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INDIGENOUS WOMEN OF THE AMERICAS EN ROUTE TO CAIRO +20 First Meeting of the Regional Conference on the Population and Development

of Latin America and the Caribbean
Montevideo, 12 to 15 August 2013
“On considering the needs of indigenous people with regard to population and development, states should acknowledge and support their identity, culture and interests and enable them to participate fully in the economic, political and social life of the country, particularly in the matters of their health, education and wellbeing”
Principle 14 – Programme of Action of the ICPD, 1994

The member organizations of the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas - ECMIA, with the First Meeting of the Regional Conference on the Population and Development of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Cairo +20 process in mind, make the following statement with the idea of contributing to a Post-2015 Agenda that guarantees the full exercise of the human rights and the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples.
1. Since the adoption of the Cairo 94 Programme of Action, the states in our region have tried to comply with what is set out in Principle 14; bases for action 6.21, 6.22, 6.23, with its objectives 6.24 and measures 6.25, 6.26 and 6.27; Chapter IX on the distribution of population, urbanization and internal migration, at sub-chapter A, number 9.9; and sub-chapter B in its section 8.12 on children's survival and health; and Chapter XIII on health, morbidity and mortality in its section 8.5. After twenty years, it should be pointed out that efforts have been insufficient to meet the commitments. 2. Similarly, the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples, the ILO Convention 169, the two Decades of Indigenous Peoples, and the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, created by the UNO, have generated international duties and commitments within states for advances in the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples, strengthened and evidenced with specific recommendations during the past 12 years of sessions of the Permanent Forum. 3. We indigenous peoples and women view health in all its dimensions: physical, spiritual, in our surroundings, and in our feelings. From the viewpoint of indigenous peoples and women, priority aspects in the recognition of rights are related to the search for guaranteed access to physical, spiritual and mental health. This should take into account the surroundings where it can be developed, where government can take place and where a decent life for present and future generations can be fully guaranteed. This would be achieved through the right to free, prior and informed consent on all aspects related to our lives and to that of Mother Nature, the

Pachamama. This implies the right to territory, as a collective right and safeguard for biodiversity, life and health; it is a priority and unavoidable necessity, and an expression of the enjoyment of collective and individual rights. 4. We welcome the advances made with the implementation of health policies where men, women, youth, children and elderly people benefit from services which are friendly, receptive, and respectful - and of high quality with professionals who understand and respect differences, offering decent, human treatment. It is therefore necessary to elaborate on these policies, making them more than institutional experiments and practices and giving them sustainability. 5. An intercultural health system aware of the needs of indigenous women, children, youth and elderly people is still pending on the agenda. Furthermore, this needs to take into consideration the skills and contributions of the indigenous physicians and their knowledge, harmonizing the biomedical systems with indigenous medical systems. 6. Progress made with the reduction of maternal mortality is much slower among indigenous women, youth and adolescents in the more remote areas of our countries. Political will should therefore manifest itself not only through legislation and regulations, but also by earmarking funds specifically for the development and training of health professionals, infrastructure, equipment and fitting out places where medical attention is provided, together with appropriate medicines that the patients can afford. 7. We, the indigenous women and youth from member organizations of ECMIA have made efforts to participate in the Post Cairo process. Overcoming barriers, prejudice, racism, historical and structural discrimination, both inside and outside our own culture and society, in alliance with the UNFPA we have contributed to the reduction of maternal mortality in the communities, eliminating the fear of 'the gentleman at the medical post' and cold, dehumanized medical practices. Similarly, with the CEPAL we have learned to understand the importance of indicators, percentages and statistics and their usefulness as a tool for our advocacy. At seminars, we indigenous people and health workers have got together to build the concepts of intercultural health, sharing the progress made in Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia , Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Panama and Chile. Therefore, carrying out actions that involve the exercise of our right to participate in the design of policies and programmes, and performing citizen surveillance, will guarantee greater and better results. 8. We indigenous women have been able to promote processes of articulation, training, and information in response to the recommendations made at our Fourth Continental Meeting (Lima, April 2004). This is a reaction to the high rate of adolescent pregnancies, which have been identified as an important barrier to the educational and personal development of adolescents. There remains the task of strengthening this process and supporting actions that have multiplier effects in order to reduce considerably the incidence of pregnancy and abandonment of school study. 9. Different types of violence, feminicide, poverty, poor education, unemployment and the non-participation in politics of indigenous women are not visible in the statistics or studies. The lack of disaggregated data about the affected indigenous girls, youth and women impedes the design of specific policies to eradicate and overcome the problem.

Contributions for the Post 2015 Agenda
 We urge all states in our region to reaffirm their commitment to the agreements of the Cairo 94 Programme of Action, with the firm decision to overcome the existing gaps in the different aspects, levels and actors in our societies. The formulation and implementation of policies for indigenous peoples, women, youth and elderly people should involve our participation in all aspects, including monitoring and surveillance. Human rights should be considered, especially those of indigenous women, in all countries' development policies and programmes, including an increase in budgets to facilitate empowerment actions that enable indigenous women to enjoy full autonomy and not to be the objects of infringements of our rights. States have the duty to protect and guarantee the highest level of intercultural health where the sexual and reproductive rights and the maternal health of indigenous women are considered to be fundamental aspects of their right to health. Respect for the rights of women, youth, children and adults of indigenous peoples regarding land and territory, food sovereignty, free, prior and informed consent and all those things that affect their lives, including their sexual and reproductive rights. States must comply definitively with the compilation and analysis of disaggregated quantitative and qualitative data from the national census and statistics programmes, taking into account the specificities of indigenous peoples and women, and respecting agreements, treaties, conventions, and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, putting into practice concrete actions for their fulfilment. Traditional handed-down knowledge should be acknowledged in health systems, respecting the worldview of the indigenous peoples and without discriminating against the input of wise men and women that contributes in large measure to improving the quality of life of indigenous women. Owing to the vulnerable situation in which indigenous girls find themselves, the states, through use of their respective mechanisms, should implement diagnoses, studies, and the appropriate legislation to dissuade and punish those responsible in frontier zones for the trafficking of indigenous children and youth for their sexual exploitation and the production of forced pregnancies for adoptions.  We indigenous women are worried by the high incidence of HIV-AIDS in the communities; these ailments are known as the 'new diseases' introduced by the return of migrant working men and by foreign workers in frontier zones, timbertrafficking concerns, and mining and petroleum-extraction companies. These people are frequently unaware of being carriers of these diseases, and we ask for

special attention to diagnoses and specific proposals for the prevention and treatment of these sicknesses.  Education, training and information on sexual and reproductive health for adolescents of both genders in the communities and schools is indispensable for the prevention of adolescent pregnancies and the proliferation of STD and HIVAIDS. Likewise, it is necessary to promote preventive spaces for comprehensive development in the poor urban areas where migrant indigenous people find accommodation. The internal migration of indigenous men, women and youth resulting from expulsion from their own territories as a result of invasions, exploitation of hydrocarbons, deforestation or depredation of the living space, is creating groups of beggars within a hostile urban environment. It is therefore indispensable for states to pay attention and respond to this new situation of indigenous migrants. We recommend the states of Latin America and the Caribbean to examine again and comply with the contents of the Declaration of Ministers of Health of 30 June, 2011. We indigenous women of the Americas express our consternation to the states regarding the use of indigenous children as 'guinea pigs' and recommend that the bodies of indigenous children and women must not be used to test the effectiveness of any kind of medication or treatment. No democratic state which respects Human Rights can permit these actions, which are damaging to our humanity.

Lastly, in an effort to build alliances as part of the social movement, we give our support to the Declaration of the Articulation of Civil Society Cairo +20, the Declaration of Youth Alliances, the Declaration of the Network of Afro-LatinAmerican, Afro-Caribbean and Diaspora Women, and we accompany and support the Declaration of Latin American Indigenous Youth.

Montevideo, 12 August, 2013.