For Immediate Release
Indigenous Women of the World Unite in Lima, Peru
Indigenous women leaders from every continent will join together in Lima, Peru, to demand that States eradicate violence.
Lima, Peru - Three hundred women from Africa, the Arctic, Asia, Latin America, North America, the Pacific, and Russia will have a space in Lima, Peru from October 28th to 30th during the World Conference of Indigenous Women. They will demand the greater prominence of indigenous women at every level of decision-making and will call upon governments to dedicate funding to attend to the specific needs of indigenous women.
The conference will result in a political declaration that will be presented at the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples, a meeting to be convened by the United Nations next year in New York. In addition, the conference aims to bring attention to the situation of indigenous women and youth in the redrafting of the Millennium Development Goals, whose deadline for compliance is in 2015.
Peru has been selected as the site of this important conference because it has the second largest population of indigenous women in Latin America, with about 3.2 million. It is also the birthplace of one of the most ancient indigenous cultures on the continent.
Among the attendees will be Victoria Tauli Corpuz, President of the Indigenous Peoples' International Centre for Policy Research and Education, from the Philippines; Myrna Cunningham, former President of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, from Nicaragua; and Tarcila Rivera Zea, Coordinator of the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas, from Peru.
The Conference will also benefit from the participation of other important indigenous women leaders and researchers like Agnes Leina, a member of the Coalition on Violence Against Women in Kenya; Ruth Massie, Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations; and Fabiana del Popolo, a representative of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the UN body responsible for promoting economic and social development in the region.
The Conference is organized by the International Indigenous Women's Forum, the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas, the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, the African Indigenous Women's Organization, and global indigenous networks. CHIRAPAQ, the Center for Indigenous Peoples' Cultures of Peru, is hosting the event. Cultural Survival is part of the official media team for the event.
Indigenous women are among the most vulnerable people on the planet. Unlike other women in the world, in addition to experiencing discrimination based on their gender, indigenous women experience discrimination for being indigenous. They experience the highest rates of poverty and lack basic health services and education. This situation of permanent marginalization makes them for likely to be victims of multiple forms of violence, including sexual violence.
For decades, the majority of government policies have been unable to remedy indigenous women's unique situation. Even worse, modern laws have dispossessed them of their right to control their territories and resources. In certain countries, the pressure of extractive industries has led to their forced displacement and required them to migrate to cities, where they face further assault.
However, indigenous women have abilities and knowledge that, given further attention, would benefit not only their communities but also the entire planet. The events of the World Conference of Indigenous Women can be followed by the public online at www.mujerindigena.com.