Center requests UN action to combat violence against indigenous women

The Indian Law Resource Center, in a joint statement with Americans for Indian Opportunity, the Ewiiaapaayp Band of Kumeyaay Indians, National Congress of American Indians, and the Native American Rights Fund, called on the UN to address the epidemic of violence against indigenous women by following up on the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples Outcome Document. The Center offered three recommendations during the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council’s “annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of the Human Rights Council and that of its mechanisms - with a focus on gender parity.”

The recommendations called on the Human Rights Council to support development of an implementing body for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the System-wide Action Plan to achieve the ends of the UN Declaration by paying particular attention to the rights and special needs of indigenous women and children, and by including indigenous governments in the development of both actions. The Council was also asked to hold a panel discussion in 2016 on the issue of violence against indigenous women and girls, and to request from the Secretary-General a report with recommendations for action on the issue, with a view toward enhancing existing Council special procedures, especially by requiring regular joint reports.

The panel discussion was chaired by the President of the Human Rights Council, H.E. Mr. Joachim Ruecker, and included comments from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. The moderator, Ms. Patricia Schulz, Member and Rapporteur of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, facilitated discussion from panelists, which included Mr. Michael Moller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva; Ms. Virginia Dandan, Independent expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity and Member of the Coordination Committee for the Special Procedures; Ms. Tracy Robinson, Rapporteur on Women’s Rights, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights; and Mr. Subhas Gujadhur, Director and Senior Analyst, Universal Rights Group.

The Center and its cosponsors offered the only statement during the discussion that addressed the issue of violence against indigenous women. The statement was supported by Commissioner Robinson of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights who noted that the UN is facing a crisis not only in lack of gender parity, but a lack of representation in all forms. The Commission is expected to produce a report in 2015 on the rights of indigenous women with a focus on violence against indigenous women.

The Indian Law Resource Centre said indigenous women and girls were highly vulnerable to violence and discrimination, including in the United States, and recommended that the Council invite the Secretary General to issue a report on this issue.  See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16430&LangID=E .

Download Joint Written Statement - Combating Violence Against Indigenous Women 9_15_15.pdf (184.24 KB) Download Joint Oral Statement - Combating Violence Against Indigenous Women 9_15_15.pdf (208.89 KB)