Violence Against Indigenous Women, a ‘Legacy of Colonialism’ Rooted in Racism – Global Issues

“This violence is rooted in historical and unequal patriarchal power structures, racism, exclusion and marginalization caused by the legacy of colonialism.” said Reem Alsalem, UN special rapporteur on violence against women, said this on Tuesday.

Causes “alarming” impunity

Meanwhile, criminals continue to go free without consequences.

“The level of impunity…both state and non-state actors is alarming, and the extent and severity of violence suffered by indigenous women and girls is not adequately reflected in data collection, legislation or public policy,” Ms Alsalem explained. .

The Special Rapporteur added that although the right of indigenous women and girls to be free from violence is enshrined in international law, it has not yet been translated into effective prevention and protection measures by most States.

Hiding in the shadows

A UN expert warned that legal gaps and gray areas around the responsibility of non-state actors also fuel violence against indigenous women and girls.

Moreover, according to her report, they are systematically discriminated against in both indigenous and non-indigenous justice systems, facing severe barriers to accessing justice.

Noting that violence continues unabated with “the full awareness and often tacit consent and support of States”, the independent expert stressed that wherever it occurs, “it must be effectively combated in order to end impunity”.

“Persistent Actors”

The report provides an overview of the underlying causes and consequences of gender-based violence and highlights good practices and challenges in accessing justice and support services for indigenous women.

He urged states to review the interaction of laws between governments and indigenous communities in order to reduce violence.

The analysis also makes recommendations for governments and others to undertake policy and legal reforms that will help end this scourge.

“Indigenous women and girls must have the right to full, equal and effective participation that goes beyond empty words and sees them as resilient participants and not just victims of violence,” stressed the Special Rapporteur.

Special rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the UN Headquarters in Geneva. Human Rights Council to study and report on a specific human rights topic or country situation. The positions are honorary, and the work of experts is not paid.

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