Indigenous Women Leaders Travel to New York to Advocate for Indigenous Women’s Rights
Fourteen women of ECMIA (Enlace Continental de Mujeres Indígenas de las Américas, or Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas) traveled to New York in mid-May for the thirteenth session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at the United Nations.
During the Forum, ECMIA held a debate on Thursday, May 15 in the Trusteeship Council Chamber to call for the world community to strengthen the fight against the elimination of violence and discrimination against indigenous women.
The purpose of the meeting is to develop a new general recommendation on the right to equality and non-discrimination of indigenous peoples to be submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
Five members of ECMIA visited The Hunger Project’s Global Office while they were in New York City on Friday, May 17, representing Peru, Venezuela, Argentina and Guatemala. These women are all change leaders and activists working tirelessly in their communities to give a voice to the voiceless, holding roles in their communities as social communicators, lawyers and mental health service workers.
The ECMIA women led a discussion with Hunger Project global staff about their work in their own countries, and their goals for their time in New York in front of the UN. As the theme of this year’s forum is governance, the women of ECMIA advocated for indigenous women’s representation and leadership in public policy at the national level of their countries. As international promises often do not reach the local level, and indigenous communities can be invisible in their domestic agendas, the women representatives of ECMIA were taking their place at the Forum to advocate for more active inclusion of indigenous communities in decision-making and public policy development.
The goal of making indigenous communities, particularly women, visible is challenging, but with the eloquent and resounding voices of the women from ECMIA, Latin America will be making a step forward toward a national agenda that represents its people.
Tarcila Rivera Zea, Executive Director of Chirapaq, is pictured next to Hunger Project CEO Mary Ellen McNish in the photograph above.