Categories Events, Events organised or co-organised by the consortium

Event Invitation: “Unrecognized, Underreported and Unrelenting – Exposing the Hidden Violence against Indigenous Human Rights Defenders”

Together with the International Land Coalition, the Alliance for Land, Indigenous and Environmental Defenders (ALLIED), and other co-organizers, the ICCA Consortium invites you to join this side event on 25 April 2023 at the 22nd session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City

First published on 04/20/2023

Tuesday 25 April

18:30-19:45 EST
UN Plaza (New York), Conference Room 4

Interpretation in English, Spanish and French provided by docip

Co-organizers: International Land Coalition, ALLIED, ICCA Consortium, Forest Peoples Programme, Indigenous Peoples Rights International, IWGIA, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, Kapaeeng Foundation, Ogiek Peoples Development Programme, and Azul

Despite being disproportionately represented in attacks against Human Rights defenders, Indigenous Peoples and their organizations are often invisible in datasets and frameworks aiming to capture violence against human rights defenders (HRDs). This condition is leading to impunity and lack of access to justice by victims and their families and peoples.

In its 2021 publication “A Crucial Gap”, the Alliance for Land, Indigenous and Environmental Defenders (ALLIED) highlighted that the UN reports only regionally aggregated data on the killing of human rights defenders, making it impossible to understand country-level trends and specifically vulnerable groups. Likewise, in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.10.1 – the only SDG indicator explicitly tracking violence against human rights defenders – it is impossible to identify Indigenous human rights defenders, despite public estimates that they represent more than half of all such attacks.

The ALLIED Data Working Group is working with civil society data collectors to build an integrated database of attacks to make Indigenous Peoples more visible. Of the 355 non-lethal attacks documented by ALLIED across five countries in 2020, more than 30% were carried out against individuals, communities or organizations that identified as Indigenous. Across the pilot countries – Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico and the Philippines – Indigenous human rights defenders were more likely to endure incidents of intimidation than other human rights defenders. Of all the non-lethal attacks against female land and environmental defenders, Indigenous women accounted for 33%.

As shocking as these figures are, we know the actual reality is likely much worse. Attacks against Indigenous Peoples are still widely underreported and undercounted, as many data collectors do not explicitly report whether the attacked individual or group is Indigenous or not. It is also evident that more Indigenous defenders suffer lethal attacks given their role in defending their customary and ancestral resources and territories threatened by mining, logging, development projects that disregard their efforts to conserve the environment. Despite these attacks, Indigenous Peoples have relied on their self-governance and organized resistance and defense of their lands, resources and self-determination through building networks of solidarity and support. 

This side event will highlight the disproportionate human rights abuses Indigenous human rights defenders suffer and on means and ways on how to increase the visibility and actions needed to address this condition. We will also shine a spotlight on the strategies these communities have used to fight back against these attacks. We will make a number of recommendations to governments and the UN system, as well as on how to strengthen collaboration for documentation and reporting on indigenous human rights defenders towards increasing their protection and access to justice. 

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