Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls: sexual harassment 2/3

1. Strongly condemns all forms of violence against all women and girls, including sexual harassment, recognizing that it is an impediment to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls and to the full realization of their human rights;  

2. Acknowledges that sexual harassment is a form of violence and a violation and abuse of human rights that is likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual, economic or social harm or suffering;  

3. Stresses that sexual harassment encompasses a continuum of unacceptable and unwelcome behaviours and practices of a sexual nature that may include, but are not limited to, sexual suggestions or demands, requests for sexual favours and sexual, verbal or physical conduct or gestures, that are or might reasonably be perceived as offensive or humiliating;  

4. Urges States to condemn violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment, and reaffirms that they should not invoke any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination and should pursue, by all appropriate means and without delay, a policy of eliminating violence against women, as set out in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women;9 

 5. Calls upon States to address discrimination based on multiple and intersecting factors, which places women and girls at greater risk of exploitation, violence and abuse, and to take appropriate action to empower and protect them as well as achieve their full enjoyment of human rights without discrimination;  
6. Notes that efforts by civil society organizations in eliminating violence against women and girls are complementary to those of Governments, and in this regard urges States to support, where possible, non-State-led initiatives aimed at promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and at preventing, responding to and protecting women and girls from sexual harassment;  

7. Encourages national legislative authorities and political parties, as appropriate, to adopt codes of conduct and reporting mechanisms, or revise existing ones, stating zero tolerance by these legislative authorities and political parties for sexual harassment, intimidation and any other form of violence against women in politics;  

8. Urges States to take effective action to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment against women and girls and to address structural and underlying causes and risk factors, including by:  
(a) Designing and implementing appropriate domestic policies that are aimed at transforming discriminatory social attitudes and social and cultural patterns of conduct that condone violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment, with a view to preventing and eliminating, in all public and private spheres, discrimination, gender stereotypes, negative social norms, attitudes and behaviours, and unequal power relations by which women and girls are regarded as subordinate to men and boys and that underlie and perpetuate male domination;  
(b) Implementing, in partnership with all relevant stakeholders, effective violence prevention and response activities in schools and communities, educating children from a young age regarding the importance of treating all people with dignity and respect, and designing educational programmes and teaching materials that support gender equality, respectful relationships and non-violent behaviour;  
(c) Engaging men and boys in challenging gender stereotypes and negative social norms, attitudes and behaviours that underlie and perpetuate such violence and in developing and implementing measures that reinforce non-violent actions, attitudes and values, and encouraging men and boys, as agents and beneficiaries of change in the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, to take an active part and become their strategic partners and allies in efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls; 
(d) Developing policies and programmes with the support, where appropriate, of international organizations, civil society and non-governmental organizations, giving priority to formal, informal and non-formal education programmes, including scientifically accurate and age-appropriate comprehensive education that is relevant to cultural contexts, that provides adolescent girls and boys and young women and men in and out of school, consistent with their evolving capacities, and with appropriate direction and guidance from parents and legal guardians, with the best interests of the child as their basic concern, information on sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention, gender equality and women’s empowerment, human rights, physical, psychological and pubertal development and power in relationships between women and men, to enable them to build self-esteem and foster informed decision-making, communication and risk-reduction skills and to develop respectful relationships, in full partnership with young persons, parents, legal guardians, caregivers, educators and health-care providers, in order to, inter alia, enable them to protect themselves from HIV infection and other risks; 

 (e) Developing, adopting, strengthening and implementing legislation and policies that address the issue of sexual harassment in a comprehensive manner by, inter alia, prohibiting and considering, where appropriate, criminalizing sexual harassment, exercising due diligence by taking protective and preventive measures, ensuring appropriate complaints mechanisms and reporting procedures, as well as accountability and access to effective, timely and appropriate remedies, including through adequate enforcement by the police and the judiciary of civil remedies, orders of protection and, where applicable, criminal sanctions in order to eliminate impunity and avoid revictimization;
  (f) Accelerating efforts to develop, review and strengthen inclusive and gender-responsive policies, including by allocating adequate resources, to address the structural and underlying causes of sexual harassment against women and girls, to overcome gender stereotypes and negative social norms, to encourage the media to examine the impact of gender-role stereotypes, including those perpetuated by commercial advertisements, that foster gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and inequalities, to promote zero tolerance for such violence and to remove the stigma of being a victim and survivor of violence, thus creating an enabling and accessible environment where women and girls can easily report incidents of violence and make use of the services available, including protection and assistance programmes;  
(g) Taking measures to ensure that all officials, including those in leadership positions, responsible for implementing policies and programmes aimed at preventing violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment, protecting and assisting the victims and investigating and punishing acts of violence receive ongoing, adequate and gender- and culturally sensitive training to be aware of genderspecific needs, as well as of the underlying causes and short- and long-term impact of sexual harassment; 
 (h) Removing barriers, including political, legal, cultural, social, economic, institutional and religious ones, preventing women’s full, equal and effective participation in leadership and political and other decision-making positions, taking into account that promoting women to leadership positions may significantly reduce the risk of sexual harassment;  
(i) Taking measures to ensure that all workplaces are free from discrimination and exploitation, violence, and sexual harassment and bullying and that they address discrimination and violence against women and girls, as appropriate, through such measures as regulatory and oversight frameworks and reforms, collective agreements, codes of conduct, including appropriate disciplinary measures, protocols and procedures, and referral of cases of violence to health services for treatment and to police for investigation, as well as through awareness-raising and capacity-building, in collaboration with employers, unions and workers, including through workplace services and flexibility for victims and survivors;  
(j) Taking measures to improve the safety of girls at and on the way to and from school, including by creating a safe and violence-free environment by improving infrastructure, such as transportation, providing hygienic, separate and adequate sanitation facilities, improved lighting, playgrounds and safe environments and adopting policies to prevent, address and prohibit sexual harassment through all appropriate measures; 

9. Also urges States to take effective action to protect victims of all forms of violence, including sexual harassment, including by:  

(a) Providing relevant, comprehensive and victim-centred legal protection to support and assist victims of violence, including sexual harassment, in a gendersensitive manner, including victim and witness protection from reprisals for bringing 
Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls: sexual harassment complaints or giving evidence, within the framework of their national legal systems, including, as appropriate, legislative or other measures throughout the criminal and civil justice system, as appropriate, paying particular attention to women and girls facing multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination;  
(b) Establishing comprehensive, coordinated, interdisciplinary, accessible and sustained multisectoral services, programmes and responses for all victims and survivors of all forms of violence, including sexual harassment, that are adequately resourced, that are, when possible, in a language that they understand and in which they can communicate and that include effective and coordinated action by, as appropriate, relevant stakeholders, such as the police and the justice sector, as well as providers of legal aid services, health services, shelters, medical and psychological assistance, counselling services and protection, and, in cases of girl victims, ensuring that such services, programmes and responses take into account the best interests of the child;  
(c) Establishing and/or strengthening law enforcement, health and social workers’ and counsellors’ response protocols and procedures to ensure that all appropriate actions are taken to protect and respond to the needs of victims of violence, including sexual harassment, to identify acts of violence and to prevent their recurrence or further acts of violence and physical and psychological harm, ensuring that services are responsive to the survivors’ needs, including by providing access to female health-care providers, police officers and counsellors if requested, and ensuring and maintaining the privacy of victims and the confidentiality of their reporting;
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Monday, January 28, 2019

Intensification of efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls: sexual harassment 1/3

 The General Assembly,  Recalling its resolutions 61/143 of 19 December 2006, 62/133 of 18 December 2007, 63/155 of 18 December 2008, 64/137 of 18 December 2009, 65/187 of 21 December 2010, 67/144 of 20 December 2012, 69/147 of 18 December 2014 and all its previous resolutions on the elimination of violence against women, as well as its resolution 71/170 of 19 December 2016 on the intensification of efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls,  Reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,1 and noting that 2018 marks its seventieth anniversary,  Reaffirming also the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action,2 and noting that 2018 marks its twenty-fifth anniversary,  Recalling Human Rights Council resolution 38/5 of 5 July 2018, entitled “Accelerating efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls: preventing and responding to violence against women and girls in digital contexts”,3  Taking note of the agreed conclusions of the Commission on the Status of Women at its sixty-first session4 and Commission resolution 61/1 of 24 March 2017 on preventing and eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace,

 Reaffirming the obligation of all States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and reaffirming also that discrimination on the basis of sex is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 6  the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,6 the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women7 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Optional Protocols thereto,8 

Reaffirming also the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women,9  the Beijing Declaration10  and Platform for Action,11  the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development12  and the outcomes of their review conferences, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,13  

Recalling the commitment to eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation, contained in Sustainable Development Goal 5, in particular target 5.2,14 and taking into account the commitment to leave no one behind,  

Deeply concerned about violence against women and girls in all its different forms and manifestations worldwide, which is underrecognized and underreported, particularly at the community level, and its pervasiveness, which reflects discriminatory norms that reinforce stereotypes and gender inequality and the corresponding impunity and lack of accountability, reiterating the need to intensify efforts to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in the public and private spheres in all regions of the world, and re-emphasizing that violence against women and girls violates, and impairs their full enjoyment of, all human rights,  

Recognizing that violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment, is rooted in historical and structural inequality in power relations between men and women, seriously violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by women and girls and constitutes a major impediment to their full, equal and effective participation in society, as well as economic and political life,  
Bearing in mind that sexual harassment in private and public spaces, including in educational institutions and the workplace, as well as in digital contexts, leads to a hostile environment, which has a further negative impact on women and girls in the enjoyment of their rights and equal opportunities, has negative physical and mental health consequences for the victims and may negatively affect their families, 

 Recognizing the particular risk of sexual harassment faced by women and girls who suffer multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination,  Acknowledging that sexual harassment may be committed against girls who are working in accordance with national legislation or under other circumstances, while condemning child labour in all its forms, and reaffirming Member States’ obligations in accordance with international law to protect children, including from economic exploitation,  

Recognizing that women and girls are frequently subjected to violence, including sexual harassment, at work and that women and girls face increased risks of violence, including sexual harassment, in particular contexts, such as when working alone, when working in male-dominated workplaces, when working outside the normal working hours or when working in the same place where they live, bearing in mind the large number of women and girls worldwide who have reported being victims of sexual harassment in their workplace, and concerned that, owing to underreporting, the actual number may be much greater,  

Stressing the need to change social norms that condone violence against women and girls in the workplace, including through, but not limited to, training and awareness-raising campaigns conducted in the workplace, associated with a change in attitudes and increased knowledge about sexual harassment, particularly among men and boys,  

Deeply concerned that school-related violence against girls, including sexual violence and harassment on the way to and from and at school, such as violence perpetrated by school staff, including teachers, and other pupils, continues to deter girls from accessing and pursuing an education and, in many cases, the transition to and completion of secondary education, and that these risks may influence the decision of parents to allow girls to attend school,  
Underscoring that often lack of information and awareness, fear of reprisals, persisting impunity, insufficient recourse for violence against women and girls and negative social norms, including when leading to shame or stigma, as well as negative economic consequences, such as, inter alia, loss of livelihood or reduced income, prevent many women and, as applicable, girls from reporting or acting as witnesses and from seeking redress and justice in cases of sexual harassment,  

Deeply concerned about all acts of violence, including sexual harassment, against women and girls involved in political and public life, including women in leadership positions, journalists and other media workers and human rights defenders,  

Recognizing that the growing impact of violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment, in digital contexts, especially on social media, its impunity and the lack of preventive measures and remedies underline the need for action by Member States, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, and that such violence may include stalking, death threats and threats of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as related trends against women and girls in digital contexts, such as trolling, cyberbullying and other forms of cyberharassment, including unwanted verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature, with a view to discrediting women and girls and/or inciting other violations and abuses against them,  

Acknowledging the importance of combating trafficking in persons in order to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment, and in this regard stressing the importance of the full and effective implementation of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime,15 as well as of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons,16 

 Emphasizing that the lack or inadequacy of documentation, research and data, including disaggregated data, on sexual harassment against women and girls impedes efforts to design and implement measures, including, where appropriate, policies and legislation, to prevent and eliminate this form of violence,  

Stressing that laws addressing violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment, are often of limited scope, that those addressing sexual harassment do not cover many workplaces, such as those of domestic workers, including migrant domestic workers, and that gaps need to be addressed,  

Stressing also that, while the obligation and the primary responsibility to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms lie with the State, employers and education providers have the primary responsibility to take measures to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and at educational institutions, respectively,  

Stressing further that States, employers and education providers should take immediate, appropriate corrective action after sexual harassment has occurred by holding perpetrators to account and providing access to timely and appropriate remedies and protection for victims and witnesses, bearing in mind that victims of sexual harassment may be subjected to further discrimination or reprisals,  Recognizing the increase in public awareness and advocacy on sexual harassment, and stressing the need to accelerate government action to tackle sexual harassment,  

Highlighting the crucial role that educational and awareness-raising programmes, policies and legislation play in preventing and eliminating sexual harassment against women and girls,  

Stressing the need to fully engage men and boys as strategic partners and allies in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and in preventing and eliminating sexual harassment,  Recognizing the critical contribution of family members in combating violence against women and girls, including sexual harassment, by, inter alia, providing for a supportive environment for the empowerment of all women and girls, and that, in preventing such violence, the family can play an important role,
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Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Language Has Political Power - Terms of Reference for CSW


Language is not just semantics. It has political power. And, ultimately, language agreed within
the UN by governments can influence and often lead to programs and policies on the ground.
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Friday, January 11, 2019


228. The information gathered by the IACHR through its different human rights protection and promotion mechanisms corroborates that indigenous women have faced and continue to confront multiple forms of discrimination based on their gender, ethnicity, and situation of poverty, which heightens their exposure to human rights violations in different contexts. In this report, the Commission provides an analysis of the general human rights situation of indigenous women in the hemisphere, identifying areas where challenges must be addressed, as well as providing guidelines for States to use when designing and implementing measures to respect and ensure indigenous women’s human rights.

229. The IACHR recognizes the efforts made by various States of the region to address the situation of indigenous women’s human rights. However, formidable barriers still remain and it is essential that States continue working to find solutions to meet the particular needs of indigenous women and to fully respect and guarantee all of their human rights. It is important to include indigenous women and the organizations that represent them in the design and monitoring of State measures intended to advance their human rights, and to incorporate a holistic, gender, and ethno-racial approach, as described in this report.

230. Indigenous women also encounter different forms of discrimination and violence in their own communities. Consequently, indigenous justice systems must be compatible with internationally recognized human rights, just as State justice systems are required to be. Accordingly, they also have the duty to act with due diligence in preventing, investigating, and punishing violence against women, as well as to implement any necessary measures to eradicate the obstacles that prevent indigenous women from fully exercising their human rights without discrimination. 

231. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights concludes this report with ten recommendations to assist States in their ongoing efforts to prevent and respond to human rights violations affecting indigenous women, and confirms its disposition to collaborate in this process:
  • 1. Design, adopt, and implement an action plan to repeal the domestic legal provisions that are inconsistent with the guiding principles laid out above, and refrain from adopting laws incompatible with these guiding principles. Incorporate in all laws and policies that affect indigenous women a holistic approach to address the multiple and interconnected forms of discrimination encountered by them in different contexts, protecting both their individual and collective rights. The holistic approach must recognize the special role played by indigenous women in their communities, with a view to transform and rectify the structural and historical forms of discrimination affecting them;
  • 2. Design, adopt, and implement a gender-based, ethno-racial, and intercultural perspective to prevent, investigate, prosecute, and punish all forms of violence against indigenous women. The gender-based, ethno-racial, and intercultural perspective must also be incorporated into the formulation of reparations so they have a transformative effect on the multiple and interconnected forms of discrimination faced by indigenous women;
  • 3. Generate spaces of coordination between the State justice systems and traditional indigenous justice systems to incorporate a gender and intercultural perspective to improve the judicial protection of indigenous women when they suffer human rights violations. These spaces must promote the active participation of indigenous women in the systems of administration of justice and in the development of approaches to reparations;
  • 4. In accordance with the right to self-determination, adopt appropriate measures to ensure the civil and political rights associated with indigenous women’s exercise of full citizenship;  and create spaces for the full and active participation of indigenous women in the design and implementation of initiatives, programs, and policies at all levels of government; those related to indigenous women, as well as those related generally to indigenous peoples as a whole;
  • 5. Identify and institutionalize new forms of gender and cultural competency training for public servants from all sectors of government, including lawyers, judges, and teachers, in order to fully guarantee indigenous women’s right to live free from violence and make sure that, in the performance of their duties, public servants fully respect the physical and psychological integrity of indigenous women;
  • 6. Incorporate a gender and intercultural perspective in guaranteeing the right to a dignified life, free from discrimination; recognize that the right to a dignified life includes recognition of indigenous conceptions of community, culture, and family life; and therefore, revise its public policies, programs, and legislation in order to eradicate all forms of discrimination against indigenous women, and adequately reflect a gender and intercultural perspective;
  • 7. Adopt all appropriate measures to promote and protect indigenous women’s economic, social, and cultural rights with the goal of ensuring full access to basic health and education services, food, and water, among other things. This includes guaranteeing the use and enjoyment of their ancestral lands and territories, ensuring their collective rights to ownership of their ancestral lands via titling, delimitation, demarcation and possession, as these steps are fundamental to the physical and cultural survival of indigenous peoples;
  • 8. Produce comprehensive and disaggregated statistics on violence and discrimination against indigenous women, their access to justice, and their access to economic, social and cultural rights, as well as other quantitative and qualitative information that may be relevant to ensure their human rights; periodically update them to provide an accurate picture of the situation of violence and discrimination affecting indigenous women; and consider this information to design government policies and programs to effectively combat violence and discrimination against indigenous women, as well as to promote access to justice and the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights;
  • 9. Adopt special and differentiated measures for the protection of the lives and safety of indigenous women human rights defenders and leaders, in view of the three tiers of vulnerability faced by them as women, members of indigenous communities, and often living in situations of poverty;
  • 10. Ensure the application of each of the seven guiding principles detailed previously in this report when designing and implementing policies that affect indigenous women.
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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Economic, Social, and Cultural Dimensions of Indigenous Women’s Rights 19 /20

Chapter 6 C. Conclusions
226. International and inter-American instruments provide for a wide array of economic, social and cultural rights, which are understood as indivisible and interdependent with civil and political rights. However, indigenous peoples, as compared to the rest of the population, continue to endure higher rates of poverty and lack of access to basic services, education, and health care, and indigenous women and girls are the most affected. As was demonstrated above, indigenous women and girls are particularly affected by violations of their right to education, to health, to food and to clean water, their right to work and their right to culture. These violations of their rights make them more susceptible to violence.
227. As such, the Commission underscores that the impact of various economic, social and cultural rights violations that still plague indigenous women increases their vulnerability to violence and to other violations of their fundamental rights, and requires immediate and effective State intervention. The effectiveness of any measure which relates to the protection of indigenous women will be contingent on State integration of a holistic, intercultural, and gender-based approach in the design and implementation of laws, policies, and programs aimed at addressing these issues.
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Monday, January 7, 2019

Indigenous Women’s Cultural Rights 18/20

219. According to the UN Special Rapporteur on Cultural Rights, cultural rights are meant to “protect the rights of each person, individually and in community with others, as well as groups of people, to develop and express their humanity, their world view and the meanings they assign to human existence and development through, inter alia, values, beliefs, convictions, languages, knowledge and the arts, institutions and ways of life.”543 These rights also protect access to tangible and intangible cultural heritage as important resources enabling such identification and development processes.544 The Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has found that the right to culture in the context of indigenous peoples includes the right to self-determination, to their own culture, customs and languages, and the right to their institutions, and judicial systems.545

220. In order to ensure respect for the right to self-determination of indigenous peoples, the close connection between indigenous peoples’ cultural and language rights and their rights related to their lands, territories and natural resources must be recognized. 546 Additionally, indigenous peoples’ connections to traditional territories, to their homes and to their communities are important, even for those who have migrated elsewhere for work and education, to preserving and developing indigenous cultures.547 The Inter-American Court has held that the culture of the members of indigenous communities “corresponds to a specific way of life, of being, seeing and acting in the world, constituted on the basis of their close relationship with their traditional lands and natural resources, not only because these are their main means of subsistence, but also because they are an integral element of their cosmology, their spirituality and, consequently, their cultural identity.”548 The IACHR has previously noted that indigenous women belong to societies where ancestral land is an essential element of their existence and culture.549 In the context of a visit conducted by the Commission to Colombia, indigenous women stated that their survival is linked to preserving their lands, because that is where they can freely express their culture.550 Indigenous woman from Trinidad and Tobago and from Belize, respectively, informed the Commission of the central role women play in passing down culture from one generation to the next, affirming that “culture is who we are as indigenous women,”551 and that, “[indigenous] women are seen as the protectors and custodians of cultural values, customs and practices, and are protectors of that knowledge. They have the power to translate this knowledge to satisfy the sustainable lives of their children.”552 In addition, they spoke of the strength and resilience of  indigenous women, and of their ability to empower entire communities through the revival of their traditional knowledge on their culture or land preservation.553

221. In her report on indigenous peoples and their relationship to the land, former UN Special Rapporteur of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, Erica-Irene Daes, identified several elements: a) indigenous peoples have a deep relationship with their lands, territories, and resources; b) it is a relationship involving a variety of dimensions and social, cultural, spiritual, economic, and political responsibilities; c) the collective dimension of that relationship is important; and d) the intergenerational aspect of this relationship is fundamental to the cultural identity, survival, and viability of indigenous peoples.554 The IACHR has addressed the unique relationship between indigenous peoples and their lands on many occasions, expressing that “the use and enjoyment of the land and its resources are integral components of the physical and cultural survival of the indigenous communities and the effective realization of their human rights more broadly.”555 The Commission has observed that the particular connection between indigenous communities and their lands and resources is linked to these peoples’ very existence, both in terms of material subsistence and of cultural integrity, and therefore “warrants special measures of protection.”556 Likewise, the Inter-American Court has underscored that “for indigenous communities, relations to the land are not merely a matter of possession and production, but a material and spiritual element which they must fully enjoy, even to preserve their cultural legacy and transmit it to future generations.”557

222. Given that cultural and community identity is highly important to indigenous peoples, the forcible removal of children from their lands and the forced break up of families can have a variety of effects on the community in general and especially, on women and girls. State policies involving forced removal of children from families cause strong intergenerational impacts.

223. The situation of indigenous children and families in Canada provides an emblematic example of violations of the right to cultural identity. From 1879 to 1996, for over a century, as part of government assimilation strategies, the Canadian government established a mandatory residential schools policy for indigenous children. These government-funded and church-run schools and residences were “set up to assimilate Aboriginal people forcibly into the Canadian mainstream by eliminating parental involvement and community involvement in the intellectual, cultural, and spiritual development of Aboriginal children.”558 This policy was based in racist and discriminatory beliefs, they “were based on the assumption Aboriginal cultures and spiritual beliefs were inferior and unequal. Indeed, some sought, as it was infamously said, "to kill the Indian in the child".”559 More than 150, 000 First Nation, Métis and Inuit children were forcibly removed from their families and placed in boarding schools, where they were purposefully cut off from their indigenous traditions and cultures. At these boarding schools, the indigenous children were provided an inferior education, were instead encouraged to learn a craft or a trade, and school management and staff frequently mistreated and abused their students emotionally, physically and far too often, sexually. In addition to being removed far from their families, having their traditional clothes thrown away, their hair cut, and their customs mocked, they were not permitted to communicate in their native languages, including in letters to their families, who in most instances were neither English nor French speakers.560

224. While also acknowledging that residential schools have scarred many young men and have had lasting effects on them, the IACHR considers that the legacy of the residential school program is a cause and a consequence of the discrimination and violence existing today in Canada against women and indigenous girls.561 This policy caused social disruption, the breakdown of families and communities, as well as trauma for former students.562 Based on information gathered by the IACHR, many indigenous students grew up separated from their cultures, language, and families, affecting their sense of identity and their relationships to their families and communities.563

225. The separation of young children from their families, communities and cultures, paired with the severe discipline, abuse and neglect of children in these schools, are understood as having undermined the ability of many survivors to adequately parent their own children. The former UN Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, has noted that among the results of the residential school era has been a lack of intergenerational transmission of child-raising skills and high rates of substance abuse.564 In this regard, he highlighted the fact that “Aboriginal children continue to be taken into the care of child services at a rate eight times higher than non-indigenous Canadians.” 565 The Commission also received information that demonstrated that the high rates of indigenous child removal in Canada were not only related to the trauma of survivors, but also to the inadequate funding of child welfare services on reserves by the Federal government, in comparison to non-indigenous children.566 The Commission was also informed of the funding and service level disparities in child and family services for indigenous children compared to nonindigenous children that persist to this day. 567 In fact, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded that: “Canada’s child-welfare system has simply continued the assimilation that the residential school system started.”568

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Saturday, January 5, 2019

Poverty and obstacles to earning a decent and good quality living 17/20

Chapter 6-4
213. Indigenous peoples in the Americas endure lower levels of economic and social development as compared to the non-indigenous population. Indigenous women are usually the most affected, inasmuch as they generally have less access to education and employment than indigenous men. According to the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the basic needs of 23.5% of indigenous households in Argentina go unmet, while the percentage of non-indigenous homes with unmet basic needs is 13.8%.530 For its part, the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples notes that in Mexico, 7.4 million persons live in extreme poverty, of which 60% are indigenous.531 Information from the World Bank indicates that 61% of indigenous persons in El Salvador live in conditions of poverty and 38.3% in extreme poverty.532

214. ECLAC has noted that indigenous and non-indigenous women tend to be mainly employed in the tertiary labor sector, which mostly includes commerce and services. 533 Unlike non-indigenous women, indigenous women also play an important role in the primary sector, as a great many of them live in rural areas. In the past years, a shift has been detected among indigenous women from traditional family farming and animal husbandry to other economic sectors, as well as the increased participation by women as labor in agroindustrial exports, and farm work, among other things.534

215. The IACHR has previously expressed its concern over indigenous women, whose human rights are especially at risk, given that their labor rights are usually not adequately protected by laws and regulations.535 A high number of indigenous women belong to the category of unpaid workers, to a greater extent not only than non-indigenous women, but also than indigenous men.536 In urban areas, a high number of indigenous women are engaged in domestic work.537 As domestic workers, they usually do not have social security, they face discrimination, as well as long workdays, among other difficult conditions. 

216. Based on the information received by the IACHR, indigenous women in Guatemala usually work as domestic help without being paid decent wages, and are often exposed to different forms of violence and discrimination.538 The State of Peru indicated in its response to the IACHR questionnaire that indigenous women are more affected by unemployment and  underemployment than the rest of the population; they often perform nonremunerated jobs or are paid lower wages for the same job. In Mexico, the 2009 Survey on Indigenous Women’s Health and Rights (ENSADEMI) reflected that the vast majority - or 76.22% - of indigenous women, are either: self-employed (59.96%), work at home (9.84%) or without pay at family-owned businesses (6.42%).539
217. Indigenous women tend to have less access to social security than the rest of the population. The Commission has received information indicating that indigenous women in the Autonomous Region of the Northern Atlantic in Nicaragua do not have social security coverage even though they are entitled to it under the Constitution, because they mostly work in the informal sector and not under any contractual agreement.540 This same situation can be seen in Mexico where, according to statistics from the Federal Government’s 2013-2018 Social Development sectorial program, 81% of the indigenous population in rural areas does not have access to social security, as compared to 59.1% of the non-indigenous population.541
218. The IACHR notes that States have the obligation to create the conditions that will enable women to have full access to and control over their economic resources, unencumbered by any form of discrimination. This obligation entails devoting priority attention to women in the most vulnerable situations, such as indigenous women, who usually face the greatest obstacles in accessing and controlling their resources.542

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Thursday, January 3, 2019

Food and Access to Water 16/20

Chapter 6-3

207. Compared to the rest of the population, indigenous peoples have greater difficulty accessing adequate food and drinking water. This is the result of the situation of poverty they tend to live in as well as a historical disregard for their rights to control over their lands and natural resources, among other factors. As was held by the Inter-American Court in the judgment of the case of Yakye Axa v. Paraguay, access to and use of ancestral lands and natural resources are closely tied to the right to food and to clean water.513 Consequently, when deprived of adequate food and water, their situation of vulnerability is considerably heightened. The current UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has noted that in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brazil, indigenous communities face land shortages, which has lead to inadequate access to food and the highest rates of infant mortality recorded in the country.514 

208. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has expressed concern about the absence in Guatemala of a special regime to protect the territories traditionally belonging to indigenous peoples.515 He has also voiced special concern for women, given that they are the targets of discrimination based on their gender, racial, and ethnic background, situation of poverty, and residence in rural areas.516 During the working visit to Guatemala conducted by the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the IACHR noted with concern the forced evictions of indigenous communities, which have placed them in a precarious position and caused a food crisis. In turn, the CEDAW Committee has regarded issues of access to land for indigenous women in that country as troubling, because these women may be displaced as a result of new economic development plans.517 

209. Discrimination against indigenous peoples and women, as reflected for example in violations of their rights in the labor setting and in the levels of poverty, is also a significant obstacle to the realization of the right to food.518 In this regard, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food has recommended to the State of Guatemala that it combats discrimination against women, especially indigenous women, and recognizes their rights, particularly to access productive resources and ownership of these.519 

210. In Mexico, the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy has noted that indigenous persons face greater lack of access to food than the non-indigenous population.520 The UNDP reported that 38.7% of indigenous children in Mexico suffer from chronic malnutrition, while the rate for non-indigenous children is three times lower (12.5%). 521 In Guatemala, data from the National Maternal and Child Health Survey (ESMI 2008/2009) found that chronic malnutrition affecting indigenous children was almost twice as high as non-indigenous children, affecting 65.9% of indigenous children in comparison to 36.2% of non-indigenous children.522 Indigenous children in Colombia are also particularly vulnerable to violations of the right to food, as exemplified by the situation of severe malnutrition that is presented by indigenous communities in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, Chocó, Guaviare and Cauca, or by Wayúu children in La Guajira.523 

211. In El Salvador, many indigenous persons live in conditions of poverty, which is further compounded by the historical loss of their lands and natural resources, thus making it difficult for them to gain access to food and contributing to malnutrition.524 The CEDAW Committee has expressed its concern especially over Salvadoran indigenous women, given the persistence of the high levels of poverty and social exclusion they face, as well as the obstacles they encounter in exercising their basic social rights.525 

212. Whether it results from poverty, the loss of their ancestral territories, the pollution thereof, or other factors, indigenous peoples are disproportionately deprived of clean drinking water. In its 2009 Report on the situation of human rights in Venezuela, the IACHR noted with grave concern that nine children from the Warao indigenous peoples had died as a result of their nutritional deterioration and lack of access to drinking water.526 In Panama, the 2010 census revealed that nationwide, an average of 93.3% of all households have access to water that is suitable for human consumption, while in indigenous areas, the averages are much lower (28% in Ngäbe Buglé, 41% on Emberá, and 77% in Guna Yala, while 59%, 42%, and 94% respectively, did not have access to sanitation services). 527 Additionally, based on information provided by the State of Peru, in districts with 50% or more of the population whose first language is indigenous, 62% of households have no water and 59% have no sewage service.528 As recently as December 2015, the IACHR has granted precautionary measures in favor of the children of various Wayúu indigenous communities in Colombia, urging the State to protect the children’s rights to life and physical integrity, following reports of numerous deaths and illnesses related to contaminated water supplies. On January 26, 2017, the IACHR expanded the precautionary measures to include pregnant or lactating indigenous Wayúu women.529 
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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

In Honor Of Women

The Women Who Walk Miles To Feed Their Families
Thank You
Women Who Love When No Love Is Returned
Thank You
Women Who Dance The Stories Of The Ancients
Thank You
Women Who Loose Their Children And Keep On Going
Thank You
Women Who Speak Their Truth To Educate Others
Thank You
Women Of Beauty Who Know Their Power Is To Share
Thank You
Women Who Mother When  Mothering Is Called Upon For Healing
Thank You
Women Who Love Men Enough To Respect Their Differences
Thank You
Women Who Love Themselves Enough To Come Forward
Thank You
Women Who Know The Truth Of Their Soul
Thank You
In Honor Of You
We Honor Women
And Say
Thank You

Copyright Joana Ukali
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