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AHR Responds to the UN Special Rapporteur Call for Submissions on Indigenous Women & Girls

January 28, 2022

The Advocates responded to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women's call for submissions on indigenous women and girls.

As the UN Special Rapporteur notes, "Indigenous women and girls face complex and intersectional forms of violence, linked to patriarchal structures, racial and ethnic discrimination and mutually connected types of human rights violations - among others. They may face gender-based violence, including domestic violence, harmful traditional practices, sexual violence and femicide; whether originating in their own communities, as forms of control or punishment, or perpetrated by others in the context of the structural violence they face."

Drawing from our 2018 Safe Harbor for All Strategic Planning Process Report, published by The Advocates, U of MN's UROC, and Rainbow Research, as well as Promoting Gender Diversity and Inclusion in the Oil, Gas and Mining Extractive Industries, The Advocates presented findings and recommendations to combat violence against indigenous women and girls. For example, our submission describes challenges on increasing indigenous women and girls' access to effective mechanisms to prevent their exposure to violence as well as to assist and protect victims of violence. Our Safe Harbor For All report found several factors that limit indigenous women and girls' access to effective mechanisms to prevent their exposure to violence as well as steps that can be taken to assist and protect victims of violence.

These factors were intertwined with many of the factors that lead indigenous women and girls to be at risk of sex trafficking or become involved in transactional sex in the first place, such as lack of access to a living wage, stigma and discrimination in accessing high quality health care, confusion and inconsistency with systems of support, and ongoing conditions of racism and colonization that limit access to and development of culturally-based and community-focused services for indigenous victims of violence. Based on our research on gender equality in the extractives industry, we noted the necessity of comprehensive protection of and services for indigenous victims. One recommendation we make urges states to ensure and support services for victims of discrimination and violence against women. Such services should be led by non-governmental organizations that best understand and serve women victim and survivors' needs. Ensure that services for marginalized populations, including migrant and indigenous female workers, are customized to address their specific needs. The Advocates welcomes the UN Special Rapporteur on VAW's focus on indigenous women and girls and looks forward to her forthcoming report.