Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Dr. Eloisa Garcia Tamez separated from ancestral lands by the mega-project border wall constructed by the United States against the firm protests of the Nde' of El Calaboz Rancheria and from related Nde' across the United States.

University of Wisconsin Law School, Legal Studies Research Paper Series, Paper No. 1068, January 2009, Daniel Ibsen Morales

Excerpt (pp 103-104):
"the government knows that the fence is ill-conceived. State-authored reports show, and experts agree, that the project is a classic white elephant; it is expensive, breachable, and its most dramatic effect is to shift migration pathways to dangerous areas where migrants are more likely to die en route to the United States."

Excerpt (p 129):
"The congruence, though, between Tamez‘s case in domestic court and in the international arena is not accidental; the origins of the international human rights regime are distinctly American.119 And, as in the domestic sphere, this story might be different if the Group was not conceding, as it must, the basic point that the right to property it asserts is very limited because ―the U.S. government has the right to subordinate the use of private property for reasons of public utility and social interest.‖120 As it stands, however, this international briefing (as well as the briefings in Tamez) attack and subjugate the administrative while reinscribing the primacy and unimpeachability of democratic authority, and leave out as uncognizable the deeper rights she has to the land (due to her Amerindian and Spanish heritage). Put plainly, the structure of the suits only reinforces the existing power relationships that lead to Tamez‘s problem in the first instance."

Monday, June 8, 2009


These documents (INTERVENTIONS) of the Global Indigenous Women's Caucus (GIWC) are provided here to support the future work of Indigenous Women, Apache women, Apachean Peoples and Communities, Indigenous Peoples, and transborder-transnational communication and support work. LAW-DEFENSE hopes that these can support the important work of Indigenous Peoples in the on-going efforts to protect cultures, environments, livelihoods, and ways of life.

Spanish versions of all final documents will be loaded as they are available.






Friday, June 5, 2009



“Contemporary North American Indigenous Human and Cultural Rights Injustice”

There is a common idea out there that the injustices committed against North American indigenous “Indians” was a 19th Century and/or early 20th Century condition. While we all hold a general awareness that native reservations in the United States and reserves and Indian settlement areas in Canada may be marked by high rates of unemployment, substance abuse, suicide, gang activity, and domestic violence, and that these societal conditions may be regarded as a consequence of the colonization of North America; what is unknown is that these communities are still fighting a battle, today, that looks no different than the past.

North American indigenous communities, reservations, ceded territories, spiritual places, and traditional lands still in dispute in a court of law are under attack by multi-national corporations, governmental policies that abet domestic and foreign natural resource extractive industries, and judicial systems and processes that typically uphold legal edicts based on precedents without questioning whether it was fair, ethical, and just to begin with.

We will discuss the following three key and rapidly escalating areas of interest:

The Western Shoshone in the state of Nevada and their long-standing and continuing struggle against the mining and nuclear industries on their non-reservation lands under the 1863 Treaty of Ruby Valley,
The Athabascan Chipewyan and Lubicon Cree, and other First Nation groups whose Treaty lands are being plundered by the Albertan Oil Tar Sands, and the oil pipelines from the Oil Tar Sands into the United States are threatening the Assiniboine and Lakota tribes of Montana and South Dakota and the Ojibwe in Northern Minnesota,

The conditions for indigenous tribes along the United States borders including the Tohono O’odham, Yaqui, Jumano and Lipan Ndé (Apache) whose reservations or traditional lands have a border, and now a border wall, running through it. These tribes are under severe pressure due to the onslaught of the drug cartels and the human traffickers from Mexico, American and Mexican Customs and Border Patrol personnel, multi-national global subcontractors constructing the border wall and associated components, and civilian border-monitoring groups who may not possess the cultural education tools to understand the needs of these native communities.

Indigenous tribes such as the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) along the United States and Canadian border are experiencing similar conditions with border patrol operatives, and the caseload of human rights violations continues to mount; especially due to pre-existing racial tensions regarding tribal land and treaty rights and a jointly-shared United States and Canada program called the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that will commence on June 1, 2009, which may violate the terms of the Jay Treaty of 1794.

Additionally, we will discuss what role Germany and Europe plays in regards to the mining in Nevada, the oil production in Canada, and North American national defense mechanisms.

Furthermore, how will the Obama administration handle these North American indigenous concerns considering that his administration has begun reviewing the September 2007 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? Will it be the same policies as his predecessors or is there hope in indigenous communities that there will be a change?

Similarly, how is Canada handling indigenous issues in light of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s June 8, 2008 official apology to First Nations regarding the Indian Residential School era and the fact that Amnesty International of Canada and the Native Women’s Association of Canada has published reports in the past year detailing the high prevalence of missing and murdered native women in Canada?

The intent of this lecture, discussion, and dialogue is to educate and raise awareness about present-day North American indigenous community challenges and to examine them from not only a brief historical level, but to examine how governmental policies and the legal processes of today may undermine or adversely affect the sovereignty of indigenous tribes, some who may not have political recognition or it may be limited, and how this is reinforcing an atmosphere where human, cultural, tribal, and treaty rights continues to be infringed upon.

Please Note: The lecture and discussion will be communicated in the English language.


Es wird allgemein angenommen, dass das Unrecht an den nordamerikanischen Indianern vor allem im 19. und beginnenden 20. Jahrhundert begangen wurde. Während heute allgemein bekannt ist, dass vielfältige Probleme das indianische Leben in den Reservaten und Siedlungen der USA und Kanadas prägen, wie hohe Arbeitslosigkeits- und Selbstmordraten, Drogenprobleme und Gewalt, und sie als mittelbare Folge der nordamerikanischen Kolonisation anzusehen sind, scheint wenig bekannt, dass diese indigenen Völker nach wie vor Kämpfe auszutragen haben, die sich nicht wesentlich von denen der vergangenen Jahrhunderte unterscheiden.

Die indianischen Völker Nordamerikas, ihre Reservate, zugesicherten Gebiete, heiligen Plätze und traditionellen Stammesgebiete, über die noch heute vor Gerichten gestritten wird, werden bedroht von multinationalen Konzernen, politischen Entscheidungen, die die nationale und ausländische Rohstoffindustrie begünstigen, sowie Gerichten, die an überkommenen Präzedenzfällen festhalten, ohne zu hinterfragen, ob diese faire und ethisch gerechtfertigte Urteile darstellen.

Es werden folgende ebenso brisante wie aktuelle Bereiche diskutiert:

Die Western Shoshone in Nevada und ihre lang anhaltenden Anstrengungen gegen Bergbau- und Atomindustrie in ihren Nicht-Reservationsgebieten entsprechend dem Abkommen von Ruby Valley 1863.
Die Athabascan Chipewyan, Lubicon Cree und andere First Nation Gruppierungen in Kanada, auf deren durch Abkommen zugesicherten Gebieten ölhaltige Teersände gefördert werden, sowie die Ölpipelines, die auf der Strecke zwischen den Oil Tar Sands und den USA die Gebiete der Assiniboine und Lakota Stämme in Montana und South Dakota, und der Ojibwe in Northern Minnesota gefährden.
3) Die Lebensbedingungen indigener Stämme entlang der US-amerikanischen Grenzen, insbesondere der Tohono O’odham, Yaqui, Jumano und Lipan Ndé (Apache), durch deren Reservate oder traditionellen Gebiete eine Grenze bzw, nunmehr ein Grenzwall verläuft. Diese Stämme stehen aufgrund der Ausdehnung mexikanischer Drogenkartelle und Menschenhändler, durch US-amerikanische und mexikanische Grenzbeamte, durch die Praktiken multinationaler Subunternehmen, die mit dem Bau des Grenzwalls beauftragt sind, sowie ziviler Grenzschützer, die die erforderlichen, kulturellen Kenntnisse im Umgang mit den ansässigen Stämmen nicht haben , unter großem Druck. Stämme wie die Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) entlang der Grenze zu Kanada erleben ähnliche Probleme mit dem Grenzpersonal. Hier häufen sich Menschenrechtsverletzungen, die insbesondere durch (rassistische) Spannungen zwischen Landrechten und dem Abkommen „Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative“ bedingt sind. Dieses, zwischen Kanada und den USA geschlossene Abkommen tritt am 01. Juni 2009 in Kraft und verletzt möglicherweise im Jay Treaty von 1794 zugesicherte Rechte.

Darüber hinaus werden wir die Rolle Deutschlands und Europas im Zusammenhang mit dem Bergbau in Nevada, der Ölproduktion in Kanada und amerikanischen Sicherheitsbemühungen betrachten.

Auch wird die Frage diskutiert, wie die Obama-Administration die Probleme der indigenen Bevölkerung angeht, insbesondere, da sie begonnen hat, die UN-Deklaration über die Rechte indigener Völker von 2007 zu prüfen. Wird Obama die Politik seiner Vorgänger fortsetzen oder gibt es Hoffnung für Nordamerikas Indianer?

Ebenso stellt sich die Frage wie Kanada mit indigenen Fragestellungen umgehen wird, nachdem sich Premierminister Stephen Harper am 8. Juni 2008 für das an indigenen Völkern in der Ära der Indian Residential Schools begangene Unrecht entschuldigt hat und Amnesty International Kanada mit der Native Women’s Association of Canada im vergangenen Jahr einen Bericht veröffentlicht hat, wonach die Anzahl verschwundener oder ermordeter indianischer Frauen sehr hoch ist.

Vortrag, Diskussion und Dialog sollen vor allem informieren und das Bewusstsein für die Belange der nordamerikanischen indigenen Völker erhöhen. Die Probleme, denen diese Völker gegenwärtig gegenüberstehen, sollen dabei nicht nur vom historischen Standpunkt aus betrachtet werden, sondern es soll aufgezeigt werden wie aktuelle Politik und juristische Verfahren die Souveränität indigener Völker untergraben bzw, nachteilig beeinflussen und wie dadurch eine Atmosphäre kreiert wird, in der Menschenrechte, kulturelle und Stammesrechte sowie Vertragsrechte kontinuierlich verletzt werden.

Der Vortrag und die anschließende Diskussion finden auf Englisch statt.

Am 22. Juni um 19:00 Uhr wird Jessica Ossenbrügge zu Contemporary North American Indigenous Human and Cultural Rights Injustice im Robert Havemann Saal im Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte vortragen und anschließend unsere Fragen beantworten und mit uns diskutieren. Der Vortrag und die Diskussion werden auf englisch stattfinden. Ihr bekommt vorab noch mal eine deutsche Übersetzung der Kernaussagen, die wir auch auslegen werden. Weitere Details folgen demnächst.

Ich freue mich auf den spannenden Vortrag und verbleibe bis bald
mit herzlichen Grüßen
Eure Nina Althoff

Internationale Frauenliga für Frieden und Freiheit - IFFF / Women's International League for Peace and Freedom - WILPF
Deutsche Sektion
Dr. Nina Althoff
Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte
Greifswalder Str. 4
10405 Berlin

Monday, June 1, 2009

Global Indigenous Women's Caucus, Intervention, Agenda Item 4 (a) Human Rights ; (b) Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights








UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Eighth Session
May 19-29, 2009

Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus Statement

Agenda Item 4:

Follow Up on the Recommendations of the Permanent Forum

(a) Human Rights (Indigenous Women and Militarization)

Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (RE: Articles 21, 22, 42)

(b) Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people and other special rapporteurs

Madame Chaiperson, Permanent Forum Members, Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous People, Member States, UN Agencies and Our Indigenous delegates, my brothers and sisters:

In regards to impunity, in recent years prior to the mass-scale global economic collapse, States declared a world-wide ‘war on terror’ which set in place the logic of unilateral voiding out of constitutional protections. This staged the collapse of any possible legal remedy for indigenous communities on a number of levels. The logic being, the global ‘war on terror’ guaranteed to the State the power to launch Martial Law against its own citizens, in the name of “national security.” To ‘save the world from terrorists’ the State essentially argues that it must void out constitutional freedoms and shut down democracy to protect national borders. This convoluted logic gave States’ impunity against the protests of Indigenous Peoples. Governments refusal to provide information and transparency to mega-projects associated with ‘no constitution’ zones, itself leads to serious concerns about States’ commitments to guaranteeing human rights. Thus militarization, terror, impunity and tyrannical States impose mega-projects with authoritarian vigilantes, violating lives, lands, and livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous women.


The Special Rapporteur is urgently requested to take up this issue immediately as an advocacy of Indigenous Women’s Rights priorities.

The Indigenous Women’s organizations and activists are functioning de facto as the front of human rights documentation and monitoring efforts within communities. This presents enormous challenges that the women must bear in isolation. They are largely unrecognized and unfunded and subject to harassment, persecution, libel, slander, death threats, rape, dismemberment, maiming, destruction of property, armed forced removals, en masse displacements, and violence against their family members at all levels of their communities.

We earnestly request a consultation session with the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, Mr. James Anaya, while the Indigenous Women’s Caucus is convened here in New York.

We are firmly committed to cooperating with the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, to share documentations of specific cases of human rights violations.

We request that the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples engage with his colleagues, other Special Rapporteurs, members of Committees monitoring the implementation of the different human rights treaties and conventions at the earliest possible occasion, to review the situation of the human rights of Indigenous Women and Girls and to put forward a joint report/statement and appeal for action by States and the appropriate UN bodies and agencies.

Thank you for your focus and attention to the collective statement.

Foro Permanente para las Cuestiones Indígenas, Octava Sesión

18 - 29 de mayo de 2009

Cónclave Global de las Mujeres Indígenas

Punto 4 de la Agenda: Derechos Humanos
Seguimiento a la Recomendación del Foro Permanente

Implementación de la Declaración de los Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas
Dialogo con el Relator Especial sobre la situación de los derechos humanos y las libertades fundamentales de los pueblos indígenas y otros Relatores Especiales

Sra. Presidenta, Miembros del Foro Permanente, Relator Especial sobre la Situación de los Derechos Humanos y las Libertades Fundamentales de los Pueblos Indígenas, Estados Miembros, Agencias de la ONU y nuestros delegados Indígenas, mis hermanos y hermanas:

En relación a la impunidad, en los años recientes y antes del masivo colapso de la economía global, los estados habían declarado una “guerra contra el terror” a nivel mundial, la cual desató la lógica de la suspensión unilateral de las protecciones constitucionales. Esto asentó el colapso de cualquier remedio legal para las comunidades indígenas en varios niveles. La lógica es que la “guerra global en contra del terror” garantiza al Estado el poder de declarar la Ley Marcial en contra de sus propios ciudadanos, en el nombre de la “seguridad nacional”. Para “salvar al mundo de los terroristas”, los Estados esencialmente argumentan que deben de suspender todas libertades constitucionales y limitar la democracia para proteger las fronteras nacionales. Esta lógica tan enredada, otorga a los Estados impunidad a pesar de la protestas de los Pueblos Indígenas. La negación de los gobiernos a proveer información y transparencia en los mega-proyectos asociados con las zonas “sin constitución”, nos lleva a cuestionarnos seriamente los compromisos de los estados para proteger los derechos humanos. La militarización, el terror, la impunidad y los Estados tiránicos imponen mega-proyectos con la protección de grupos no oficiales que pretenden ejercer actividades policíacas, violando las vidas, tierras y formas de vida de los Pueblos Indígenas y las Mujeres Indígenas.


Solicitamos de manera urgente al Relator Especial sobre la situación de las libertades fundamentales y derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas que tome cargo de este asunto inmediatamente como una forma de abogar por las prioridades de los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas.

Las organizaciones y activistas de Mujeres Indígenas están funcionando de facto como el frente en la documentación y monitoreo de los esfuerzos dentro de las comunidades. Esto presenta enormes desafíos que las mujeres tienen que enfrentar solas. Ellas y su trabajo no están reconocidos ni debidamente financiados; además, las mujeres son sujetos de acosos, persecución, calumnias, amenazas de muerte, violaciones, desmembramientos, desfiguraciones, destrucción de la propiedad, desplazamientos forzados violento y masivos, violencia en contra de los miembros de su familia en varios niveles.

Pedimos de manera vehemente una sesión de consulta con el Relator Especial sobre la situación de las libertades fundamentales y derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, el Sr. James Anaya, mientras el cónclave de mujeres está reunido aquí en Nueva York.

Estamos firmemente comprometidas a cooperar con el Relator Especial sobre la situación de las libertades fundamentales y derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas para compartir documentación sobre casos específicos de violaciones de derechos humanos.

Solicitamos al Relator Especial sobre la situación de las libertades fundamentales y derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas que colabore con sus colegas, otros Relatores Especiales, miembros de comités monitoreando la implementación de diferentes tratados y convenciones de derechos humanos lo más pronto posible, para revisar la situación de los derechos de humanos de las Mujeres y Niñas Indígenas y escribir un reporte en conjunto y hacer una llamada de acción a los Estados y los cuerpos y agencias de la ONU apropiadas.

Muchas gracias por su atención a nuestra declaración colectiva,

Global Indigenous Women's Caucus, Intervention, Future Work of the Permanent Forum

UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Eighth Session

May 18-29, 2009

Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus Statement Agenda Item 7:

Future Work of the Permanent Forum including issues of the Economic and Social Council and emerging issues

Honorable Chairwoman, Members of the UN Permanent Forum, distinguished representatives of Indigenous Peoples, sisters and brothers here today,

Indigenous Women are the human embodiment of Mother Earth. Thus, managing and protecting Earth’s nurturing gifts is our responsibility. Indigenous Women bring invaluable knowledge, which reflects the worldviews of Indigenous Peoples that recognize our interconnectedness with the world around us. The knowledge includes ecological managing systems that can correct the global crises, which are caused by unsustainable economies. As such, our knowledge and ways of life are essential for the perpetuation, promotion and development of the world’s biodiversity. For these reasons, we play a very important role in carrying out our communities’ self-determining development.

As keepers and guardians of Mother Earth, Indigenous Women have a special connection with our ancestral lands. We are the first, together with our families, to suffer from the impact of Climate Change, the current patenting practices under the Intellectual Property Rights regime, and the forced displacements of Indigenous Peoples happening all over the world. Indigenous Women are deeply concerned that the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have not recognized Indigenous Peoples’ rights to our traditional territories, lands and waters in the negotiations of an international regime of access and benefit-sharing due for completion by 2010. Also, Indigenous Women oppose all forms of patenting of any form of life and reject the potentially genocidal effects of genetic modification and contamination of land by genetically engineered technology. Further, these acts violate our rights, as contained inter alia in articles 11 and 24 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN DRIP).

Key solutions to these challenges include environmental protection, peace and development, which are interdependent and interrelated. The imbalance of the environment is both a cause and effect of the political tensions and conflicts, which affects Indigenous Women and children in alarming ways. Therefore, our rights to ancestral lands and territories and to maintaining and preserving our Traditional Indigenous Knowledge (TIK) are key in mitigating these problems and for our own survival, as contained, inter alia in articles 8, 10, 11, and 25-31 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Given this, we offer the following interrelated recommendations that would help ensure our roles as Indigenous Women in facing the challenges outlined, and help the protection of our rights.

Recommendations for future work:


We commend the Permanent Forum’s numerous calls in document E/C.19/2009/L.2 for States and transnational corporations and inter-governmental banks to respect, implement, and guarantee the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent.1 We underscore the critical need for the full and equal participation of Indigenous Women in these efforts. We therefore recommend that the Permanent Forum urge States, transnational corporations and inter-governmental banks to ensure that Free, Prior, and Informed Consent is sought with the full and effective participation of Indigenous Women on an equal basis, as well as the participation of all marginalized groups in Indigenous communities.


We strongly urge the Permanent Forum to set Traditional Indigenous Knowledge, including the revitalization of Indigenous Languages, as a future main theme for its work.

We recommend that the Permanent Forum undertake a study on the implementation of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the protection of Traditional Indigenous Knowledge. This reinforces our previous recommendation that the Permanent Forum advance a World Conference on TIK in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, including a focus on TIK and Education. We recommend that the Permanent Forum hold preparatory sessions in all regions that provide examples of best practices by States, UN agencies and bodies and Indigenous Peoples of the implementation of the UN DRIP in relation to the protection of TIK.

We recommend that the Permanent Forum recommend the establishment of an International Year for Traditional Indigenous Knowledge. This International Year can, among other mandates, facilitate focused research and emphasize critical concerns of Indigenous Peoples’ access to educational opportunities related to TIK within their communities and outside of them.


We recommend that the Permanent Forum initiate a gender-based analysis of the
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in consultation and collaboration with Indigenous Women at the local level. Articles 21, 22 and 44 of the UN DRIP mandate a full gender-based analysis of the Declaration. Any human rights process that considers the needs of Indigenous Women must be mindful of our specific customary laws, traditional beliefs and practices, and historical circumstances as well as our specific experiences of discrimination and marginalization. We recommend that the Permanent Forum undertake a gender-based analysis to set the framework for all States as they implement UN DRIP.

We recommend that the Permanent Forum study ways for the establishment of a mechanism to address violations on the right to maintain and preserve Indigenous cultures. Article 31 of UN DRIP asserts that Indigenous Peoples have the right to maintain their own cultures. Violations to Article 31, as well as other articles including article 11, are currently occurring as States prohibit the practice of Indigenous cultural traditions. We condemn the actions of States that criminalize Indigenous cultural practices or expressions of collective identity, where women are being detained and punished for expressions of their traditional cultures.

We recommend that the Permanent Forum undertake a study on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of unrecognized or unrepresented Indigenous Peoples. Historically known Peoples who are unrecognized and/or unrepresented within States have no access to remedies of collective or tribal rights. This undermines the stability of Indigenous Women and Children who carry their traditions and are unable to practice them without being criminalized.


We recommend that the Permanent Forum sets traditional Indigenous justice systems as a future agenda item of the UN PFII. Acknowledging the efforts of UNIFEM to further the understanding of Indigenous Women and Ancestral/Tribal Justice systems through the forum held in Ecuador (October 2008), we encourage further efforts by UNESCO, UNDP, UNIFEM to coordinate additional forums that will promote knowledge and understanding of the value of Indigenous Justice Systems.


We commend the Permanent Forum’s call to the UNDP to convene an International Expert Workshop on “Indigenous Peoples and health, with a special emphasis on sexual and reproductive health” (E/C.19/2009/L.2, para. 25). In preparation for this Workshop, we recommend the Permanent Forum to prepare studies of best practices on traditional Indigenous medicinal and healing systems. These studies should focus on: (a) greater visibility of Indigenous Women in reports and statistics that examine the impact of poverty, disease, violence, forced dislocation, climate change, pollution and other factors that affect Indigenous Women’s health; (b) the need of health care providers to have specific training to assist Indigenous Women who are disproportionately affected by problems such as cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS, and domestic violence; (c) understanding of and support for traditional medicines and practices such as traditional birthing practices, which are not valued by western health systems, or the chewing of coca leaves in South America, which at present is criminalized by national and international laws; (d) sexual and reproductive health and rights; and (e) more education within Indigenous communities, as problems such as HIV and tuberculosis are compounded when social stigma inhibits people from coming in to be tested and treated.

We also note the importance of continued support for the Indigenous Task Force at the International Diabetes Federation and the STOP TB Partnership.


We commend the Permanent Forum’s recommendations for studying the situation of Indigenous Women migrants and the loss of their rights as they migrate (E/C.19/2009/L.2, para. 26 and 27). For this study, we recommend the PFII to produce studies and request from all UN bodies and agencies disaggregated data on Indigenous migration. We also request a gender-based analysis be completed in all reports that are produced. We would like to suggest the following:

Need for disaggregated data on Indigenous migration: We recommend that the PFII in collaboration with the relevant UN bodies and agencies, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of the Human Rights and Fundament Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, and Indigenous scholars/experts on Indigenous migration, create a taskforce to conduct a meaningful and comprehensive study that will advance the identified constraints in the research findings of the Indigenous Peoples and Migration: Challenges and Opportunities Draft Issues Paper (2006) Section D. This should focus on the lack of relevant data on Indigenous Peoples in migration, especially Indigenous Women who have been forced off their lands, often due to economic and environmental factors. Greater access to justice for migrant Indigenous Women needs to be facilitated, given that they are often faced with criminalization and incarceration rooted in discrimination. Related to this, there is also a need of disaggregated data on the physical and mental health of migrant Indigenous Women.

Gender-based analysis of Indigenous migration: We recommend that the PFII in collaboration with the relevant UN bodies and agencies, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of the Human Rights and Fundament Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, and Indigenous scholars/experts on Indigenous migration undertake a joint comprehensive study on the specific concerns of Indigenous Women in the area of forced migration, including socio-economic marginalization, extreme exploitative labor practices fueled by undue influence of transnational corporations on immigration policies, violence against Indigenous Women and a lack of fair judicial review of racial and gender discrimination of migrants outside of their territories. This study should consider and integrate the analysis on migration and women developed in the Rural Women’s Declaration: Rights, Empowerment and Liberation (August 2, 2007, Manila Philippines).


We call upon the Permanent Forum to implement and prioritize its recommendations regarding decolonization. Specifically, these recommendations are in Document No. E/C/19/2004/23, para. 54, from the third session, regarding the impact of decolonization on the human rights of Indigenous Peoples of the self-governing territories; and in Document No. E/C.19/2008/13, para. 52, from the seventh session, recommending that an expert seminar be held on the decolonization process on Indigenous Peoples of non-self governing territories.


We request that the Permanent Forum initiate an Expert Study and Dialogue on transborder Indigenous communities. This study should examine: (a) the interrelated causation of militarization and toxic spills from factories to infant, child and young mother’s mortality/morbidity; (b) contamination of land, air, water, and space; (c) the right to mobility within the traditional territory and access to cultural, sacred and ceremonial sites; (c) political identity and organization; (d) jobs; (e) education of women and children; and (f) armed and forced removal from customary lands.


We commend the Permanent Forum’s decision to organize an International Expert Group meeting on Indigenous Peoples’ development with culture and identity (E/C.19/2009/L.2, para. 15). Given that Indigenous Women play a very important role in carrying out our communities’ self-determining development, we urge the Permanent Forum to include the full and effective participation of Indigenous Women in this meeting.

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, 8th Session Highlights

Filming courtesy of Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development


Collective statement on Unrecognized and Unrepresented Peoples

Reading: Chief Caleen Sisk-Franco, Winnemem Wintu Tribe
Dear Madame Chair, Permanent Forum Members, Member States, UN Agencies and Indigenous brothers and sisters :

For hundreds of years, Indigenous peoples have struggled to resist and survive the affects of colonial legal domination and conquest, which in certain locations this created a legal divide between recognized and “unrecognized” indigenous peoples and in others it has completely denied their existence through an “unrepresented” status. This assembly applies to multiple historical tribes and indigenous peoples
worldwide; it is no coincidence that many of us sit on prime land and natural resources historically desired by governments and corporations for profit and expansionist agendas. Many more have been forcefully relocated, removed and/or pushed into Diaspora across hemispheres, creating global migrations
and displacement of indigenous peoples. This matter affects indigenous peoples in every continent. The effects are profound and require the attention of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the international community.

This collective statement is the product of a first and historic side-event held on May 18, 2009, during the Permanent Forum. The panel brought together Indigenous Women leaders from around the world, North America, South America, the Pacific, South-East Asia, and Africa, to begin identifying the common conditions that this colonial legal atrocity has produced in the lives of indigenous peoples, and in
particular indigenous women and children. The panel discussed some of the common issues affecting historical tribes, migrant indigenous women and their children born and raised outside of their territories, pastoral indigenous peoples and indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation, indigenous peoples with recent
or no contact—all which are currently struggling with discrimination under the rule of law as unrepresented and unrecognized indigenous peoples.

Noting that all peoples should have the human right to be free from discrimination, unrecognized and unrepresented peoples currently do not have equal rights and protections to land, water, culture, identity, and child welfare protection as recognized indigenous peoples.

Noting that unrepresented and unrecognized tribes have less than equal rights to fair judicial review, unrecognized and unrepresented peoples are more vulnerable to discrimination, especially in exercising their right to land use, practice and preservation of culture, and in turn contributes to the cultural genocide
of these peoples.

Acknowledging the importance of the right to equal and fair judicial review, unrecognized and unrepresented peoples can not engage the state in legal address to their specific needs specifically related to land, natural resources, cultural custodialship, and their economic sustainabilities.

Further noting that unrepresented and unrecognized Indigenous women experience greater levels of discrimination due to the compound affect of ethnicity, gender, class, language, and, in particular, non-represented and unrecognized status.

Recognizing that the unrepresented and unrecognized status is a discriminatory status which denies the rights of historic, traditional tribes from the free exercise of their aboriginal rights and those basic human rights guaranteed under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People…

We submit the following recommendations to the UN Permanent Forum:
1. We strongly recommend to the UNPFII the inclusion of an item on unrepresented and
unrecognized indigenous peoples in its 2010 agenda.
2. We urge the UNPF to create a Task Force on unrepresented and unrecognized indigenous peoples, to include direct consultation with unrepresented and unrecognized indigenous peoples.
3. We request of the PF to appoint or designate a rapporteur to undertake a study on the conditions of unrepresented and unrecognized indigenous peoples, including but not limited to migrant peoples and their families born outside of their traditional territories.

We draw the attention of the UNPF, relevant UN Agencies and Member-states to the following matters:
1. We draw attention to the United States governments continuing efforts to suppress the rights of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe in California who are defending their historical territories, watersheds and the survival of their cultural
Government’s discriminatory statutes and practices which deny the rights of historic, traditional tribes from the free exercise of their aboriginal rights and those basic human rights guaranteed under the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.
2. We draw attention to the PF the case of Flor Crisostomo (see La Red Xicana Indigena statement on Urban and Migrant Indigenous Issues 2007), the face of migrant indigenous women in the US, Flor is in sanctuary in Chicago, Illinois resisting her order of deportation and is confronting the risk of federal charges with no legal recourse by either Mexico or the US for the effects of
displacement due to Free Trade Agreements (NAFTA).
3. We draw special attention to the present conditions of the Alifuru women and youth, see GIWC Statement on Human Rights 2008, who were incarcerated by the Indonesian government and prosecuted with charges of treason for possessing traditional fabric and presenting their traditional dances publicly. We urge the UNPF, Council on Human Rights, and the Special Rapporteur to report on the human rights violation of the Alifuru people.
4. We draw attention to the conditions of La Cuenca Amazonia (COICA) and encourage the PF to urge UN Agencies and Bolivia to promote the preservation of their right to self determination and territory, in order to secure their good health, education and livelihood.
5. We draw attention to the PF the excessive militarization due to the construction of the US-Mexico wall which is restricting the access to traditional foods, ceremonial sites, and are contaminating the water and riverbanks on the territory of the Lipan-Apache divided by US-Mexico border.

Signatories as of 5.20.2009:
La Red Xicana Indigena, Member ENLACE-North (Continental Network Indigenous Women)
Winnemem Wintu Tribe
Na Koa Ikaika Ka Lahui Hawaii
The Indigenous Worlds Association
Bansa Adat Alifuru
Touaregh Tribal People (Niger)
Coordinadora de las Organizaciones Indígenas de la Cuenca Amazónica (COICA)
California Indian Heritage Council
Lipan Apache Women’s Defense
Lipan Apache Band of Texas
Centro Sin Fronteras, Chicago, Ill
International Forum of Indigenous Women’s (FIMI)
Maya Visión
Comisión de Instrumentos Internacionales,
ENLACE Continental de Mujeres Indígenas