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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. ###
Contact Details: Chang Jordan 09178195259, MotchVillareal 09237204612.
Indigenous women and representatives from Asia-Pacific participated in workshop on IP and Gender Responsive Emissions Reduction Programs22 April 2017, 1:46 am Written by Eleanor Dictaan-Bang-oa
Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education) based in the Philippines, gathered 19 indigenous women and representatives from indigenous peoples’ and non-government organizations working for Indigenous Peoples in relation to climate change and related matters in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma , Cambodia, Fiji, India, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Vanuatu and Vietnam, to the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Indigenous Peoples and Gender Responsive Emissions Reduction Programs held on 25-27 February 2017 in Hanoi, Vietnam. The activity was co-organized with the Center for Upland Development (CERDA) based in Hanoi, Vietnam. The workshop was organized to:
1) Provide an overview of the UNDRIP, the UNFCC and REDD+ initiatives and how these intersects with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which is global in implementation and in the context of empowering women;
2) Define gaps and challenges in indigenous women’s engagements in national and local REDD+ /climate change and development initiatives;
3) Unite on a common engagement platform for indigenous women in REDD+ countries in the Asia-Pacific region to feed into the Capacity Building on REDD+ for Forest Dependent Indigenous Peoples in East Asia, Pacific and South Asia Regions Project and other advocacy spaces; and
4) Provide a venue for project partners’ inception meeting.
The workshop kicked off with a review of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as the overarching framework with an emphasis on indigenous women and peoples not just as stakeholders but as rights holders. A briefing on the REDD+ highlighting the Cancun Safeguards resulting from indigenous peoples’ proactive engagement at the global UNFCCC processes was also provided.
The discussion on indigenous women in REDD+ countries in the region began with participants from Vanuatu, Nepal and Vietnam presenting their experiences as part of the CSO National Platforms. This has generated discussions on the situation of indigenous women and their communities with regards to climate change.
Highlights from the Interactive Discussions and Workshops
Coming from different countries of varying stages in RED+ implementation, the participants brought with them varied experiences regarding REDD+, from “just beginning” (Cambodia) to ‘advanced’ engagements (i.e Fiji, Nepal and Vietnam). Nonetheless, workshop results point to three major issues affecting the full and effective participation of indigenous women in this process:
- Non-recognition of indigenous peoples, especially indigenous women, and the particularities attached to their identities, the significance of their knowledge, roles and practices in emissions reduction and climate resilience. Where there exist a legal framework addressing indigenous peoples’ rights, comprehension by state agencies is weak resulting to ineffective operationalization on the ground ( i.e Philippines). An interesting exemption is Fiji where most of the state constituency are indigenous peoples.
- Zero and/or weak indigenous women/peoples’ institutions/organizations. In some FCPF Countries, there are no strong indigenous women’s organizations among self-identifying indigenous peoples (i.e Vietnam, Bhutan). Where there are indigenous and women’s organizations, participation can be sporadic due to equally pressing work and interests, geographical scope and issues of technical and logistical access and lack of personnel to follow on or fully engage on the REDD+ work. Specifically, for indigenous women, their participation is also affected by the intersecting factors of gender discrimination, lack of awareness, resources, support and self confidence that results from the experience of historical discrimination as peoples and as women. These on top of women’s poverty, both in terms of resources and time. At a skills level, there is a general need to strengthen capacities for documentation and evidence-based advocacy to influence directions of REDD+/ERPs at the local and national levels.
Good Practice: In Vietnam, CERDA, in partnership with Tebtebba and with support generated from the NORAD, established community cooperatives and the alliance of co-operatives after a series of institutional development activities. It is thru the cooperatives that we were able to be recognized by the government as a legal entity. Through the cooperative, we do a lot of capacity building on understanding and addressing the serious problem of illegal logging, REDD+, livelihoods and how these intersects with our rights, including continuing institutional development. The registration of the co-operative, under government rules gave it a legal status making the communities eligible to participate in REDD+ as an independent actor with ownership of their initiatives and actions. Being a recognized entity, we were able to secure community tenure of the forest for at least 50 years. With an organization and the association of co-operatives and the landscape based approach, enhanced capacities and skills and livelihood support, the community has been successful and cost-effective in protecting the forest against illegal logging so far. CERDA’s households cluster approach was cited as instrumental in enhancing women’s participation in these initiatives. (Ms Vu Thi Hien)
- Lack of access to appropriate and full information. There exist inconsistencies, fragmentation and insufficiency of information from the national level initiation and implementation on the ground. At the local level, there is a seeming disconnect of information provided on the relationships between the REDD+ and other information dissemination and capacity building initiatives undertaken for this phase. In some areas, information dissemination has been conducted without due consideration of the capacity of the communities to understand what is being said and women are not encouraged to speak. The usual practice of focusing information dissemination to village leaders has also been cited as reinforcing women’s marginalization since leadership and decision making in most indigenous communities are male-dominated.
- Lack of resources and support services to enable indigenous women and peoples’ participation and engagement with the process. Most of the participants are part of the national CSO platforms and most of their work in this area are voluntary. While most would like to engage their constituents in the process, there is limited funds directly accessible to do this. Where there are available spaces for access, the process and requirements are difficult for indigenous women and their organizations to comply with. This, according to the participants, is demoralizing.
Good Practice: Fiji recognizes indigenous peoples’ ownership of their lands which is a big problem for their Asian neighbors. Participant expressed appreciation of the REDD+ provision specific on indigenous women and peoples and CSO participation and the fact that the advocacy and capacity building phase have been well resourced in terms of expertise and funding. According to Ms. Haddy Jatou Sey of the FCPF, this was a result of the FCPF’s extensive dialogue with the Fiji government to allocate part of the U$D3.8 M budget to the CSO platform. This was done during the design phase of the program.
From the discussions is a document (see below) containing the position of indigenous women from Asia-Pacific on REDD+/ERPs.
DIGENOUS PEOPLES AND GENDER RESPONSIVE EMMISSIONS REDUCTION PROGRAM:
A CALL BY INDIGENOUS WOMEN IN ASIA AND PACIFIC
Indigenous Peoples contributions to sustaining the earth and its resources and mankind’s cultural, intellectual, political and economic development has been recognized in different international processes and agreements including the Paris Agreement and the Cancun Safeguards under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) and the Sustainable Development Goals. This recognition implies the need to strengthen and enhance indigenous peoples’ knowledge, skills and practice in conservation and use of lands, waters, forests and natural resources which are key to the vision of Agenda 2030. For indigenous peoples, these calls for the full and effective operationalization of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the local level.
Indigenous women’s knowledge and multiple roles from the domestic to the collective/community level encompasses their daily activities and relationships to the land as stewards. Honoring the land which sustains life obliges indigenous peoples, especially women, to ensure the integrity of their territories for future generation. However, historical discrimination and patriarchy prevails rendering them generally invisible in the current global discussions and national-local initiatives on sustainable development and climate change, including the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation REDD+/Emissions Reduction Programs (ERPs), among others.
We are 19 indigenous women and representatives from indigenous peoples’ and non-government organizations working for Indigenous Peoples in relation to climate change and related matters in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma , Cambodia, Fiji, India, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Vanuatu and Vietnam, participating in the Asia-Pacific Regional Workshop on Indigenous Peoples and Gender Responsive Emissions Reduction Programs held on 25-27 February 2017 in Hanoi, Vietnam. Having shared our situations in our vision to advance the status of indigenous women, we are forwarding the following concerns and recommendations to the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, the national REDD+ Working Groups, CSO National Platforms, to our own organizations and communities and to other concerned groups and agencies to ensure compliance to the REDD+ safeguards consistent to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the substantive achievement of Agenda 2030.
A. SUSTAINING CLIMATE RESILIENCE
With knowledge practices and developed through generations, indigenous women continue to ensure and sustain the lives, land and resources of their communities and the future generation but remain discriminated in the ownership and control of lands, forests and resources. The right to own, manage and control land, forests and resources are primary factors in indigenous women’s livelihood, community well-being and food security. The recognition of these rights is crucial in sustaining emissions reduction initiatives and actions.
State and business interests like extractive industries, palm oil plantations, hydropower dams, including environmental conservation and protection initiatives have encroached into our lands resulting to deforestation, erosion of biodiversity, land, knowledge, culture and spirituality.
Conflicts continue to emerge in this situation galvanized by militarization as a peace and order strategy employed by state and private sectors exposing women and children to gender violence and human rights violations. This has and is displacing us physically, economically, socially and culturally impacting on our right to self-determination and governance as indigenous peoples.
1. Institutionalize Strategic Environmental and Social Assessment under the REDD+ /ERP at all levels.
2. Tenurial reform which should be done in respect of indigenous peoples’ right to their ancestral lands, territories and resources. State agencies should provide resources to delineate indigenous peoples’ territories through mapping, resolve existing disputes and provide security of tenure ensuring effective consultation and participation of indigenous peoples and transparency in the process. Specifically, reforms should address the status of land tenure among indigenous women and provide legal remedies and mechanism to address security of land tenure for indigenous women. Conflicting laws/policies/programs that impedes the full operationalization of indigenous women and peoples’ right to their customary lands and resources should be addressed by REDD+ Strategies and Actions. State commitment to these should be monitored.
3. Governments to conduct strategic social and environmental assessment as part of the readiness and ERP design to address the issue of land tenure, especially for indigenous women and institutionalize an accessible process or mechanism to facilitate security of tenure and put in place preventive actions against eviction and displacement as part of the Safeguards Information System.
4. As part of the feasibility study of governments, social and environmental assessment and due diligence should be undertaken to ensure that private initiatives in the name of emissions reduction are consistent with the right to free prior and informed consent.
B. CAPACITY BUILDING
Our capacities to fully and effectively engage as women and as indigenous peoples in state and other initiatives related to climate change, REDD+ and sustainable development, remain limited due to various intersecting factors among which are the lack of appropriate information, resources and support which are reinforcing traditional and behavioral gender barriers.
Strengthening indigenous women’s agencies and/or institutions and indigenous peoples’ communities and organizations as a whole is crucial to be able to articulate, operationalize and negotiate our visions of sustained climate resilience and inclusive development. This includes better understanding of the context of indigenous women’s marginalization among REDD+ actors and addressing this within and among indigenous organizations/communities and in the broader social context. Capacity building is a two-way process.
- Institutionalize investment in processes that ensures the strengthening and institutional development of indigenous women and peoples’ organizations. These processes should be designed to provide a means through which state agencies and other stakeholders learn from the specific situations of indigenous women and peoples towards more informed interventions and actions.
- Provide time, resources and create spaces in REDD+ strategies and actions to raise the awareness of indigenous women on their rights as women and as indigenous peoples and how these are/are not translated into state policies, regulations and programs related to forests, the REDD+ and ERP.
- REDD+ initiatives and actions should address the intersectionalities of gender discrimination and provide enabling spaces for indigenous women for full and effective participation in all levels. Governments should allocate adequate time and resources to enable meaningful consultations and dialogues with indigenous women through targeted consultations specially those who are directly impacted by the REDD+ initiatives, to provide timely, full, adequate and appropriate information to enable understanding how it impacts on their rights as women and indigenous peoples, including benefits and risks, as a primary process towards free and prior informed consent.
- REDD+ Actions should facilitate recognition of and strengthen the protection and advancement of the rights, knowledge and roles of indigenous women in climate mitigation and adaptation, emissions reduction, resource management and conservation and sustainable development.
- Direct access to funds and resources by indigenous women and their organizations/agencies in support of their own local/community emissions reduction initiatives, livelihoods, appropriate technology and innovation. Current standards, requirements and processes to access grants should be simplified or mechanisms installed to accommodate direct access by indigenous women’s organizations/agencies.
- REDD+ actions should include organizing and equipping indigenous women and their communities to access and effectively manage resources, implement projects and programs through skills development workshops on popular education methods and approaches, project proposal development and fund-raising as well as organizational and finance management.
C. GOVERNANCE: PARTICIPATION, MONITORING AND BENEFIT SHARING
Indigenous women are most often left out of public life and decision making because of their poverty in time caused by their multiple roles and responsibilities in the family and in the community. Existing practices and approaches may not necessarily apply effectively among indigenous women where the work and agricultural cycle, spiritual and other socio-cultural and community matters have to be considered
- Readiness and ERP designs should include targeted consultation processes and capacity building activities for indigenous women and peoples including providing ample time, resources and spaces specific for indigenous women to be able to participate fully and effectively in decision making processes from local to national levels and in all project phases and processes from conceptualization, design, implementation, evaluation and benefit sharing, including IP and gender sensitive grievance mechanism;.
- Provide spaces and enabling resources for indigenous women representation at the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’s Participants Committee level. Where REDD+ initiatives and interventions involve indigenous peoples, the FCPF - PC should ensure the participation of indigenous women representative/s from the country under review.
- Ensure the gender analysis of REDD+/ERP design, implementation, evaluation and benefit – sharing using culture-sensitive and gender responsive approaches with the active engagement of indigenous women.
1. Institutionalize gender assessment in the SESA towards the development of specific Gender Action Plans and indicators for monitoring of REDD+ from strategies to activities, including benefits.
2. Allocate resources for the development of culture sensitive gender indicators in consultation with indigenous women in consideration of their knowledge, roles and other contributions to sustaining community well-being viz ecological resilience and emissions reduction and ensure that these are reflected in the safeguards and benefit sharing plans of all ERP design documents.
3. As part of the national monitoring system, governments, in consultation with indigenous peoples, to develop culturally appropriate and gender-specific indicators for monitoring community based activities and livelihoods.
4. Provide resources for the creation of an independent international monitoring and evaluation process that includes experts from indigenous women/peoples results of which should be directly communicated to the communities concerned.
5. Designate independent funding to assess, set-up where needed, and strengthen existing indigenous, gender-sensitive and accessible grievance mechanisms ensuring that indigenous women are represented.
Benefits from forests, forest conservation and emissions reduction should not be viewed merely in terms of carbon sequestration and opportunity cost. Based on a longer term perspective of empowerment and transformation towards sustained, rights-based and gender responsive climate resilient communities, indigenous women and peoples have been articulating the significance of non-carbon benefits from the REDD+/ERP i.e recognition of land rights, securing indigenous women and peoples’ land tenure and livelihoods, recognition of and development of indigenous knowledge and management of their territories and resources, adaptive and appropriate technologies and innovation, among others.
1. Gender and women empowerment can result from the REDD+/ERP which can be considered as a benefit. Addressing traditional and behavioral gender barriers, with the participation of and in full consultation with indigenous women, therefore, should be targeted in all design documents at the global to the local levels.
2. REDD+/ERP strategies and action should establish gender sensitive and disaggregated baselines and a documentation system accessible to and useable for and by indigenous peoples to enable negotiation for equitable benefit sharing.
3. Design equitable, gender-sensitive benefit-sharing mechanisms with due respect to existing indigenous institutions and in full consideration of advancing the status of indigenous women.
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For Pratima Gurung from Nepal, empowering indigenous women with disabilities starts with making them count as active participants and decision-makers, not just observers of decisions. She points to the need to strengthen their voices in disability fora, as well as indigenous peoples’ fora.
(19 April 2017)--“I became disabled at seven, when I lost my hand in a truck accident. Suddenly, everything changed. People had different perceptions about my future—what I should do and not do, whether I should go to school, or whether I should get married.
Within my family, I didn’t feel discriminated, but as soon as I left home, I felt it everywhere I went.
My parents moved to another city and it was difficult to adjust to all the changes. I struggled within myself about my disability, even as my parents struggled to care for me and motivate me.
I was lucky that my parents were educated and they never cut any corners with my education. Most indigenous women and women with disability in my country do not get that opportunity like me.
Today, in Nepal, I am leading the advocacy for women with disabilities and indigenous women. Most disabled peoples’ organization, indigenous peoples’ organization and state mechanisms in my country don’t cater to the specific needs and unique realities of indigenous women with disabilities.
With the changing climate and recurring disasters, indigenous women are more at risk than ever before. Some 80 per cent of the total population in the 13 districts impacted by the 2016 earthquake in Nepal were indigenous and dalit (caste) peoples. If a pregnant woman without shelter is doing five hours walk every day to collect water and firewood, she doesn’t even realize how this may impact her baby and her health. Rising psychosocial problem, drought and malnutrition are silently causing disabilities in our children.
Empowering [indigenous women with disabilities] means that we must be at the table making decisions about the issues that affect us.”
The concept of collective rights is central to indigenous cultures. But the status of indigenous women within and outside their communities remain precarious when they are unable to claim any rights of their own. Janneth Lozano Bustos works with indigenous communities in Colombia to economically empower women so that they can enjoy autonomy over their lives and resources.
(18 April 2017)-- “I was nine years old when my father was part of a very famous trial in Colombia, which outlawed the barbaric practice of “guajiviadas”—hunting of indigenous peoples as a form of “sport”—by the settlers. The defense argued that the settlers didn’t know that indigenous peoples had souls and thought of them as animals.
When I started working with indigenous women, almost thirty years ago, I began to understand that their reality was very precarious, not only because of the poverty they endured, but the conditions they had at work, the violence they suffered within their relations and at work.
In northern Cauca region, over 400 Kilometres from the capital city of Bogota, indigenous families often send out their young girls to join domestic work in nearby cities. But their work is poorly remunerated; they have long hours as live-in help and receive no social security.
Back in the days, in the nearby cities like Popayan, mothers of the aristocratic families thought that it was better for their boys to be initiated in sex with indigenous girls. Although the practice has been abolished, I still hear of men in their forties who joke about having slept with their domestic workers when they were young, with the complicity of their mothers.
When I work with indigenous women and girls, I explain to them that if they need to work as domestic workers in the cities, they have rights that they can claim. But even as more indigenous women and girls are becoming aware and claiming their rights, their employers don’t want to recognize their rights to minimum wage, rest and social security.
When these women return to their communities, they work as farmers, but they never see a dime from selling their products. The sale is finalized by the men and they keep the money. If [the women] are raising the hen and selling it, they should have the right to lead the negotiation and receive the money!
Indigenous men fear that feminism breaks with the idea of collective rights. We are trying to explain that expanding indigenous women’s rights strengthens the collective rights of the community.”
Indigenous women are visible in the outcome document of the recent 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women which happened on 13-24 March in New York.
In the Agreed Conclusions, there are two particular provisions for indigenous women:
34. The Commission recognizes that the economic empowerment, inclusion and development of indigenous women, including through the establishment of indigenous-owned businesses, can enable them to improve their social, cultural and civil and political engagement, achieve greater economic independence and build more sustainable and resilient communities, and noting the contribution of indigenous peoples to the broader economy.
gg. Take measures to promote the economic empowerment of indigenous women including by ensuring access to quality and inclusive education and meaningful participation in the economy by addressing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination they face and barriers, including violence, and promote their participation in relevant decision-making processes at all levels and in all areas, and respecting and protecting their traditional and ancestral knowledge, and noting the importance of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, for indigenous women and girls;
For many years up to present, indigenous women have been attending CSW sessions advocating for the promotion of the right of indigenous women and girls. They have been holding dialogues with UN and government representatives to advance the human rights of indigenous women and girls and side events to highlight the contexts, experiences and demands of indigenous women and girls around the world.
You may check the official document at http://www.unwomen.org/en/csw/csw61-2017.
(20 March 2017)- Gender parity at all levels—political, cultural, economic and social—is a “central objective” and must be based on women's empowerment, Secretary-General António Guterres told women's rights activists and civil society representatives today during a town hall-style discussion at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Parity is important in all areas of political and social life, said Mr. Guterres adding: “This is a battle […] a struggle.” Generally no one likes to lose positions they have long held, but the reality of gender parity is that many more women will be in positions that today are occupied by men. “But that's a good thing,” he said, noting that in his experience, gender parity means better decision-making and better management.
Alongside UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, as well as Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and his senior staff, Mr. Guterres set the stage for the end of the first week of the 61st Commission on the Status of Women, known as the largest inter-governmental forum on women's rights and gender equality. The theme this year is women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work.
The Secretary-General sought suggestions and opinions of the civil society representatives on how the UN can move forward on its commitments on gender equality. He opened the discussion by sharing life lessons on the issue, telling the gathering that during his time as Prime Minster of Portugal, one of his most difficult battles had been putting family violence on the national agenda.
Indigenous women from the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Arctic and the Pacific articulated through the International Indigenous Women’s Forum reaffirmed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action adopted during the Fourth World Conference on Women;
We highlight two resolutions concerning on indigenous women adopted by the Commission on the Status of Women, “Indigenous women: beyond the ten-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” (Resolution 49/7); and “Indigenous women: key actors in poverty and hunger eradication” (Resolution 56/4);
We particularly value the six direct indicators that make reference to indigenous peoples in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and we advocate for its implementation in coherence with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples adopted by the General Assembly in 20017, where the article 22 is related to indigenous women;
Recognizing the assumed commitments, adopted measures and the efforts made by the States, United Nations system, indigenous peoples and other agents related to the application of the Outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, particularly related to the rights of indigenous persons with disabilities and indigenous women;
We congratulate the Commission on the Status of Women for addressing the empowerment of indigenous women as a focus area during its sixty-first session;
We emphasize the importance to recognizing the contributions of indigenous women based on ancestral knowledge, which are key to energizing various local economies in order to eradicate poverty and ensure food sovereignty and sustainable development in our territories;
Concerned by the marked violence that we face indigenous women, human rights and mother earth defenders, we make an urgent call to accomplish the commitments and measures focused to promote opportunities of economic autonomy, access to economic resources as well as culturally relevant education and social services;
We believe that each culture has its own concept of empowerment and that must be taken into account. For us, indigenous women, empowerment is linked to the full exercise of our individual and collective rights in accordance with our worldview, it is part of our collective responsibilities to protect and live in peace with the Mother Earth;
Empowerment includes the right to freely exercise the economic, social and cultural development of each of our indigenous peoples as well to have control over our territories and their resources, which are often undermined by large corporations with the support of the States;
We highlight that Indigenous entrepreneurship guided by the logic of complementarity and reciprocity within the communities implies collective and holistic wellbeing;
We recognize the multiple expressions of economic empowerment through innovative experiences in economic endeavors such as artists, traditional foods, community tourism, designers and weavers, activists combining political empowerment with food security, the Indigenous Women’s Fund AYNI;
We have found that the lack of resources for food and production has forced the migration of indigenous women into labor markets, including domestic work in inhumane conditions. Migration pressures indigenous peoples to engage the formal economic system usually under conditions of inequality especially for indigenous women;
In view of this situation, we urge Members States to include the following priorities:
1. That States incorporate indicators disaggregated by ethnicity and gender for the appropriate formulation of public policies that guarantee well-being and services in rural contexts and indigenous communities, recognizing the contributions of indigenous women in the paid and unpaid labour market;
2. Recognize the contribution of indigenous women and their communities to sustainable and equitable development based on respect for ancestral knowledge, cultures, traditional values and practices and management systems that ensures environmental goods and services not only for indigenous communities but also for the general public;
3. Recognize the right of indigenous women to access and manage land, territory and its resources, including collective rights and usufruct use of land and common property, and implement actions based on free prior and informed consent;
4. To allocate financial resources to the implementation of economic activities of indigenous women taking into account their traditional knowledge in order to strengthen their leadership and improve their development, in particular through improved equitable access to productive resources and agricultural inputs, such as land, seeds, financial services, technology, transportation and information;
5. To encourage the Commission on the Status of Women to review the progress made and the challenges encountered in the implementation of the two adopted resolutions that refer to indigenous women; with a view to developing measures to eliminate obstacles to access to justice, especially for indigenous women, girls, youth and indigenous women with disabilities;
6. Ensure the full and effective participation of indigenous women, specially of the youth and indigenous women with disabilities in the preparatory processes for the sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women, including the Expert Group Meeting, Multi-Stakeholder Forum and the regional consultations prior to the session.
We, Indigenous women organizations endorse this Political Statement:
Cameroon Indigenous Women Forum (FFAC)
Foundation for Integrated Rural Development (FIRD) Uganda
Centro de Culturas Indígenas de Perú (Chirapaq)
FUNDACION PASO A PASO OLGA MONTUFAR CONTRERAS
Perempuan Aman – Maluku
SNF-Sámi Nisson Forum
Asociación Comunal Inkawasi Awana
Asian Indigenous Women's Network (AIWN)
(06 March 2017)--Women’s rights are human rights. But in these troubled times, as our world becomes more unpredictable and chaotic, the rights of women and girls are being reduced, restricted and reversed.
Empowering women and girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realize their full potential.
Historic imbalances in power relations between men and women, exacerbated by growing inequalities within and between societies and countries, are leading to greater discrimination against women and girls. Around the world, tradition, cultural values and religion are being misused to curtail women’s rights, to entrench sexism and defend misogynistic practices.
Women’s legal rights, which have never been equal to men’s on any continent, are being eroded further. Women’s rights over their own bodies are questioned and undermined. Women are routinely targeted for intimidation and harassment in cyberspace and in real life. In the worst cases, extremists and terrorists build their ideologies around the subjugation of women and girls and single them out for sexual and gender-based violence, forced marriage and virtual enslavement.
Despite some improvements, leadership positions across the board are still held by men, and the economic gender gap is widening, thanks to outdated attitudes and entrenched male chauvinism. We must change this, by empowering women at all levels, enabling their voices to be heard and giving them control over their own lives and over the future of our world.
Denying the rights of women and girls is not only wrong in itself; it has a serious social and economic impact that holds us all back. Gender equality has a transformative effect that is essential to fully functioning communities, societies and economies.
Women’s access to education and health services has benefits for their families and communities that extend to future generations. An extra year in school can add up to 25 per cent to a girl’s future income.
When women participate fully in the labour force, it creates opportunities and generates growth. Closing the gender gap in employment could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. Increasing the proportion of women in public institutions makes them more representative, increases innovation, improves decision-making and benefits whole societies.
Gender equality is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the global plan agreed by leaders of all countries to meet the challenges we face. Sustainable Development Goal 5 calls specifically for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and this is central to the achievement of all the 17 SDGs.
I am committed to increasing women’s participation in our peace and security work. Women negotiators increase the chances of sustainable peace, and women peacekeepers decrease the chances of sexual exploitation and abuse.
Within the UN, I am establishing a clear road map with benchmarks to achieve gender parity across the system, so that our Organization truly represents the people we serve. Previous targets have not been met. Now we must move from ambition to action.
On International Women’s Day, let us all pledge to do everything we can to overcome entrenched prejudice, support engagement and activism, and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.