Next year — 2015 — is the deadline for the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These goals were created to guide government policies on some of the most pressing threats of our time — poverty, hunger and more.
Recently, Indigenous women met to share the challenges they have faced in implementing the MDGs in their communities. They put forward their demand that the post-2015 global development agenda reflect their priorities as women and as Indigenous Peoples.They met at an event co-sponsored by MADRE and RLS-NYC, called “Indigenous Women and the MDGs – Challenges and Lessons Learned.” This event featured as panelists these Indigenous women leaders:
MADRE is a partner to all three Indigenous organizations: Wangki Tangni, CHIRAPAQ and FIMI. All the panelists spoke about their advocacy and programs for Indigenous women and Peoples.
These grassroots activists discussed the failure of governments to achieve the MDGs for Indigenous Peoples. But the panelists also highlighted the efforts of Indigenous organizations and networks, and their work to fill the gaps left by national and international development projects.
Indigenous Peoples are often not considered in government policies and programs. If they are, the help they receive is often superficial. These assistance programs do not take a holistic approach to the issues they wish to solve. They disregard all advances or practices already implemented by Indigenous Peoples.
For example, programs on HIV/AIDS, malaria, child mortality and maternal health are often run in urban areas. These programs do not reach Indigenous Peoples who live in rural areas. Distance and cost makes these essential services inaccessible to Indigenous Peoples. In addition, Indigenous healers, midwives and traditional medical practices are neither respected nor supported by government initiatives.
These government assistance programs tend to treat Indigenous Peoples in a degrading manner. Tarcila pointed out that Indigenous Peoples deserve respect not pity.
“We are not objects of charity,” she said. “We want recognition as women and as people with rights!”
The Indigenous movement has been fighting for decades for recognition. They have struggled for decades to be seen and heard as human beings who deserve to enjoy the fullest range of their individual and collective rights.
As Otilia explained, “All the mechanisms created as resources for Indigenous Peoples are the results of the efforts of Indigenous women, youth, and people. They did not come from the governments or the United Nations.”
Indigenous Peoples will not let obstacles deter them from their goals. Indigenous women and youth continue to work together to build human rights from their Indigenous perspective.
Most importantly, they will build a common strategy to demand that Indigenous Peoples be consulted and prioritized as we establish global sustainable development policies in the years to come.
In the chaos of conflict or following a natural disaster, women are the most vulnerable to violence. Serving as providers of support for both their families and communities, women are also often the ones left attempting to rebuild their lives and their country when the dust settles.
What we’ve written, read, listened to, remembered, watched and been inspired by this week.
As the world remembers the more than one million lives that were lost and devastated by the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, conflict continues in Syria, Sudan, Israel and Palestine.
Without the means to collect rainwater during frequent droughts and due to the use of a watering hole that was shared with livestock, accessing clean water was once a challenge for the Emayian Maasai community in Kenya.
Through the efforts of the Indigenous Information Network (IIN) and MADRE, women in the community have been able to set up and manage a water purification system. Now, there is uncontaminated water year-round, which has contributed to a significant decrease in cases of scabies, cholera and other waterborne diseases.
MADRE turned 30! And we’ve been thinking about what an amazing journey these past three decades have been. And who knows what the next 30 years will bring?
So we thought, why not create a time capsule? And we are! We’re filling it with our answers to this question:
What will justice for women look like in the next 30 years?
Be sure to use the hashtag – #next30 - to have your answers included in our time capsule!none
As protests in Venezuela have captured the attention of the mainstream media, these resource below provide a useful, critical perspective.
Venezuela Protests: The View from West Caracas (by Rebecca Hanson in Foreign Policy in Focus, February 27, 2014):
“To fully appreciate these changes, however, we need to also appreciate the geographical limits of the opposition protests. Taking into account where protests are not occurring, and why, is important in understanding what they represent for residents who do not live in the zones where protests have erupted.”
Venezuela is not Ukraine (by Mark Weisbrot in the Guardian, March 4, 2014):
“Although there are abuses of power and problems with the rule of law in Venezuela – as there are throughout the hemisphere – it is far from the authoritarian state that most consumers of western media are led to believe. Opposition leaders currently aim to topple the democratically elected government – their stated goal – by portraying it as a repressive dictatorship that is cracking down on peaceful protest. This is a standard “regime change” strategy, which often includes violent demonstrations in order to provoke state violence.”
Stop U.S. Intervention in Venezuela (by the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism in Portside, March 5, 2014)
“Sensational headlines in the U.S. of opposition protests in Venezuela amid escalating violence have dominated the coverage of the corporate mainstream media over the past three weeks. This is part of a multipronged strategy by the U.S. government and multinational corporations to destabilize Venezuela politically and economically and pave the way for another coup attempt as was the case in 2002 during the Bush administration. These same policies have continued with the Obama Administration despite denials that it is backing the opposition. “
This is the first in a series on MADRE’s trip to Nicaragua.
Last October, over 900 women, men and youth participated in the fifth annual “Forum of Indigenous Women of the Wangki” in Waspam, a community on the North Atlantic coast of Nicaragua. Each of the 115 communities along the Nicaragua border of the Wangki River sent a delegation to participate in the four-day event.
One Miskita woman, who traveled four days with her 7-month old baby, shared that she was eager to participate and learn about women’s rights. “This is the only chance we have to get information, and I am glad to be here,” she said.
Indigenous women leaders and other important community stakeholders convened to strategize around implementing the national Law 779 – a landmark legislation that defines crimes of violence against women, provides avenues for women to access justice and protection from violence, and hold perpetrators accountable – and to brainstorm solutions for other health and human rights issues that impact women in the area.
At the closing of the forum, a declaration was produced stating the agreed upon commitments to improving the quality of life of all women living in communities along the Wangki.none
The Afghan President Hamid Karzai has a proposed law on his desk. It’s already been passed by the parliament, and it’s just waiting for his signature. If he does sign it, it will seal off an escape route for Afghan women facing violence.
The law would prohibit relatives from testifying against abusers about the violence they witness. Given that domestic violence often occurs behind a home’s closed doors, the most likely witnesses would be family members. Women seeking justice for their trauma and suffering would find it harder — or perhaps impossible — to pursue prosecutions against their abusers.
When we found out about this proposed legislation, our Executive Director Yifat Susskind had this to say:
“This new law awaiting President Karzai’s signature is appalling. If passed, it would silence witnesses who could otherwise support women’s pursuit of justice for the torture and abuse they have faced in their homes. It would condemn women to endure further violence. And it reflects an all-too-common tactic to suggest that domestic violence is a private matter, rather than a crucial human rights issue that governments are obligated to address.”
Women for Afghan Women has prepared two petitions to denounce this law. You can sign those by clicking here:
Read more about this issue:
Afghan Women Rally against Domestic Violence (February 13, Washington Post)
A law that would permit Afghan men to hurt and rape female relatives, by Manizha Naderi (February 6, The Guardian)none