Monday, May 23, 2011

UN Global Indigenous Women's Caucus Statement 2011

International: Global Indigenous Women's Caucus Statement - UN Permanent Forum On Indigenous Issues 10th Session

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Tenth Session
May 16-27, 2011 Agenda Item 3 (a) Follow-up to the recommendations of the Permanent Forum: Economic and Social Development

Honorable Madame Chairperson,

Members of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, distinguished representatives of Indigenous Peoples, sisters and brothers here today,

Indigenous women have a central role to play in the advancement of Indigenous peoples’ human rights and well-being and we welcome the opportunity to play this role throughout this 10th session of the UN Permanent Forum, and we respectfully request that our recommendations be integrated into the final report.

The key concerns that we will be highlighting throughout this session include: promotion of the leadership capacity of Indigenous women and girls (including within Indigenous governance systems and development programs and policies), the rights of Mother Earth (including the protection of sacred rights and the sacred right to water), violence caused by the militarization of Indigenous communities, the need for support of Indigenous women’s role in addressing environmental impacts and Climate Change (including reproductive health rights), food sovereignty, impact of extractive industries on Indigenous communities, unrepresented and unrecognized Indigenous peoples, migration and border issues. We would also like to support the examination of the following issues: using CEDAW to advance Indigenous women’s rights, the need for a standardized interpretation of free, prior and informed consent consistent with the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Doctrine of Discovery and the proposed World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.

The Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus endorses and recommends the UN Permanent Forum to consider the following: 1) the “Position on Women and REDD+” by the Indigenous Environmental Network, 2) the statement on the right to water and Indigenous peoples submitted by the American Indian Law Alliance and Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Development, 3) the “People’s Agreement of Cochabamba,” the final document of the World’s People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (April 22, 2010), and 4) the proposal by the Global Indigenous Caucus and the North American Indigenous Peoples Caucus for an Expert Group meeting to address the impacts on environmental toxins on the health of Indigenous women, including their reproductive health, in 2012 before the UN Permanent Forum’s 11th Session.

As it is the first time we take the floor, we would like to welcome the new Members of the Permanent Forum to your positions as well as the returning Members, and look forward to working with you for the betterment of Indigenous women, their families and Nations throughout the world.
We offer the following recommendations in relation to Agenda Item 3(a) Follow-up to the recommendations of the Permanent Forum: Economic and Social Development.


1. We call upon the Permanent Forum to urge the United Nations system and states to strengthen capacity building and leadership initiatives for Indigenous women in order to facilitate their full and effective participation in the assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of economic and social development programs and policies undertaken by UN agencies, government agencies, and transnational corporations in Indigenous territories and communities, as well as to participate in their own development models, policies and practices. Furthermore, by strengthening Indigenous women’s capacity building and leadership, this will facilitate the exercise of their right to free, prior and informed consent.

2. We welcome the Permanent Forum’s recognition that Indigenous peoples’ development is intimately linked with education and urge the Permanent Forum to further advance its recommendation that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and other United Nations agencies convene an Expert Group Meeting on bilingual, intercultural and multilingual education. Furthermore, we urge the Permanent Forum to continue to ensure recognition of the need for holistic educational programs that take into consideration Indigenous women’s traditional knowledge, pedagogical and didactic practices, and worldviews; and that promote the use and preservation of indigenous languages.
3. Based on paragraphs 33 and 35 of the Permanent Forum’s Report on the 3rd Session, we urge the Permanent Forum to recommend the United Nations system that in implementing culturally appropriate economic and social development programs and policies, it is necessary to recognize the diverse community roles that Indigenous women and girls have, the diversity of gender and age relations, the traditional mechanisms of gender and age definition and distinction, and the inter-generational work in Indigenous communities. These distinctive elements must be adequately reflected in the programs and policies of the systems of the UN, member states and Indigenous peoples.

4. We call upon the Permanent Forum to urge UN agencies, government agencies and transnational corporations to encourage economic development projects that address the most pressing subsistence and health needs of Indigenous communities to promote traditional practices aimed at achieving food sovereignty and holistic health systems.

5. In its 3rd Session Report, paragraph 12, the Permanent Forum calls upon the International Organization on Migration (IOM) to address the urgency of the problems faced by Indigenous migrant women, including the alarming trend of forced trafficking of Indigenous women within and across national and international borders. Given that the Indigenous women’s migration is greatly increasing, we recommend the Permanent Forum requests the IOM to report on its progress achieved in addressing these issues. Furthermore, due to ongoing development projects, environmental degradation and economic crises, we request that special attention is given to Indigenous women’s rights. These rights include the right to move and migrate freely throughout their lands and territories (in the face of involuntary displacement and state relocation of Indigenous communities) and the right to live free from violence experienced by migrant Indigenous women and girls and, indeed, all cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women

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