Targeting violence against indigenous women and girls

A three-day expert group meeting was held in New York on the theme “Combating violence against indigenous women and girls: article 22 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” on 18-20 January

Throughout the world, indigenous women and girls are exposed to diverse forms of physical, psychological and sexual violence. This is a significant obstacle to the capacity and potential of indigenous women and girls to exercise their rights to participate fully in society.

This pressing reality, as detailed in the concept note prepared by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues, laid the foundation for the three-day international expert group meeting.

Ms. Daniela Bas, Director of DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) highlighted the fact that this meeting is the “first one addressing the issue of violence against indigenous women and girls.” Ms. Bas went on to say that it “shows that the Permanent Forum is addressing an issue that is critical and resonates with governments, indigenous peoples and the UN system.”

The Expert Group meeting was attended by experts on indigenous issues, members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, participants from the UN system, Member States, indigenous peoples and other organizations.

The attendees discussed the way in which the UNPFII should address its mandate under Article 22 of the Declaration which ensures that indigenous women and children enjoy the full protection and guarantees against all forms of violence and discrimination.

During the meeting, the “experts will analyze the human rights enshrined within international standards and policies and will indicate how these respond to the challenge of advancing the rights of indigenous women and girls”, said Ms. Chandra Roy-Henriksen, Chief, Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

The results of the meeting will be reported to the Permanent Forum at its eleventh session in May, to the General Assembly at its sixty-seventh session starting in September and to the Commission on the Status of Women at its fifty-sixth session beginning on 27 February.

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