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International presentation/Interventions Human Rights - Update on Bejing 10+ 49th Session

 Update on Bejing 10+ 49th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women

 

FIAAH’s Health Minister, Rev. Denise Hylton participated in the 49th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, February 28th, 2005 to March 11th, 2005. Representing FIAAH, Rev. Hylton was part of a delegation of 60 indigenous women from different parts of the world participating in the follow-up session which reviewed and evaluated the Bejing Declaration and Platform for Action. Rev. Hylton attended the pre-conference strategy meetings sponsored by the Indigenous Women’s Forum February 26th - February 27th, 2005 and was the only indigenous woman from United States who participated. Many indigenous women who attended the previous commissions stated that indigenous women were invisible and had no platform. It was important that indigenous women’s voices were heard during this 49th session of the CSW. The Indigenous Women’s Forum members lobbied the member states to gain support of their resolution and declaration in recognition of the role of indigenous women in the world. Rev. Hylton joined the Media Committee representing indigenous women’s platform to promote the declaration and resolution. Along with indigenous women from Africa, Sweden, and South America, Rev. Hylton was interviewed by the FEM-REEL internet radio program about the Bejing Conference and its impact on Indigenous Women. The Indigenous Women’s Forum lobbying efforts resulted in adoption of a declaration and proposed resolution on indigenous women and girls that was finally adopted at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. The resolution the first on indigenous women at the CSW, highlights their rights and specific needs, including regarding poverty and violence, and was considered a big achievement of the indigenous women’s work.

 

Rev. Hylton also attended several panel discussions including: a) Indigenous and afro-descendant adolescents and young women; b) Discussion on the implementation of the Sisters in Spirit Campaign organized by Native Women’s Association of Canada; c) Rural Women’s Access to Land and Poverty. Other panel discussions held include: Women’s Empowerment in Rural Communities; Women, Peace and Environment. Additionally two press conferences were held sponsored by Madre and the Permanent Forum for Indigenous Peoples. The press conferences highlighted issues of great importance such as trafficking, discrimination and abuse, denial of education and healthcare, loss of land and resources, impact of armed conflict, invisibility in census-taking and its consequences, and loss indigenous cultures, languages and understanding of the environment.

 

Highlights of the 49th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women included when the Rev. Hylton along with several indigenous women received Certificates and Diplomas of Participation in Training on Indigenous Issues from the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum for Indigenous Issues and the International Women’s Forum. The a week-long seminar on international issues covered the following topics: UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); Special Rapporteurs; Women in Conflict and Post-conflict; Migration, CEDAW, Shadow Reports and Human Rights Complaints procedures, and the 1503 procedure. The trainings aimed to give participants a better understanding of international instruments, UN agencies and successful initiatives that can be used as advocacy tools and strategies at the local and national level. According to Rev. Hylton, “the experience working with indigenous women from throughout the world was of great inspiration. We were able to feel so much solidarity and support for the work FIAAH is doing from indigenous women throughout the world, particularly those from South and Central America”. A copy of the final declaration in attached in this update for your information.