless populations.

The Indigenous Women’s Network of Thailand (IWNT) was founded in 1996 to provide a gender perspective to development activities affecting indigenous communities in Northern Thailand. On the first weekend of April 2017, IWNT facilitated 27 indigenous women (IW) to gather in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for a National Consultation in preparation of this report. The National Consultation provided a forum for the participants to identify their main causes of concern in regards to the implementation of the CEDAW at the national level and the following report is a consolidation of these concerns, including a lack of all women in politics and decisions making, and a total invisibility of indigenous women in state structures.

In September 2016, the new Thai Constitution was voted in favour of by the Thai population via referendum (although since then, the King has signed a different, unseen version of the Constitution). Despite IPs submitting proposals for specific legislation for the promotion of the rights of IPs and these recommendations making it into the drafting process, this draft of the constitution was rejected. The failure of the State to formally recognise Thailand’s indigenous population has a series of implications for the indigenous women of Thailand and facilitates their ongoing discrimination. As a result, IW face a lack of access to basic social services, including; education, health care including sexual and reproductive health (SRH) care, access to information and justice, among other things.

Indigenous women are continually excluded from participation in the country’s development plans. The IW participants, during the consultation, raised that despite them being at the forefront of the effects of climate change and having already played a key role in the development of adaptation and mitigation, they were continually left out of national land local-level climate change strategies. Another policy issue raised was that of the zoning of national parks and world heritage sites over indigenous territories in recent years having had negative impacts on the well-being of indigenous communities. These policies and practices have had a specific impact on the indigenous women of Thailand, yet the Thai Government overlooks them but failing to acknowledge their indigeneity/ethnicity and the intersectional discrimination that they experience.

Ultimately, the IW of Thailand believe that their experiences can be greatly improved alongside the legal recognition of Indigenous Peoples and their rights as embodied in international human rights instruments, particularly the UNDRIP and especially their collective right to their lands, territories and resources. Whilst this is not the only recommendation that was to come from the national consultation, it was the underpinning foundation for all subsequent recommendations and was highlighted as the priority for the IW participants.

However, the realisation of legal recognition alone is not enough to truly change the conditions for indigenous women, and Indigenous Peoples in general. In addition, this report calls for: the right to citizenship of Indigenous Peoples, including their equal access to basic social services such as education, health and employment; recognition that that human trafficking is a systemic problem, specifically affecting indigenous women and focus on prevention strategies rather than palliative means of combating trafficking; a targeted and appropriate education programme for all indigenous children; establishment of a specific mechanism for full and effective participation of indigenous women in the ongoing country reforms and constitution drafting process; strengthen the office of the national ombudsman for Indigenous Peoples; ensure Indigenous Peoples’ lands are protected and Indigenous communities are adequately consulted in all matters affecting them; and finally, evaluate and align all legislation and government programs with the CEDAW and the UNDRIP.

This alternative/shadow report is divided into three sections. The first which looks at articles 1-5 and compares the reality for indigenous women in Thailand to that of the situation as presented by the State Report in 2015, including the impact of existing laws and policies on the elimination of discrimination, realisation of human rights and negative stereotyping. The second section, inclusive of Articles 6-14 focusses on three main issues facing the indigenous women of Thailand, according to the priorities set out by the participants of the National Consultation. The first issue being that of trafficking and prostitution of indigenous women (Article 6); the second focusses on the situation of IW in regards to their basic social services, mostly stemming from their lack of access to citizenship (Articles 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 16); and finally the third section which looks at land rights and natural resource management (Article 14). These categories, and everything documented within them regularly intersect to create a unique set of obstacles for indigenous women in Thailand.

You can download the report here.

Source: Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact

(24 May 2017)-Equal rights and opportunities for women are not only matters of justice and dignity. When women and girls have equal rights in law and practice, their communities and countries also benefit. Indigenous and rural women make up more than half of the 2.5 billion people who customarily own and use the world’s community lands, yet they have been largely absent from discussions of women’s property rights and broader development agendas.

A new analysis from RRI provides an unprecedented assessment of 80 legal frameworks regulating indigenous and rural women’s community forest rights in 30 developing countries comprising 78 percent of the developing world’s forests. 

The report reveals that governments are not providing equal rights and protections to indigenous and rural women, and are failing to meet their international commitments to do so. The findings also show that secure community land rights and the legal advancement of women often go hand in hand. Simply put: legal frameworks acknowledging communities as forest owners also provide the greatest protections for women’s rights.

Indigenous and rural women have made major gains in asserting their rights and strengthening their communities despite the absence of legal protections, yet this progress and the forests they protect are vulnerable. Scaling-up progress to respect community land rights and achieving the host of benefits community ownership provides to global development and climate goals can only be realized if women’s rights within communities are recognized and respected. Securing women’s rights to community lands therefore offers the most promising path toward peace, prosperity, and sustainability in the forested and rural lands of the world.

Case Studies Accompanying the Report

  • Indonesia is one of only two countries assessed that does not guarantee women equal protection under the constitution. Inequitable laws and the expansion of agribusiness threaten the customary practices of many communities who treat women as equals in managing customary lands and resources.
  • In Liberia, the promise of Africa’s first female president has fallen short: across the country, community and rural women have been cut off from the decision-making processes that affect them. Many are losing the lands and resources they rely on.
  • In Peru, women are raising their voices to call attention to their unique role as forest managers, and advocate for full participation in land titling projects that would affect them.

See more at:


Presented by the Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

This open multi-stakeholder dialogue convened as part of the process to develop the local communities and indigenous peoples platform (LCIP platform), established by Decision 1/CP.21 (Adoption of the Paris Agreement). Carlos Fuller, Chair of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA), and Grace Balawag, International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), co-chaired the discussion.

During the opening session, Fuller said the establishment of the LCIP platform during COP 21 confirmed that parties recognize the need to strengthen knowledge, technologies, practices and efforts of LCIPs to address and respond to climate change. He applauded the opportunity provided during the dialogue to exchange experiences and share best practices on mitigation and adaptation in a holistic and integrated manner, and emphasized that the dialogue will contribute to articulating clear functions and the structure of the new platform. Balawag welcomed the opportunity for knowledge and experience exchange between all stakeholders, and urged a rich conversation that will provide the basis for a “robust new structure” in order to benefit all LCIPs across the globe.

In a keynote address, Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary, UNFCCC, said LCIPs are the stakeholders who best understand the impacts of climate change, as they are “fighting on the frontlines.” Noting that neither the Paris Agreement nor the LCIP platform can succeed without LCIP stakeholders submitting their views, she urged representatives to ensure their “voices are heard” during the dialogue.

During the second session, the panel discussion was moderated by Stephen Leonard, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), during which participants discussed existing experiences with the involvement of LCIPs and with the use of traditional knowledge (TK).

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, IIPFCC, provided examples of indigenous peoples’ participation in UN bodies, including in: the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues; the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the Working Group on Article 8(j) (TK) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). 

Douglas Nakashima, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said that UNESCO envisions a platform that brings together elements of scientific and indigenous peoples’ knowledge to co-produce “best available knowledge.” He shared examples of UNESCO’s approaches for incorporating indigenous knowledge into its procedures.

Jyoti Mathur-Filipp, UN Development Programme (UNDP), shared UNDP’s 25 years of experience collaborating with indigenous peoples through the Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme (GEF SGP). She stressed that 15% of the GEF’s small grants support indigenous peoples.

During the third session of the dialogue, the UNFCCC Secretariat presented on submissions received on the purpose, content and structure of the LCIP platform, concentrating on three possible interconnected functions: providing a space for exchange of experiences and sharing of best practices; building capacities of LCIPs to effectively engage in the UNFCCC and other relevant processes, including supporting implementation of the Paris Agreement; and facilitating the integration of diverse knowledge systems, practices and innovations, and the engagement of LCIPs in relevant climate change-related actions, programmes and policies. 

LCIP representatives, on behalf of the IIPFCCinter alia: urged parties to promote and recognize the sustainable practices of indigenous peoples, and encouraged the establishment of “creative links” within the UNFCCC; called for ensuring LCIPs’ full and effective participation; called attention to the need for adequate funding to support LCIPs; emphasized the importance of capacity building to enable indigenous peoples to make a contribution at the international level; stressed that indigenous youth and women require “special measures and targeted attention” to ensure effective transmission of intergenerational knowledge; and called for knowledge exchange in a context-based manner. 

Many countries and other entities provided inputs as well. The CBD said that the success of the Working Group on Article 8(j) lies in the nomination of an indigenous co-chair. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said the platform should strengthen the connection of LCIPs with the UNFCCC for a meaningful and informed partnership. UNESCO called for knowledge exchanges between LCIPs and scientists that are more holistic and take into account social and cultural components.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNSRRIP) emphasized the “inextricable link” between respect for the rights of indigenous peoples and their capacities to contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation, as well as disaster preparedness and management. Emphasizing linkages between the platform and the Sustainable Development Goals, she stressed the need to look at traditional resource management systems to deal with knowledge exchange in a holistic and integrated manner.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature(IUCN)stressed the need to build LCIPs’ capacities to participate in climate policies and actions at the national and international levels. Women and Gender said the platform could serve to preserve TK.

The EU underscored the importance of building on relevant experiences within the UNFCCC and learning from experiences in other international contexts. New Zealand expressed support for the LCIP platform’s aim to give indigenous peoples an active role in helping shape climate action.

Ecuador looked forward to the platform’s operationalization, highlighting LCIPs’ “special relationship” with Mother Earth. Canada called for: indigenous peoples to be self-represented in the platform; enhancing interconnectedness among TK and other knowledge systems; and acknowledging losses already experienced by indigenous peoples. 

Antigua and Barbuda highlighted her country’s legislation mandating LCIPs’ representation in domestic and international processes. Emphasizing the importance of TK systems for global action on mitigation and adaptation, Norway noted that “the best results come when indigenous peoples have been included and are taking the lead.” Costa Rica called for a coordination mechanism to share knowledge and information on climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.

Australia said information presented during the dialogue should feed into the platform. Bolivia called for: the establishment of a participatory mechanism on indigenous peoples; meaningful intercultural knowledge exchange among indigenous peoples of the world; and horizontal inter-scientific dialogue among indigenous peoples and established scientific systems. Peru said nationally determined approaches to implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) could be shared through the platform.


ENB on the Side

Coverage of Selected Side Events at the Bonn Climate Change Conference

Issue No. 8 - Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Events covered on Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Visit our IISD/ENBOTS Coverage for Tuesday, 16 May 2017, at:

United Nations, 5 May 2017 — The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues concludes its 16th session today with the adoption of a report including recommendations for States, UN bodies and indigenous peoples. The Forum pointed out progress in realizing the rights of indigenous peoples since the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ten years ago, but also voiced serious concerns about lack of implementation in many countries and emphasized the need for concrete action at the national and local levels.

More than 1,000 indigenous peoples’ representatives attended the session from 24 April to 5 May 2017 at UN Headquarters in New York.  The main theme of the Session was the 10th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted in 2007. The Permanent Forum also discussed follow-up to the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (2014), Implementation of the 2030 Agenda, the situation of indigenous human rights defenders and the empowerment of indigenous women and youth.

”When indigenous peoples enjoy their rights and well-being, then the society as a whole is healthier and a better place for us all,” said Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, the Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Noting actions taken by some States to  put into effect the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, she said, ”This is positive news. It shows that there is cooperation between Member States and indigenous peoples to uphold indigenous peoples’ rights.”

Despite the advances, “progress has been far too slow; much more needs to be done,” said the Chairperson. Alarming numbers of indigenous peoples experience encroachment on their traditional lands and territories, displacement and dispossession as well as harassment, threats and killing of indigenous human rights defenders. Adequate consultative mechanisms by Governments and the private sector, respect for indigenous lands and territories, and protection of indigenous human rights defenders are among the most pressing demands made by indigenous peoples’ representatives at the Session.

Since the establishment of the Permanent Forum, its annual  sessions have fostered dialogue and cooperation between indigenous peoples and Member States. At its closing, the Permanent Forum called for concrete actions and commitments to achieve the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in spirit and in practice.

The rapporteur’s advanced, unedited version of the report of the 16th session will be available at, after it is adopted, with the official document expected in June. The report will be presented to the Economic and Social Council in July 2017.

For more information, please see

Media contact: Martina Donlon, UN Department of Public Information, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +1 212 963 6816


Victoria Tauli Corpuz, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and former Chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, recently talked with UN Women about engaging indigenous women in climate action during the 16th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (24 April – 5 May, 2017). The Forum marked the 10-year anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and hosted a side event on indigenous women.

Ten years since the adoption of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, what is the status of indigenous women now? Where have you seen the most progress and where are the gaps?

The most significant change in the past ten years since the Declaration was adopted, is that indigenous women have strengthened their organizations and networks. They are more engaged—and more number of indigenous women are engaged—in UN and intergovernmental processes. For example, this year was the first time in sixty years that the UN Commission on the Status of Women—the largest intergovernmental gathering on women’s rights—focused on indigenous women’s issues.

While indigenous women have mobilized themselves at national, local, regional and international levels, glaring gaps remain in terms of resources allocated for their participation, and in terms of their access to adequate sexual and reproductive health services. Majority of indigenous peoples live in remote areas, and when there are cut backs on women’s rights, even lesser funds or services trickle down to these areas.

Indigenous women and girls are disproportionately impacted by violence, including trafficking. This is not a problem only in the poorer countries; it is happening even in richer countries like the United States of America. During my visits to the USA as the Special Rapporteur, I heard of many cases of trafficking and violence against women around oil exploration and fracking areas. When I was in Australia, I visited detention centres for women and found that majority of the incarcerated were aboriginal women.

How is climate change impacting indigenous women?

Many indigenous women are farmers, they work the land and rely on the land for food security.  Their ability to produce food and income for their families has been severely impacted by the intense climate variability that we see now. When I speak to indigenous women, they say how no one remembers such frequent and severe rainfall, floods or drought. In some places, the average rainfall they would expect to get in three months, now come in a span of three days.

I was in Peru recently, where growing quinoa is a major source of nutrition and income for indigenous women. Due to much lower than average rainfall, quinoa production has gone down.

Indigenous women live in some of the most fragile ecosystems—whether they are in the highlands or the arctic or the low-lying islands—and these areas are dramatically impacted by climate change. As disasters are on the rise, so is the care burden of indigenous women.

Why is it important to engage indigenous women in climate change mitigation and action?

Indigenous women possess intimate knowledge about their lands and are uniquely capable of mitigating climate change. In my community in the Cordillera region in the Philippines, women are breeding seeds that can withstand the frequent floods and drought.

Many Indigenous women are more familiar with the lay of the land since they are working on the land every day. They often know where the safe zones may be, when disaster strikes. Conversely, the levels and frequency of disasters these days are unprecedented, and when indigenous women are not involved in disaster risk reduction, they may be at a disadvantage. When disaster strikes, they are the ones in charge of getting the children, the elderly and the sick to safety.

How are indigenous women strategizing for action on climate change? Can you give us some examples?

It is crucial to engage women in both risk reduction and in disaster response, and get their views about how to mobilize the communities. We have partners who have worked with the Maasai women in Kenya who used to make and sell charcoal. But now they are earning better livelihood using their traditional bead-making skills, and reducing the cutting of trees to produce charcoal.

Similarly, in Peru, the Amazonian women have decided to develop and sell natural dyes, to reduce the pressure on the forest for their livelihood.

What policies and actions are needed to protect and empower indigenous women in climate action?

Effective implementation of the Declaration not only means protecting the rights of indigenous women, but enabling them to contribute towards the solutions of some of our present-day challenges. Most governments are still prioritizing large scale development and infrastructure that bring more revenue. But the dominant economic paradigms are at odds with the rights of indigenous peoples.

We need to enact policies that ensure equal involvement of indigenous women in climate action. Any climate change adaptation and mitigation discussion must involve indigenous women, because they have different perspectives than men, on critical issues, ranging from food security and safe water access to renewable energy and disaster relief.

*Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the Expert, and do not necessarily reflect the official UN Women position.



On 1 April 2017 a house wife of Tripura indigenous community was attacked and injured by Bengali Settlers in Dalia khal area of Matiranga municipality in Khagrachari. The victim is the wife of Hemandra Tripura (30) and resident of Nabachandra Karbari para under no. 3 ward of Matiranga municipaliy in Khagrachari district.  The victim had taken treatment at Matiranga sadar hospital.

It is learnt that on the day of the incident at around 2.30 pm when the victim went to Dalia Khal to take bath, four Bengali settlers led by Md. Masum of Hospital area tried to tease her.  But she resists and protest against them. Settlers did not listen to her and threaten her to keep quite. Later settlers’ attacked her and got her injured. She was hit on her head during that time. The victim husband Hemandra Tripura and a local youth Oli Tripura (18) came forward when they heard scream of her. They were also injured when they fought against the settlers to rescue the victim.

When the news of the incident spread rapidly, locals rushed to the spot, caught one of the perpetrators Masum. It is learn that, Bengali Settlers tried to create communal tension with this issue.

After the incident, Muhammad Ali, no. 2 ward councilor and Abul Hashem of Matiranga market committee and no. 7 ward councilor of the municipality rushed to the scene. They promised to settle the matter and took Masum into their custody. However, whether any settlement was made or not, it is not known till the reporting.

An indigenous teenager attempted rape in Tanore, Rajshahi

On 21 April 2017 an indigenous teenage girl was attempted rape by the owner of a photo studio when she went to take a photo at Taonre upazila of Rajshahi district. The father of the victim filed a case with Tanore Police Station against the perpetrator Raihan Ali (28) of Chorkhor Hasnapara of the upazila who is also the owner of the studio.

It is learnt that on the day of the incident at noon the victim, a grade 8 student, went to take a photo to the studio at Mondumala Bazar of Tanore in Rajshahi. The owner of the studio Raihan Ali tried to rape her inside the studio in the name of capturing photo with digital camera. At that time local people rescued the victim hearing her scream. Officer in charge of Tanore police station said a case has been filed and police trying to arrest the accused.  

Source: Kapaeeng Watch, Issue 7 and 8, April 2017

Every 25th of the month is commemorated to draw attention to the elimination of violence against women and girls. In April, the theme for Orange Day is the elimination of violence against indigenous women and girls.

(25 April 2017) -- In April, the Orange Day is dedicated to eradicating violence against indigenous women and girls. This is a particularly complex challenge in Latin America and the Caribbean considering the many forms of violence they face: from daily discrimination to extreme forms of violence, such as the murder of the Honduran activist, feminist and indigenous leader Berta Cáceres in March 2016.

In the region, there are 522 indigenous populations who speak 420 different languages indigenous peoples represent between 3% and 10% of the population of Latin American and Caribbean countries, totalling 45 million people. Half of this population are women. (1)

The Orange Day is commemorated every 25th of the month in the framework of the UN Secretary General’s Campaign "UNiTE to End Violence against Women".

This month, Otilia Lux de Coti, , a renowned Mayan leader and activist of Guatemala and Executive Director of the International Forum of Indigenous Women Tania Pariona Tarqui, a Quechan Peruvian Congresswoman and member of the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas and Tarcila Rivera Zea, member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues of the United Nations and founder of the non-governmental organization CHIRAPAQ, Center of Indigenous Cultures of Peru, analyze the many forms of violence suffered by indigenous women and girls in the region, and lay out the way forward to eradicate them.

"We prefer to speak of “violences”, in plural," Rivera Zea clarifies in an interview with UN Women.

"’Violences’ in plural speaks of the need and urgency to link the violence that indigenous women face with our individual and collective rights. In this plurality, discrimination and racism act as an umbrella that covers other forms of violence, which happen in the face of States and citizens that tend to invisibilize and ignore the indigenous peoples.”

These multiple forms of violence, adds the founder of CHIRAPAQ, lead to militarization of territories, human trafficking, use of pesticides and rape of indigenous women and girls. It also emphasizes the negative impact of extractive industries on communities and their interlinkage to environmental violence and the denial of sexual and reproductive health to indigenous women.

For Otilia Lux de Coti, one of the main issues is institutional violence against indigenous women and girls, since this holds back their full development and empowerment.

"Violence, discrimination and racism are scourges that prevent the full development of indigenous women and girls," says Lux de Coti, "institutional violence is particularly evident when we consider that the rule of law is not equal for all citizens".

In a context of strong institutional discrimination, the case of Sepur Zarco stands out as the first instance globally where a sentence was handed out for sexual and labor slavery perpetrated against indigenous women. A year after the sentencing, Otilia recalls the case in which two former members of the Guatemalan military were found guilty of war crimes, crimes of sexual slavery, rape, enforced disappearances, ill-treatment and discrimination against 11 indigenous women living around the Sepur Zarco detachment between 1982 and 1983.

Lux de Coti points out that key to ending this pandemic in the region is challenging social norms that reproduce gender stereotypes and racism and strengthening normative frameworks that tolerate discrimination against indigenous women and girls.

Tania Pariona Tarqui adds: “Aside from physical and psychological violence, torture, sexual violence and rape during armed conflict, indigenous women are excluded from decision making and must endure abuse of authority, including in communal assemblies, which are consultative meetings convened by the State.”

The problem is expressed in practices of physical elimination of indigenous populations, appropriation of their territories, displacement, destruction of their cultures, and in the case of indigenous women, invasion of their bodies. Sexual violence against indigenous women has long been a practice by various actors, including State actors. Indigenous women, particularly those living in rural areas, in contexts of inequality, exclusion and extreme poverty, are also affected by internal armed conflicts, in which many have not only lost their belongings, but also their families and their physical integrity. (1)

"The matter is serious not only because of the figures but also because of the impunity and indifference, although society has begun to express its rejection with much more strength in recent years," adds Rivera Zea.

"The forced prostitution of wayuu girls in Venezuela, female mutilation in Colombia, cases of femicide, the high rates of early pregnancies in Peru and other countries in the region, as well as the assassination and persecution of indigenous women defenders of collective rights demand concrete actions and decisions ".

Addressing the issue is not about going against indigenous cultures, according to the Peruvian activist, but challenging cultural practices that reproduce this violence against indigenous women and girls.

"Many experiences that are a source of resistance against violence, based on our own indigenous references, focus on the valorization and revaluation of traditional knowledge, identity strengthening and prioritization of being and collective well-being”.

"We must not go against our cultures, but against cultural practices that hurt us and violate our human rights as indigenous women."

(1) Violence and Indigenous Women, document prepared by CHIRAPAC for CSW16.


Kababaihan Lumalaban! Panagutin ang ASEAN!

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Few days before the Leaders from the 10 ASEAN Member States convene for the 30th ASEAN Summit and Related Meetings, women from marginalized sectors convened and decried the unending culture of impunity, inequality, and violence against women across Southeast Asia.

In a press conference organized by Philwomen on ASEAN, a national network of women’s groups and advocates promoting women’s rights in the ASEAN, representatives from women with disabilities, indigenous women, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender (LBT) women, women workers, rural women, and other groups of marginalized women called out ASEAN‘s prioritization of the economic agenda, devoid of concern for human rights, especially women’s rights, and the plight of poor and marginalized women. 

The Philwomen on ASEAN is the co-convener of the ASEAN Civil Society Conference/ ASEAN Peoples’ Forum (ACSC/ APF) 2017 and The press conference is part of the initiatives and actions of the civil society organization across Southeast Asia to raise critical issues of peoples in the region in time for the 30th ASEAN Summit.

The groups questioned Duterte's ASEAN vision is Stability, Peace, Prosperity – yet how will these benefit women, especially from the marginalized sectors? Despite ASEAN’s commitment to economic integration, poverty persists in the region. There is also a worrying trend of “Southeast Asia's regression from democracy” where killings increasingly become rampant especially in authoritarian governments. There is a rising authoritarian rule in the region which leads to shrinking of democratic spaces and intensifying political repression. 

There is a pervasive culture of impunity in violence against women and girls, due mostly to the ASEAN governments’ lack of attention and action that reflects blatant disregard of the massive women’s rights violations in the region and within the member states, maintained Jelen Paclarin of Women’s Legal and Human Rights Bureau (WLB).

Intersecting poverty and violence – exacerbated by impunity and inequality – compound the oppression of women and girls.  A report on the issues of women with disabilities found that one out of three Deaf women is a victim of rape, 72% of deaf women were abused or battered and 63% were abused by their own father, Mary Rose S. Gozon of Filipino Deaf Women Health and Crisis Center shared. Women and 

Girls with disabilities continue to face barriers which create situation of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, added Maria Fe Maravillas of Philippine Alliance of Women with Disabilities.

Gyky Tangente from GALANG Philippines cited their study which revealed that lesbians, bisexual women, and trans men (LBTs) are subjected to sexual abuse, excluded from social protection and housing benefits, and experienced difficulties in accessing decent jobs due to their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE).  Jean Enriquez of World March of Women, expressed alarm on how violence against women is exacerbated by the extra-judicial killings related to the drug war. Furthermore, women suffer from trauma, isolation, and economic helplessness that make them more vulnerable to prostitution.

Does ASEAN which prides itself as a caring community really care for its workers, particularly women? Asked Judy Miranda of Partido ng Manggagawa. According to Nice Coronacion of SENTRO, women workers continue to be confronted with gender wage gap, poor working conditions, and pervasive sexual harassment. Rose Otero of Batis Center for Women, shared stories of women migrants who largely occupy low-skilled work – domestic work, care work, and entertainment – and remain unrecognized and unprotected in ASEAN. 

According to Zeena Manglinong of Freedom from Debt Coalition, the ASEAN takes on multilateral and bilateral agreements and policies, such as the Tax Treaties and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that favor investors’ and corporate interests, without accounting for the adverse consequences on workers, small landholders, and local producers, many of whom are women. Meth Jimenez underlined that women must be protected against land and resource grabbing, as corporate capture in agriculture and monopoly in trade destroy women’s local economies. An indigenous woman leader, Teresa Dela Cruz of Katutubong LILAK shared how their food security and livelihood are increasingly threatened by the extractivist, corporate-driven development framework, as mining, investments, and other so-called development projects encroached on the indigenous peoples’ ancestral domains. 

The Philwomen on ASEAN network stressed, when there is no justice in the countries, and within Southeast Asia, mechanisms must be created or strengthened to investigate, monitor, and provide redress and remedy for women’s rights in the region. ASEAN must cease invoking non-interference and consensus principles as it turns a blind eye to the violations against women in the region. ASEAN must reject the neo-liberal agenda and adopt a pro-poor and pro-people framework that fulfill women’s human rights. Women’s human rights and the concerns of various sectors of marginalized women must be at the heart of the ASEAN Agenda. Women, especially marginalized women, deserve no less. On its 50th Anniversary, ending the culture of impunity can and MUST be ASEAN’S legacy to women. ###

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