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Chairperson of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Myra Cunningham, Message - International Human Rights Day 2011 - Women
10, 2011 — International Human Rights Day, we want to
acknowledge the hard work of millions of indigenous
women who in adverse conditions, hit
with multiple forms of violence contribute with their resilience
capabilities to the lives of their people’s. To them we
dedicate this day, to the defenders of the rights of
indigenous women who run enormous risks to do their job.
Indigenous peoples have fought for centuries against genocide, displacement, colonization, and forced assimilation, preserving their cultures and identities as distinct peoples. The ongoing attack has left Indigenous communities among the poorest and most marginalized in the world, alienated from State politics and disenfranchised by national governments.
Human rights and the very survival of indigenous peoples around the world are threatened by policies predicated on racism, exclusion, and worldviews that are inimical to indigenous life. In many parts of the world, a centuries-long attack on indigenous peoples has escalated in recent years, as States and corporations scramble for control of the Earth’s dwindling supply of natural resources—many of which are located on Indigenous territories.
In order change this reality; on September 13, 2007 the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the General Assembly. It set a standard for the treatment of indigenous peoples around world and functioned as a significant tool towards eliminating human rights violations.
At the moment, indigenous women face human rights violation of near-universal scope, which are mediated in each case by aspects of identity beyond gender, including race, class, caste, religion, sexual orientation, geography, and ethnicity. For indigenous women, gender-based violence is shaped not only by gender discrimination within Indigenous and non-Indigenous arenas, but by a context of ongoing colonization and militarism; racism, social exclusion and poverty-inducing economic and “development” policies.
For indigenous peoples and indigenous women exercising our rights depend on securing legal recognition of our collective ancestral territories. Our territories are the basis of our identities, our cultures, our economies, and our traditions. Indigenous rights include the right to full recognition as peoples with our own worldview and traditions, with our own territories, our own modes of organization within nation-states; the right to self-determination through our own systems of autonomy or self-government based on a communal property framework; and the right to control, develop, and utilize our own natural resources.
Indigenous peoples have found in the human rights paradigm a cohesive global language, a moral framework, and a legal structure through which to pursue our claims.
Today, December 10, 2011 we celebrate the International Human Rights Day. A day where millions of people claim their inalienable fundamental rights; rights that belong to each of us equally and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.
Direct Link to Full 261-Page Report: Full text
In the year that saw the establishment of UN Women, the
new United Nations entity for gender equality and women’s empowerment, minority
and indigenous women continued to face violence, discrimination and
marginalization, stemming both from their identity as women and as members of
disadvantaged minority groups. In
In 2010, women belonging to Muslim minorities in the
global North choosing to wear the face veil also faced increasing pressure,
with bans under discussion in many countries. In the Middle East and Africa,
minority and indigenous women continue to be subjected to religious and
customary legal systems that deny them their rights, while Iraqi refugee women
(many of whom belong to religious minorities) elsewhere in the
This year’s edition of State of the World’s Minorities and Indigenous Peoples presents an overview of the situation of minority and indigenous women today, and includes:
· Discussions of gender-based violence and armed conflict, including the violence that indigenous and minority women experience within their own communities, and the difficulties that they face in accessing justice and support from outside.
· Consideration of the lack of progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals for minority and indigenous women, with special focus on reproductive rights and maternal mortality.
· Interviews and special reports on trafficking, intersectional discrimination, land seizures and women’s political representation.
· Overviews of the human rights situation of minorities and indigenous peoples in every major world region.
· 'Peoples Under Threat 2011' – MRG’s unique statistical analysis and ranking of countries.