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Building Strategic Partnerships for Governance and Democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean

Posted on: Monday, January 25, 2010

Keywords: Bolivia, Latin America & Caribbean, Indigenous Rights, Economic Justice

A report from MADRE sister organization, the International Indigenous Women's Forum (IIWF/FIMI) on the recent Indigenous Women Parlamentarians Conference coordinated with support from MADRE in La Paz, Bolivia on January 19-20, 2010.

The International Indigenous Women's Forum, partnered with the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Confederation of Indigenous Women (Bartolina Sisa), the Indigenous Parliament of America and the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean to facilitate the first ever Conference of Indigenous Women Parliamentarians: Building Strategic Partnerships for Governance and Democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean ("Warmis KAY Suyunchiqta Awanchiq"). The conference took place on January 19th and 20th in La Paz, Bolivia.

The event was timed to coincide with the inauguration of Bolivian President Evo Morales, held on the 21st and 22nd of January in Tiwanaku and La Paz, Bolivia.

In recent years, Indigenous women have strengthened their organizations in order to claim and defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples - and especially Indigenous women - in areas historically denied. Women now place a special emphasis on defending their right to participation in formal political activities (elections) and informal activities (social movements).

The emergence of this political movement, conceived of by the Indigenous women's organizations, is the fruit of a long social struggle that resulted in the presence of more than two hundred Indigenous women in the formal structures of states (ministries, parliaments, municipalities, councils, etc.).

An invitation to an International Conference of Indigenous Parliamentarians in Latin America and the Caribbean meets the need of creating a space for exchange, reflection and articulation between Indigenous women ministers and parliamentary leaders in recent years. It allows participants to analyze strategies and identify new alternatives and goals in each nation.

The conference is primarily aimed at a) Empowering Indigenous parliamentarians in the norms and standards of existing and relevant international human rights in order to combine their efforts more effectively in the Indigenous Parliament of the Americas; b) Discussing the creation of a network Indigenous women parliamentarians in order to provide a space for exchanging information on operational bills using human rights standards as a benchmark.

Bolivia is the host of the Conference of Indigenous Parliamentarians, giving official status to the event and reaffirming its commitment to the rights of Indigenous peoples, native and peasant.

The conference was made possible by support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Regional Center of the Latin America Program for the United Nations Development Programme (AECID).


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