Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Global Indigenous Women's Caucus UNPFII 2016 Agenda Item 4

Global Indigenous Women's Caucus
Fifteenth Session of the UNPFII - Agenda Item 4 - Implementation of the six mandated areas of the Permanent Forum with reference to UNDRIP

Honorable Chairman, on behalf of the GIWC, we would like to congratulate you on your appointment as chair. Esteemed Members of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, distinguished representatives of Indigenous Peoples, sisters and brothers of the world:

The Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus is committed and actively looking for every opportunity to improve the wellbeing of our families and peoples. This includes ensuring that our collective voice is uplifted. Many Indigenous women’s lives are under constant threat for speaking out against injustices. The collective voice of the Global Indigenous Women's Caucus ensures that our indigenous sisters concerns are addressed in a manner that does not put their lives or their families lives in danger. The GIWC welcomes paragraph 38 of the final report for the 14th session of the UNPFII which highlights our indigenous peoples collective rights, free prior and informed consent and women’s participation in local, national and international decision-making processes, therefore:

We call upon the Permanent Forum to reevaluate their decision to dissolve Global and Regional caucus statements from the UNPFII process and instead reinstate priority for these Caucuses to speak.

Additionally, we recommend that the Permanent Forum call on member states to cease the criminalizing and subsequent use of police militarization upon Indigenous Peoples and Nations, particularly Indigenous Women, who are peacefully exercising their rights and responsibilities to protect our lands, waters and resources. Furthermore we call for the ensured protection of all Indigenous Peoples from harm for exercising such rights, and call for justice for those who have been harmed or disappeared.

In accordance with the UNDRIP, we call upon the Permanent Forum to urge the member states to review their processes to include the full equal and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples, particularly Indigenous Women, over decisions affecting our lands and communities, self-determination, economic, social and cultural rights and any other matters where Indigenous Peoples are concerned;

Our natural connection to our lands, waters and territories and in through this sacred relationship we have a responsibility to protect our lands. We have always maintained that we had and continue to have control and jurisdiction over our lands, waters and resources within our territories. There is destruction occurring on our lands and corporations are entering into our territories unlawfully without our Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC). Companies are gaining access to our lands, waters and territories through state represented organizations and are sidestepping the Original Peoples who hold underlying title and spiritual connection to the lands. When national and international corporations come onto our territories they do not adhere to FPIC and ignore the environmental concerns. The GIWC continue to stand on the principle that the provisions of the UNDRIP affirm the inherent rights of Indigenous Peoples to participate fully in decision- making that affects us, which contributes to sustainable and equitable development and proper management of the environment. This includes the principle of Free Prior and Informed Consent as well as Full, equal and effective participation. Based on these principles we submit the following.

The GIWC actively recognize and affirm President Evo Morales’ call in 2008 for a UN Convention on Water, and further, that Indigenous Women, fully participate in the development of that convention.

We affirm that through adherence and alignment with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, that any initiatives related to Water, lands and resources, must observe and recognize all articles of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including treaty rights to for our nations and peoples.

The GIWC welcomes a world expert study on the influence of transnational corporations on states’ decisions and policies regarding Indigenous Peoples’ access to and the protection from commodification or diversion of all waters. This study shall include full and meaningful participation of Indigenous Peoples and explore all waterways including springs, streams, rivers, lakes, aquifers, inland seas, shorelines and the open seas, be organized.

We Reject the Rio+20 definition of the “green economy” and instead create a collaborative definition with Indigenous Peoples and Nations of a “green economy” that recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ rights and does not place forests, water, biodiversity, etc, within a culturally- destructive or ecologically-destructive market system.

We encourage a review, with the direct participation of Indigenous Peoples, their platforms and engagement with states and all other parties on water regulation and the treaties, land claims and any agreements that have been entered into with Indigenous Nations and Peoples, and that this review should take into consideration and uphold the sanctity of water for Indigenous Nations and Peoples. (Recalling recommendation 53 of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Session 6, 2007).

We call on the Permanent Forum to Initiate a close review and assessment of Water allocation, regulation, and access policies and practices that affect the rights of Indigenous Nations, the health of our Peoples and ecosystems, and that of our future generations. This high level meeting can explore and establish indicators of Water Wellbeing for Indigenous Nations, and the world community. This is particularly urgent now due to the increasing negative impacts on water due to climate change. (Recalling recommendation 78 of UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Session 7, 2008).

Lastly, We take a position against Aquacide: the killing of the waters by dams, diversions, privatization, deprivations, extractive industrial and mega-agricultural developments, hydrofracking, toxics and pollution, and other ways that inhibit or preclude Water's ability to nurture and support Life. This includes working to immediately halt the killing of our waters by all forms of exploitation, extractive industrial development, commodification, and other assaults that impede or assault the life giving quality of Water.

We thank you for your full consideration of these recommendations and look forward to continuing our collective participation as a Caucus.