Implementing UN Recommendations on Indigenous Women: Understanding barriers and enablers
In the past two decades, the United Nations has increasingly focused attention on the human rights of Indigenous Peoples. A growing set of UN treaty bodies (TB’s) and mechanisms continually recommend Member States to improve the rights of Indigenous Women.
The TB’s include the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the International Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). Besides the UN treaty bodies, other mechanisms, UN organisations, and mandate holders that have provided recommendations to states related to the improvement of the situation of Indigenous Women include the UN Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Human Rights Council Special Procedures such as the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Special Rapporteur on minority issues, Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, In addition UN International labour Organization (ILO), Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), and UNWOMEN. Dedicated UN mechanisms have been established, including the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in 2000, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (SRIP) in 2001, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) in 2007 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) adopted by The General Assembly in 2007.
Various Indigenous Peoples and IPO’s have begun to submit alternative or shadow reports to the TB’s, notably to the CERD, CEDAW and CESCR, however, the overall majority of Indigenous Peoples deliver statements to the annual sessions of UNPFII and EMRIP the two mechanisms specifically dedicated to Indigenous Peoples, whose mandates do not include addressing specific human rights violations.
While numerous recommendations are formulated every session of the TB’s and mechanisms, it is difficult to establish conclusive and direct causal links between recommendations and the legislative or policy changes at the domestic level. This report aims to contribute toward a better understanding of the UN recommendations directed explicitly at the situation of Indigenous Women, and to identify and discuss the obstacles to their implementation.