12 May. 2014

RLS-NYC Invites Indigenous Women Leaders to the UN

For photos from this event, go to our Flickr page.

From May 11 to 16, RLS–NYC and MADRE invited an international group of women delegates to the 13th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII). These forums make recommendations to the UN’s Economic and Social Council, with which the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung has consultative status. We planned a series of events with delegates, including a Global Meeting to provide an opportunity for Indigenous women to network and develop a joint advocacy strategy for the UNPFII, as well as a symbolic Tribunal that will re-enact three trials concerning cases of violence against women. Moreover, the nonprofit organization WITNESS offered a workshop for the delegation about how to document cases of violence against women on video and how to use these videos for advocacy efforts.

We organized a public panel discussion on “Indigenous Women and Development: Experiences from Africa, Asia, and Latin America” as an official side event of the UNPFII. Indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) is a widely recognized principle that demands the approval of indigenous communities before the implementation of development projects—many of which have had highly negative or even disastrous effects. One of the detriments of development has been an increase in violence towards Indigenous women—ranging from the trafficking of individual women and girls to environmental contamination and land grabbing that imperil and impoverish entire communities. This panel discussion brought together women leaders, who discussed what good governance looks like at the local and national levels in terms of challenging this connection between development and violence against Indigenous women.

This project is part of an on-going collaboration of RLS–NYC and MADRE with Indigenous women leaders. It reflects one of our primary goals: to collaborate with progressive leaders from the Global South, buttressing their efforts to influence decision-making processes at the United Nations. Previously, in 2013, we hosted a group of Indigenous women participating in the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and in March 2014 we invited a delegation to attend the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Public Side Events:

Indigenous Women and Development: Experiences from Africa, Asia, and Latin America
Monday, May 12, 2014, 1:15pm-2:30pm
FF Building, Room 1507 A
304 E 45th St, New York

Symbolic Tribunal
Thursday, May 15, 10am-12pm
Church Center, 10th Floor
777 1st Avenue, New York