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Briefing Paper on the Rights of Indigenous Women to their Lands, Territories and Resources in Asia

Indigenous women and men in Asia manage and share the same resources and livelihood systems in their lands and territories. Nevertheless, they assume gender specific and distinct roles and responsibilities in natural resource management practices and conservation systems. Women in many indigenous societies in Asia, manage and conserve lands, territories and resources and are responsible for ensuring food for the family and securing nutrition, collecting firewood, wild foods and crops, maintaining seeds and harvests, fetching water and managing agricultural fields. Consequently, they have an intimate and interconnected relationship with nature, lands, territories and the natural resources therein, including the sites of cultural and spiritual significance. Women also nurture and transfer the knowledge and wisdom to the future generations.

However, while indigenous women are sustainably leading, conserving and managing forests, resources and rotational farms, their roles and contributions continue to be widely neglected or even outlawed by governments.13 Moreover, they are particularly vulnerable to the loss or degradation of land as the substantial source of their food and health security. Thus, the increasing destruction of the ecosystem and the environmental degradation severely impact on the physical, social and psychological aspects of their life as well as their cultural integrity.

To counteract this trend, indigenous women have started to advocate for their recognition as indigenous peoples as well as for their collective rights to lands, territories and resources from local to international levels. In line with this, the outcome document of the World Conference of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) in September 2014 explicitly supports indigenous women in asserting and protecting their rights through the development of legal and policy measures: “(...) Commit to intensify the efforts in cooperation with indigenous peoples, to prevent and eliminate all forms of violence and discrimination against indigenous peoples and individuals, in particular indigenous women, children, older persons and person with disabilities, by strengthening legal, policy and institutional frameworks.14” (WCIP, 2014)

 

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Download this file (Edited_Briefing Paper on Rights of Indigenous Women.pdf)Briefing Paper on Rights of IP Women[ ]1251 kB