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Virtual event: Ending violence against Indigenous Women

Virtual side-event during the 50th session of the Human Rights Council and the 15th session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Time & Date: 5th of July 14:00-15:30 CET, 08:00-09:30 in Peru, 20:00-21:30 in Chiang Mai

Violence against women and girls is a pervasive violation of human rights that persists worldwide 

Violence Against Indigenous Women will be under consideration during the 50th session of the Human Rights Council (13 June – 8 July 2022) and at the 15th session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  At the UN Human Rights Council session, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women will be presenting her thematic report on Violence Against Indigenous Women and the 15th session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples ( 4 July -8 July)  will also consider this crucial topic under its agenda item 9 on the 5th of July. 

The International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), FIMI, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), and the Network of Indigenous Women in Asia (NIWA) will be partnering with the Permanent Mission of Denmark to the United Nations in Geneva and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland in organizing this side-event, to highlight the severe situation of violence and repression that Indigenous Women face, and to discuss possible steps to counter the violence they face.

Background

Indigenous Peoples all over the world face systemic discrimination rooted in persistent racism as well as past and present colonialism. Indigenous Peoples forced to live in countries created and ruled by the descendants of settler colonialists from overseas, or in countries created after the colonizers had left and are now ruled by the elites of the dominant society, result in their experience of discrimination, dispossession and disempowerment that follows colonization. Many Indigenous communities have been forcefully relocated, lands have been taken away, forests have been destroyed, mountains have been mined and valleys have been dammed and flooded. 

Being colonized and suppressed obviously results in a series of negative consequences including racism and systemic discrimination that also leads to much violence against Indigenous women. 

When the wider society views Indigenous Peoples as secondary citizens, the likelihood of violence with impunity happening against them increases – the countless murdered and missing Indigenous women in Canada or the countless unreported and unrecorded rape cases against Indigenous women by settlers, military, police, workers from outside, or tourists, are brutal examples of this. 

Indeed, Indigenous women and girls are significantly more likely to be victims of different forms of sexual violence and more likely to experience rape than non-indigenous women and girls. This includes a higher exposure to various forms of sexual violence, trafficking and domestic violence. Violence against Indigenous women and girls also occurs in contexts such as during armed conflicts and militarization of their territories, during the implementation of development, investment and extractive projects, and while exercising the defence of their human rights. In some cases, this form of violence is politically motivated.

Violence against Indigenous Women considered by the Human Rights Council 

  • The thematic report of the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women on the issue of violence against women 

Since starting her three-year tenure, in August 2021, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Ms. Reem Alsalem, has identified as one of her priorities the issue of violence against indigenous women and girls. This issue is the subject of her upcoming thematic report, to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in its 50th session, on the 20 of June 2022.

In her report to the Human Rights Council, the UN special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, highlights several causes, manifestations and consequences of gender-based violence against indigenous women and girls and describes good practices and challenges with regard to their access to justice, to truth and redress, and to support services, and their participation in initiatives and processes related to prevention of and protection from gender-based violence. The report includes a set of very important recommendations to States, the Commission on the Status of Women and other relevant stake holders. 

  • The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The issue of the situation of indigenous women and the promotion of protection and respect of their rights has always been one of EMRIP’s priorities to which it has given special attention during many of its annual sessions, thematic reports and country engagement initiatives. This year, at its 15th session, the EMRIP has included in its work agenda a thematic discussion on the topic of violence against Indigenous Women

The presentation of the rapporteur's report to the Human Rights Council and the thematic discussion at the EMRIP’s  15th session undoubtedly provides an opportunity to discuss more in depth with representatives of States, UN mechanisms, relevant international organizations, NGOs, etc. the necessary actions to advance in the eradication of violence against indigenous women.

Co-organisers of the event:

  • The Danish Mission to the United Nations in Geneva
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland
  • FIMI
  • IWGIA
  • AIPP
  • NIWA

Objectives

  • To examine what actions and measures must be taken to prevent violence against indigenous women and protect indigenous women from violence. 
  • To focus on possible ways to strengthen the role of the Human Rights Council, its subsidiary bodies, including EMRIP and the OHCHR.

 

EN HRC 50

Tags: Global governance

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About IWGIA

IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending Indigenous Peoples’ rights. Read more.

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Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for Indigenous Peoples worldwide. Read The Indigenous World.

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