Women's Human Rights Resources Database


Your search for the subject "Indigenous Women" found 42 records.

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Case Law

Ines Fernandes Ortega v. Mexico, Case 12.580, Inter-Am. Comms H.R., OEA/Ser.L/V/II. Doc. 51 (2009)

Ines Fernandes Ortega, an Indigenous woman who was raped by a member of the Mexican military, filed a claim centered on the State's failure to provide her with adequate medical and legal services after the incident. Ortega also alleged that the military's investigation of her case had been ineffective, as it had progressed little over the course of eight years. The Ortega case is noteworthy primarily for its discussion of rape as a form of torture under the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, as well as its attempt to analyze the case taking into account the victim's multidimensional identity as an Indigenous woman living in a marginalized community. The Court also found that the State was responsible for violating Articles 5 and 11 of the Convention in relation to Article 1(1), Articles 1, 2, 6, 8 and 25 of the Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture, and Article 7(a) of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment, and Eradication of Violence against Women. One of the key holdings in Ortega is that rape never bears a link to military discipline, and that it will always be inappropriate for the military to assume jurisdiction over investigations of incidents of sexual violence.

Valentina Rosendo Cantu et al., Case No. 12.579, Inter-Am. Commn H.R., OEA/Ser.L/V/II, doc. 51 (2009)

The Cantu decision analyzes rape as torture and attempts to recognize the victims' multidimensional identities as Indigenous females living in poverty. In Cantu, the Court emphasizes the victim's status as a child and the role that that status plays in determining the scope of the States obligations. This factor was considered in conjunction with the victim's status as an Indigenous woman, which also led the Court to conclude that the State was to be held to a higher standard of conduct. Cantu reaffirmed the test used in Ortega to determine whether rape constitutes torture under the Inter- American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture. It also confirms one of the key findings in Ortega that military involvement in rape investigations is always inappropriate.

Documents by United Nations Bodies and Agencies

Kelkar, Govind , Adivasi Women  Engaging with Climate Change (2009),

This report examines the effects of climate change on indigenous peoples, particularly indigenous women. The report addresses the special vulnerability of indigenous women, the need for restructuring of indigenous economies and adaptation of agricultural techniques, and womens susceptibility to damage caused by climate change, which often exacerbates existing problems like lack of political voice, lack of economic opportunities, poor health, limited education and poor access to information. The report provides a case study of Adavasi women and suggests policy recommendations for combating the negative impacts of climate change on indigenous women. The reports recommendations including increasing research, strengthening participation by indigenous women and gender experts in planning and decision making processes, creating the capacity for alternative lifestyles, and implementing policies that are responsive to gendered differences in the impact of climate change.

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United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Breaking the Silence on Violence against Indigenous Girls, Adolescents and Young Women,

This study examines the violence experienced by Indigenous girls, adolescents, and young women in Africa, Asia Pacific, and Latin America. It considers the structural and underlying causes and risk factors for such violence and provides an overview of the current initiatives taking place at a national level. The study focuses on the pervasiveness of violence against women and girls and how it relates to recognized human rights, such as the right to education and health. It also highlights the correlation between the high risk of violence to Indigenous women and the ongoing marginalization of Indigenous peoples. The study concludes that protection of Indigenous women's right to be free from violence is essential to a fulsome implementation of CEDAW, CRC, and UNDRIP.

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Miller, Michael, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre, Ensuring the Rights of Indigenous Children, UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre: Innocenti Digest No. 11 (2004)

This research digest consists of a comprehensive review of the inability of Indigenous children to access their full range of human rights. This review begins by framing the issues within international law, particularly Article 30 of the Convention of the Rights of the Children. There is a focus upon four key areas: health and nutrition, quality education, protection and support, and participation in decision-making. The specific vulnerabilities of Indigenous girls are recognized throughout the digest, for example in areas of education and vulnerability to violence. The digest also contains detailed examples of positive activities from Indigenous communities globally. One of the key recommendations is for national governments to engage in legislative reform to ensure that the rights of Indigenous children are adequately protected.

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United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Human Rights and Indigenous Issues: Mission to Canada, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, E/CN.4/2005/88/Add.3 (2004)

This report outlines United Nations Special Rapporteur's mission to Canada in 2004 during which he met with government officials and representatives of First Nations communities. While recognizing the commitment of the Canadian government to protecting the rights of First Nations, the report also outlines areas of concern. A main recommendation is that the Canadian government pass legislation to ensure that Aboriginal groups are protected as outlined in the report of the Royal Commission and under international standards. In terms of Aboriginal women, the Rapporteur discusses various issues including matrimonial property and violence against women and notes that the needs of Aboriginal women have been long neglected. The Rapporteur recommends that the Government eliminate provisions which place certain group of Aboriginal women at a disadvantage and take action to prevent incidents of violence in urban settings. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Canada]

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United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Human Rights and Indigenous Issues: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous persons, E/CN.4/2004/80 (2004)

This report from the Special Rapporteur addresses the experience of Indigenous persons with national justice systems. The report begins by noting that Indigenous persons are among the most marginalized populations and that their rights are often denied even when protected by legislation. The report itself contains specific examples from Indigenous populations globally. In terms of Indigenous women, the Special Rapporteur notes their specific lack of access to the justice system and the extent to which discrimination within the system impacts upon women. The conclusions emphasize the importance of looking to the root causes of these problems and encouraging dialogue with Indigenous populations regarding the protection of their rights. This link also provides listings of previous reports by the Special Rapporteur.

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Commission on the Status of Women, Indigenous Women beyond the ten-year review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, E/CN.6/2005/L.10 (2005)

This resolution of the Commission on the Status of Women follows the 10 year review of the Beijing Declaration. The resolution reaffirms the recommendations on Indigenous Women from the Third Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples, with an emphasis upon equality and non-discrimination. Governments and civil society are recognized as needing to ensure that Indigenous women are able to fully participate in the implementation and monitoring of the rights under the Beijing Platform.

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United Nations Economic and Social Council, Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues: Report on the Third Session, E/C.19/2004/23 (2004)

The Third Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues focussed on Indigenous women. The report of this session reviews the diverse topics discussed and outlines recommended actions for governments, the United Nations and Indigenous peoples organizations. Specific issues outlined in this report include education, culture, environment, health and economic and social development. The report states that governments need to increase their commitment to ensuring the protection of the fundamental human rights of Indigenous women.

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United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, Summary of Actions Undertaken or Planned by UN Women Regarding Indigenous Peoples Issues: Follow up to the Twelfth Session and Preparation for the Thirteenth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), (2014)

This report is a summary of UN Women's progress in promoting and including indigenous issues in its policy, programming, and coordination, and in demonstrating a commitment to promote the rights of Indigenous women and girls. Currently, UN Women works to develop the skills and access of Indigenous women to the labour market, financial institutions, decision-making spheres, political participation, and entrepreneurship. The report focuses specifically on UN Womens contributions in the areas of human rights, ending violence against women, civil society advisory groups, and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). An example of these contributions is the UN Women's Fund for Gender Equality, which aims to deliver resources directly to civil society actors who are contributing to the improvement of Indigenous women and girls' lives. This report accounts for the 14 grants made since 2009, through which the Fund has invested approximately $8 million in initiatives related to indigenous issues. The report concludes with an overview of programs that currently receive grant funding from UN Women.

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Government Bodies

Canadian Human Rights Commission, 2013 Annual Report to Parliament, (2013)

This report communicates the issues, outcomes, and engagement of the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 2013. The Canadian Human Rights Commission is the independent body that administers the Canadian Human Rights Act and ensures compliance with the Employment Equity Act. The Commission's mandate is to protect the core principle of equal opportunity and promote a vision of a society free from discrimination by promoting human rights through research and policy development, protect human rights through a fair and effective complaints process, and represent the public interest to advance human rights for all Canadians. In this report, the Commission addresses three issues that are relevant to Indigenous women's rights: 1) barriers to human rights justice faced by Aboriginal women; 2) the call for a national inquiry into violence against Aboriginal women; and 3) the fact that Aboriginal people face greater disadvantage than non-Aboriginal people. Other issues covered by the report include the process of filing a human rights complaint and the statistics of such complaints in 2013; legislative changes and legal updates; and advice to parliament on the issues of matrimonial real property rights, workplace discrimination, and gender identity.

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Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights (Canada), A Hard Bed to Lie In: Matrimonial Real Property on Reserve, (November 2003)

This Senate report begins by recognizing that Aboriginal women living on reserves do not have access to the same rights as other Canadian women. The report focuses on the legal regimes governing Aboriginal women and addresses property laws on reserves, resource management, housing shortages and questions of band membership. The report contains a detailed analysis of Canadian law under the Indian Act, the First Nations Land Management Act, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as provincial law governing division of property in a marriage. The report also touches on the rights of women to property under international law and acknowledges that the current situation in Canada violates these international rights. The report concludes with the recommendation that the federal government adopt measures within the structures of Aboriginal government to protect the rights of Aboriginal women regarding the division of matrimonial property. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Canada]

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Sayers, Judith F., MacDonald, Kelly A., Status of Women Canada, A Strong and Meaningful Role for First Nations Women in Governance in First Nations Women, Governance and the Indian Act: A Collection of Policy, (November 2001)

This report focuses primarily on policy alternatives for ensuring that Aboriginal women are able to equally participate in governance. It contains a review of the legal status of Aboriginal peoples in Canada and notes that none of the treaties or self-government agreements between First Nations and Canada has gender equality provisions. One of the authors' main suggestions is that gender equality provisions should be inserted into treaties and documents relating to First Nations governance. The report also reviews the development of the legal framework of self-government and equality on the international level. The report concludes by outlining potential models of self-government and highlights some of the gaps in the current law where women's rights to equality are not protected. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Canada]

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Stout, Madeleine Dion, Kipling, Gregory D., Aboriginal Women in Canada: Strategic Research Directions for Policy Development, (Ottawa: Status of Women Canada, Policy Research Fund, 1998) 50 pages

Although focussing primarily on Indigenous women in a Canadian context, this report also addresses the main issues facing Indigenous women in international arenas. The report begins with an overview of the status of Indigenous women in Canada, including health, demographic and social indicators and legal status. Most notably, the article presents an analysis of the way in which the colonially imposed system of justice impacts upon Indigenous women, and reviews how this system is inconsistent with their own traditional systems of justice and governance. The main international issues considered relate to self-government, alliance building and strategic research.

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Cornet, Wendy, Lendor, Allison, Discussion Paper: Matrimonial Real Property on Reserve, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (November 2002)

This paper focuses on the key legal issues concerning matrimonial real property on First Nations reserves in Canada and the broader policy context. One of the main points addressed in the article is how reforms to matrimonial real property should respect the cultural interests of First Nations groups. In this vein, the report addresses how this question should be dealt with within the context of other land issues on reserves. The report begins with a review of the historical and constitutional context of this issue before examining the distinct legal regimes which govern matrimonial real property in Canada. In conclusion, the report points to the gaps within the current state of the law and emphasizes the need for specific legal remedies to this situation. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Canada]

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Cornet, Wendy, Status of Women Canada, First Nations Governance, the Indian Act, and Women's Equality Rights in First Nations Women, Governance and the Indian Act: A Collection of Policy Research Reports, (November 2001)

This paper examines the context of the exemption of Aboriginal nations from the Canadian Human Rights Act under section 67 of the Indian Act. The author begins by outlining some of the positive developments achieved through litigation and legislation in providing for Aboriginal womens equality, but then recognizes that there are still significant gaps in achieving the full range of rights, especially under the Indian Act. She proceeds to review the Canada Human Rights Act and the negotiations which led to the exemption under the Indian Act. The author then considers potential means for addressing the conflict between equality guarantees and the constitutional protection for customary law. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Canada]

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Deiter, Constance, Rude, Darlene, Human Security and Aboriginal Women in Canada, Status of Women Canada (2005).

Drawing on interviews and focus group discussions conducted across Canada, this report explores the connections amongst Aboriginal women, protest, and human security. The report begins with a literature review of gender and human security, gender and protest, Aboriginal women and protest, constitutionally-protected rights of Aboriginal peoples, and Bill C-36 and Aboriginal protest. The report highlights the leadership role that Aboriginal women play in protest activities concerning the protection of the environment, Aboriginal lifestyle, and culture. Against this backdrop, the authors argue that Bill C-36, an act to amend the Indian Act, allows for the continued repression of Aboriginal rights and title, and excessive use of force by the state. The report ends with a list of recommendations for the Canadian government. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Canada]

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Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Royal Commission Report on Aboriginal Peoples Volume 4 - Perspectives and Realities, Part 2 - Women's Perspectives, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (1996)

The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples was established to undertake a comprehensive examination of the relationship between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals in Canada and to investigate practical solutions to the issues. This section of the Commission's final report focuses on the state of Aboriginal women in Canada. The section undertakes an extensive review of the historical development of the Indian Act and the impact of its provisions upon Aboriginal women. Key areas discussed include the provisions relating to Indian status, the impact of band membership codes upon Aboriginal women's rights and the basis for the right to live on the reserve. Other areas explored from a policy perspective include health and social services, family and youth, and Aboriginal women's activism. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Canada]

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Information from Non-Governmental Organizations

Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action, A Decade of Going Backwards: Canada in the Post-Beijing Era, (January 2005)

This report was prepared for the Beijing + 10 global conference marking ten years since the adoption of the Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. The report analyzes the measures the Canadian government has taken to reach the goals outlined in the Platform for Action. Specifically, it examines the discrimination experienced by Aboriginal women in the operation of the justice system. The report argues that the lack of protection for Aboriginal women in Canadian law leads to violations of Canada's international human rights obligations. In conclusion, the report states that the conditions facing Aboriginal women have worsened since the original Beijing conference and remain a limited priority for the Canadian government. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Canada]

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Kambel, Ellen-Rose, A Guide to Indigenous Women's Rights under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Forest Peoples Programme, January 2004

This advocacy guide provides an overview of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the monitoring Committee and outlines the procedures through which to access these United Nations mechanisms. The text begins by reviewing the extent to which CEDAW recognizes the particular challenges facing Indigenous women, particularly the issue of self-determination. The guide provides practical information on the particular mechanisms for Indigenous women to access the protections under CEDAW as well as guidelines on other UN bodies which could be utilized to protect Indigenous rights. The annexes to the document contain extensive information on the status of ratification of CEDAW by individual states and excerpts from the text of the Committee's findings on individual country reports.

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Native Women's Association of Canada , Aboriginal Women, Self-Government and The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, (No Date)

This report examines the issue of Aboriginal self-government in Canada and its potential impact upon the rights of Aboriginal women. The report raises concerns about where the inherent right to self-government may be rooted within Canadian law and argues that if it is found within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, this will leave the right to self-government open to the restrictions under section 1 of the Charter. (Charter rights are subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society). The report also identifies two main areas of continued discrimination against Aboriginal women: registration as an Indian and band power concerning residence on reserves. The report argues that self-government must be structured in such a way as to guarantee the human rights and equality of Aboriginal women under Canadian and international law. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Canada]

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Native Women's Association of Canada , Aboriginal Women's Rights are Human Rights, (No Date)

This report examines the proposed Bill C-31 amendments to the Indian Act. The report argues that the amendments will cause increased differentiation within Aboriginal communities and will limit the number of individuals able to claim Indian status. The report begins with a review of the features of Bill C-31, then moves to examine the general situation of Aboriginal women in Canada and the disadvantages experienced by these women. The report includes a detailed discussion of the Canadian Human Rights Act and the deliberate exclusion of the Indian Act from these provisions. The report also reviews the relevant international human rights law and notes that the treatment of Aboriginal women in Canada falls well below these standards. In conclusion, the report recommends a full review of Bill C-31 by the federal government to assess and address its negative impacts on Aboriginal women. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Canada]

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Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2007: the state of the worlds human rights (2007),

This report by Amnesty International documents the toll that fear takes on victims of armed conflict. The document is divided into regional overviews, looking at issues in Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe-Central Asia and the Middle East-North Africa. The document begins with an editorial examination of the toll the conflict takes on women and the difficulties involved in addressing these problems; while many actions taken appear to be intended to address crime, they are often more concerned with maintaining the status quo by controlling the population through fear. The document notes the inadequacy of funding to protect women and examines controversial laws in different countries which regulate womens attire. The report discusses difficulties that women face specific to rape and sexual assault, lack of political power, and unequal access to justice.

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NGO Forum, United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing Declaration of Indigenous Women, September 1995

This declaration from civil society highlights some of the continuing issues of concern for Indigenous women on the international stage and within the broader women's rights movement. The declaration begins by noting that the Beijing Conference failed to adequately recognize that poverty is a continuing legacy of colonialism. Other issues discussed include the inappropriateness of health and education being idealized within a Western model and the primary importance of the right to self-determination being recognized and respected. The declaration also states that the UN needs to create mechanisms to monitor the protection of Indigenous rights and that the political participation of Indigenous women remains an essential element of protecting these rights.

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Amnesty International, From Promises to Delivery: Putting Human Rights at the Heart of the Millennium Development Goals (2010),

This report focusing on the Millennium Development Goals features sections on womens human rights and indigenous women. The report notes that women account for 70 percent of people living in poverty, due in part to lack of sexual and reproductive health services. The report notes that indigenous women experience increased discrimination in some countries where they experience significantly higher rates of violence and less access to police protection and the justice system, and that there is often a disparity in health maternal risks between indigenous and non-indigenous women. The report draws attention to the states failure to protect human rights defenders and the detrimental effect that failure has on womens rights in general. Among its recommendations, the report suggests that states fulfill their obligations under international human rights law by identifying and addressing gender discrimination within their institutional frameworks.

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Prentice, Tracey, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, HIV/AIDS and Aboriginal Women, Children and Families: A Position Statement, CANADIAN ABORIGINAL AIDS NETWORK 1-11 (2004)

The author of this position paper argues for better provision of HIV/AIDS services for Aboriginal women in Canada. She begins with a statistical report of the number of Aboriginal women who are HIV positive. She then discusses various factors that exacerbate Aboriginal women's vulnerability to HIV infection including poor socioeconomic conditions, sexual and physical violence, low self-esteem, high levels of injection drug use, and low levels of HIV testing and treatment. Additionally, the author argues that Aboriginal women are stigmatized and discriminated against by their communities when they disclose their HIV positive status. She describes the barriers that Aboriginal women prisoners with HIV face, including poor access to information, services and support. She concludes with a discussion on the lack of research in this field. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Reproductive Rights - HIV/AIDS, Canada]

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Cunningham Kain, Myra, Indigenous Women and International Law, MADRE, April 2003

This brief summary of the status of Indigenous women under international law argues that the failure to fully recognize the human rights of Aboriginal peoples is one of the greatest failures of democracy. The article reviews the historical development of the Indigenous rights movement and the continuing recognition of Indigenous rights within various international arenas. The right of self-determination is characterized as most fundamental to the continuing development and recognition of Indigenous peoples rights. The article concludes with a recognition of the desire of Indigenous women's groups for the adoption of the Draft Declaration on Indigenous Rights.

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Rights & Democracy, Indigenous Women of the Americas , 2004

This publication consists of an information kit to assist Indigenous women in accessing their rights under international law. The kit is in the form of information sheets which focus on specific topics and are designed to be utilized as a resource for discussion and advocacy planning. Topics reviewed include the general situation of Indigenous women in the Americas and the use of international legal instruments to protect their rights. There is also information provided on the issues of intellectual property and the militarization of Indigenous lands.

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Roy, Chandra K., Indigenous Women: A Gender Perspective, Resource Centre for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, May 2004

This research paper explores the challenges facing Indigenous women globally. The paper identifies key issues of concern and reviews the content of these issues drawing on examples from various indigenous communities around the world. The review begins with the issue of discrimination and specifically examines the potential for laws to have gender-differential impacts. The report also addresses challenges for Indigenous women in the areas of political representation and education as well as violence against Indigenous women, specifically in armed-conflict situations. The report's conclusion reviews relevant developments in international law which relate to the rights of Indigenous women.

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Mulenki, Lucy, Indigenous Rights in the Commonwealth, Indigenous Women's Rights in Africa, Indigenous Rights in the Commonwealth: Africa Regional Expert Meeting, Cape Town, South Africa, October 16-18 2002

This report focuses on the capacity of Indigenous women in Africa to actively access their rights. It begins by noting that in many African countries women continue to face discrimination from customary norms and laws. Poverty is identified as an additional cause of the denial of rights to Indigenous women. Key rights which continue to be violated include property rights and the rights of political participation. Specific examples of progress in accessing rights are reviewed and the author concludes by emphasizing the importance of training women in their individual human rights.

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Shetty, Salil, Amnesty International, No More Stolen Sisters: Open Letter from Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty to Canadian Parliamentarians , (2014)

This open letter from Salil Shetty, the Secretary-General of Amnesty International, is addressed to members of the Canadian House of Commons and the Senate. The letter calls on the government to implement a national public inquiry and to improve their proposed "action plan" to address the problem of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The letter insists that the government's response in the ten years since Amnesty Internationals major report, "Stolen Sisters: Discrimination and Violence against Indigenous Women in Canada", was published (and affirmed by the government) has been inadequate. The letter criticizes government practices, including the failure to implement consistent data collection and reporting on the issue of murdered and missing women (despite a UN recommendation to that effect), ignoring the recommendations of families, service providers, human rights groups, and previous public inquiries, and the refusal to change the funding structure for groups and organizations delivering vital services to Indigenous women or to introduce new spending for this purpose.

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Organization of American States, OEA/SCR.L/V.II., Access to Justice for Women Victims of Violence in the Americas (2007),

This report by the Organization of American States examines the impediments to access to justice faced by indigenous women and makes note of institutional and private racism in the Americas that contributes to these impediments. The report focuses on inadequacies in the judicial system in regards to violence against women, noting problems with the administration of justice and existing laws. The report examines efforts to improve the administration of justice in regards to acts of violence against women through an examination of the justice sector, the passage of laws, and the implementation of government programs intended to address issues that predominantly affect women and concludes that they are insufficient. Finally, the report provides a list of general and contextual recommendations for improving access to justice for women victims of violence in the Americas.

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Amnesty International, Stolen Sisters: A Human Rights Response to Discrimination and Violence against Indigenous Women in Canada, (October 2004)

This report uses a human rights framework to examine violence against Indigenous women in Canada. The report identifies two central concerns regarding the human rights situation of Indigenous women: the violence itself and the social and economic factors which place Indigenous women at a heightened risk of violence. The report argues that the right to justice is typically violated when these crimes occur. The report includes nine case studies of violence against Indigenous women and the subsequent police action. The recommendations call for a more comprehensive recognition of the scope of the problem and for police training to prioritize the prevention of violence against Indigenous women. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Canada]

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National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) , The Civil and Political Rights of Canadian Women (On the Occasion of the Consideration of Canada's Fourth Report on the Implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), (March 26 1999)

This document is a nongovernmental report submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. It includes information on violations of the rights of Aboriginal women focusing on a legal analysis of the protection of property and cultural rights and an examination of Aboriginal women's right to self-determination. The report also specifically identifies which articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights have been violated by the Canadian government. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Canada]

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Human Rights Watch, Those Who Take Us Away , (2013)

This report uses available data and recent interviews conducted with indigenous women, social workers, and police officers, to scrutinize the relationship between indigenous women and girls and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in northern and rural communities in British Colombia, Canada. The report highlights authorities' failure to deal with the disproportionately high rates of murdered and missing indigenous women in Canada and discusses the impact of residential schools and systemic discrimination on indigenous communities' relationships with the RCMP. The report primarily focuses on first-hand accounts of police abuse involving indigenous women and girls, the RCMP's failure to protect indigenous women and girls, and the police force's lack of accountability and inadequate complaint and oversight procedures. The report also provides a list of recommendations for the RCMP and the Canadian federal and provincial governments and examines how the discussed failures intersect with Canada's obligations under international law.

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Native Women's Association of Canada , Understanding NWAC's Position on Prostitution , November 2012

This short statement explains the Native Women's Association of Canada's (NWAC) position with respect to prostitution: namely, that it is an exploitative practice that further entrenches the inequality of aboriginal women based on their gender, race, age, disability, and poverty. NWAC highlights the fact that aboriginal women are overrepresented in prostitution and advocates for the decriminalization of activities prostitutes engage in, while also supporting the criminalization of the purchase of sex and of the activities of those who profit from the prostitution of women and girls. NWAC supports the Nordic model of prostitution policy, which includes public education to discourage prostitution, criminalization of johns and pimps, and provides, real alternatives to prostitution for women. The statement ends with a summary of NWAC's six key points. In general, these points advocate that aboriginal women and girls need to be respected and valued, the state should oppose the commercialization of women's bodies, Aboriginal women and girls should not be punished for their own exploitation or lack of options, violence against women is a serious offence and should not be tolerated, Aboriginal women and girls deserve lives free from poverty and violence and the movement to end prostitution is based on equality and human rights of women.

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International Conventions and Declarations

Fourth World Conference on Women , Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, A/CONF.177/20 (1995)

The Declaration and Platform for Action from the Fourth World Conference on Women comprehensively identifies the rights of women and asks governments to commit to protecting these rights. Indigenous women are specifically highlighted as a group who face multiple barriers. Among action to be taken by governments, the Platform for Action outlines that measures should be taken to increase the participation of Indigenous women in issues of politics and development. Governments are also encouraged to ratify the International Labour Organization's Convention 169 to protect the rights of Indigenous women. Other Indigenous rights which are advocated in this document include the right to education, culture, and health.

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International Labour Organization, Convention (No. 169) Concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries, 72 ILO Official Bull. 59 (1991)

This Convention was one of the first international documents to specifically identify the rights of Indigenous persons. The Convention generally states that the full range of human rights should be provided to Indigenous persons and Article 3 states that these provisions should apply equally to males and females. The Convention emphasizes key elements in the range of protections for Indigenous rights including social, economic and cultural rights and rights of self-determination. Article 20 addresses the right of women to have equal opportunities in employment and protection from sexual harassment.

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United Nations, Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, E/CN.4/Sub.2/1994/2/Add.1 (1994)

The Draft Declaration was approved in 1994 by the UN Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities. The Declaration is based on the recognition of the oppression suffered by indigenous persons stemming from colonialism. Rights which are affirmed within the Declaration are the right to self-determination, the rights to maintain distinctive legal systems, rights to practice particular cultural traditions, and land rights. Rights within this Declaration are recognized on both an individual and collective level. Article 22 of the Declaration states that special attention should be paid to the rights and special needs of Indigenous women.

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Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Proposed American Delcaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Authorities and Precedent in International Law), Organization of American States OEA/Ser.L/V/II.110 Doc.22 (2001)

The proposed American Declaration was approved by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 1977, but the Declaration has yet to be fully adopted by the Organization of American States. This link provides the full text of the Declaration along with annotations for each individual article. The annotations contain useful information about the basis for the articles in international and domestic authorities and precedents. The only specific mention of women is in Article VI of the Declaration which provides for special guarantees against discrimination and recognizes that violence exercised against individuals because of their gender violates their rights.

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DeFine, Michael Sullivan, A History of Governmentally Coerced Sterilization: The Plight of the Native American Woman, May 1, 1997, (University of Maine School of Law).

This article chronicles the specific human rights violation of coerced sterilization and its impact upon the First Nations. The author presents the history of coerced sterilization in North America, and connects this policy to arguments of genocide being perpetrated against Indigenous Peoples. The first part of this article focuses on the history of enforced sterilization against First Nations peoples, while the latter part of the article raises international law defences to halt this practice. The author argues that rather than representing a past problem, coerced sterilizations have in fact increased in recent years, despite international developments aimed at protecting Indigenous peoples' rights. [Descriptors: Indigenous Women, Reproductive Rights - Reproductive Freedom, International]

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Lynne, Jackie, Colonialism and the Sexual Exploitation of Canada's First Nations Women , paper presented at the American Psychological Association 106th Annual Convention, San Francisco, California, August 17, 1998

This article provides a historical overview of the specific problems facing Indigenous women in Canada, focussing on colonialism as the root cause of these problems. The author looks at the cumulative effects of colonialism, racism, sexual oppression and patriarchy, and explores how these factors have influenced the legal position of Indigenous women in Canada.

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