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Oral statement to the 17th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on
Indigenous Issues (April 16-27, 2018)
Thanks, Madam Chair.
More than 10 years after the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples, we indigenous women and youth of the Commission for Children and Youth
of the Continental Liaison of Indigenous Women of the Americas (ECMIA),
representing by organizations and peoples indigenous peoples of 23 countries, deem it
necessary to deepen the discussion about our collective rights to lands, territories and
natural resources, from a gender and youth perspective. Advances in the recognition of
these rights by States have been insufficient and unequal.
Indigenous youth are forced to migrate to the cities at a younger age, due to the
dispossession of our territories, the absence of health services and education, and the
lack of opportunities for our economic development. Thus, we experience the loss of
our identity, based on the harmonious relationship with our territory.
Women defenders of the collective rights of our peoples are subject to constant threats
against our lives. Reports from human rights organizations give an account of the
increasing levels of violence, including physical attacks, harassment, criminalization,
murders, femicides, and other forms of violence against us, especially in countries such
as Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Peru, Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador.
Children suffer the consequences of territorial dispossession to a greater extent,
especially in their rights to food sovereignty, health, and education. The lack of access
to water affects their physical and emotional development, especially if they are
exposed to the effects of pollutants.
For the above reasons, the indigenous women and youth of ECMIA urge the following
recommendations to the Permanent Forum, States and UN agencies:
1. To reinforce the recommendation agreed by the CSW62, which calls on the
States to take the necessary measures to prevent violence against women
defenders of rights, especially in cases related to land, territory and natural
resources (among other issues), as well as ending impunity for their
2. Strictly apply the mechanisms for guaranteeing the right to prior, free and
informed consultation before any action involving indigenous territories; reform
these mechanisms to include the voices of indigenous women and youth in
3. Promote opportunities for territorial development from the perspective of
indigenous peoples that recognize the contribution of women and young people
to local economies, providing alternatives to migration.
4. Stop the advance of extractive industry and megaprojects on indigenous
territories, as they violate community welfare and harmony.
5. Take the necessary environmental remediation measures for those critical
cases of contamination, for example, the areas of the Amazon affected by oil
spills, from a right perspective to health and food, with priority in indigenous
New York. April 19th, 2018