Launch of The Indigenous World 2022 Avoiding a new normal: Indigenous women on the frontline
Virtual side-event in the context of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 21st session
Event time: 13:00 NY time, Thursday 28 April 2022
For 36 consecutive years IWGIA has published The Indigenous World, which is a unique result of a collaborative effort between Indigenous and non-Indigenous activists and scholars who voluntarily document and report on the situation of Indigenous Peoples’ rights. This yearly overview serves to document and report on the developments Indigenous Peoples have experienced throughout 2021. The Indigenous World 2022 adds not only documentation, but also includes a special focus on the contribution and situation of Indigenous women and their rights around the world.
Indigenous women play crucial roles in their communities as breadwinners, caretakers, knowledge keepers, leaders and human rights defenders. While Indigenous women have made small, but significant progress in being part of decision-making processes in some communities, risen to leadership in communal and national roles, and stood on the protest frontlines to defend their lands and the planet’s decreasing biodiversity; the reality remains that Indigenous women’s rights continue to be neglected, they are massively under-represented, disproportionately negatively affected by the decisions made on their behalf without their valuable input, and are too frequently the victims of intersectional discrimination and multiple expressions of violence and sexual assault. Violence against Indigenous women triggers other negative effects pertaining to their mental and physical health, lowering their self-worth, thus impacting their possibilities of earning an income, as well as their level of participation and decision-making powers.
As the world opens up more in 2022, it is important that Indigenous women and Indigenous Peoples as a whole are not forgotten or side-lined and that their disproportionate treatment, the intensified encroachment on their lands, the increased extraction of resources, and the blatant disregard of safe and inclusive health policies and lack of inclusion do not now become a new normal in a continuing systemic violation of their human rights.
To ensure this does not happen, specific action needs to be taken by national, regional and international bodies and mechanisms, to ensure the participation and consultation of Indigenous Peoples, whether digital or presential, in any discourse and decision-making process. Further, the voice and consultation of Indigenous women and girls needs to be amplified and taken into consideration in every facet of society. Indigenous women are often seen and lauded as being the very fabric of a family, society and people, which in many cases can be interpreted as lip service as they do not enjoy a commensurate level of political responsibility and authority. Instead, they often bear the brunt of decisions that negatively affect them.
Indigenous Peoples’ rights, now more than ever, need to be recognized, protected and defended. The land they traditionally own and protect, the knowledge and history they hold, and the methods they employ to live sustainably are necessary for the preservation and enjoyment of the planet’s remaining biodiversity. Indigenous Peoples’ very existence and contributions, valuable in themselves, are also intrinsic to how we as humanity responsibly move forward. Just as a society cannot fully exist without the full participation, acknowledgement and respect of its women and girls; humanity cannot fully exist without the respect of Indigenous Peoples rights and their full participation in any decision making that affects their lives and future.
Objectives of the side event
Since the 1st session of the UNPFII held in 2002, IWGIA has publicly launched The Indigenous World during the annual sessions of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The annual launching of the book provides a unique opportunity for IWGIA to organize a panel with Indigenous leaders, UN mechanisms and other key stakeholders to address some of the core issues. identified in the articles in the book.
On the occasion of the 21st session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the launching of the Indigenous World will provide a virtual space for Indigenous women to voice the experiences they share, the solutions they have and their demands for a more fair, just and equitable position in society. The event aims to bring together multiple stakeholders, including government, civil society and Indigenous Peoples.