The following statement is from the indigenous women participants (Bangladesh, India, Malaysia and Thailand) in the workshop on Grounding the Global: Strategising Workshop for the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women from 3-4 February 2013. Bangkok. It was organised by APWLD, AIPP, DPI-AP and FWCC. This statement was presented in the Asia Pacific Regional Preparatory meeting for the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women organized by ESCAP and UN Women in Bangkok from 5-6 February 2013.
Statement by Indigenous Women from Asia-Pacific
Asia is homeland to an estimated 2/3 of the world’s approximate 300 million indigenous peoples. Indigenous women suffer disproportionately from a multi-fold of discrimination and oppression based on their ethnicity, race, location and economic status together with their sex. Indigenous people may be known by other terms in their own countries, as ‘ethnic minorities’, or ‘hill tribes’, or ‘adivasi’ or ‘orang asal’ and so on. Our reference is inclusive of all peoples who chose to self-define as ‘indigenous’ regardless of national government terminology.
The root causes of violence affecting indigenous women include the depletion of their natural environment and resources due to wide-spread development aggression, loss of territories, militarization and displacement that can lead to trafficking and migration, poverty and denial of culturally appropriate social services.
Belonging to an indigenous community means that women suffer from all the discrimination, exploitation, marginalization and human rights violations indigenous peoples are experiencing across the world. Women in particular feel the impact of loss of territory and access to resources, maybe even more than the men since they are more directly responsible for taking care of and bringing up their children. Often, dispossession goes hand in hand with violence by state armed forces, settlers or the security personnel of private companies. The occupation of indigenous peoples’ land not only means forced eviction but murder and sexual harassment including rape of indigenous women.
1) Campaigns, trainings, continued education and re-education to address underlying social values that shape mindsets and permit gender violence to be part of daily life.
2) Include indigenous women issues and concerns in the national women development policies and plan of action on violence against women
3) Ban and remove cultural practices that reinforce the subordination of women ( Article 5 of CEDAW )
4) Monitoring and evaluation of state intervention in order to hold governments accountable
5) Take effective measures to prevent all forms of violence and discrimination against indigenous women [articles: 22. 1 &2 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)]
6) Respect traditional land rights of indigenous peoples and prevent land alienation as provided in the UNDRIP
7) Crime committed by security personnel should be punished under criminal justice system.
8) All services related to protection of VAW should be universal and accessible and available at all levels and developed with holistic and culturally sensitive approach with the community.
9) Universal access and holistic approach to free formal legal aid support services to survivors of violence.
10) We call on governments of the region to demonstrate a commitment to Indigenous women’s rights by meeting with them prior to CSW, by including them in their country delegations, by including them on panels hosted by governments, by meeting with them during CSW and consulting them on the relevant language of the outcome document and promoting all the rights and issues presented here in their country statements and in the agreed conclutions document.
We request that recommendations listed above are taken into consideration by government representatives in attendance to the Asia-Pacific Regional Preparatory Meeting for the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, 5-6 February 2013 for national level implementation and in the final draft of agreed conclusions for the 57th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women