UNPFII: UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Topic A: Violence Against Indigenous Women

When it comes to forms of abuse and violence, indigenous women are commonly targeted at a higher rate than their non-indigenous counterparts. In the United States alone, they face murder rates that are ten times the national average. Worse still, according to a US Department of Justice survey, out of the 56% of Native American and Alaskan women who have experienced sexual violence, 90% of them state that they were harassed by a non-indigenous person. These problems exist around the world, although in many countries, there is inadequate or simply non-existent reporting from governments on the matter. Most tribal courts lack the jurisdiction to prosecute non-tribal members, which allows non-indigenous individuals to continue this cycle of abuse against indigenous women without proper repercussions. While some governments have taken action on these issues, such as Canada’s national inquiry into the motives behind the disappearances and murders of their indigenous women, many governments simply ignore the plight of these women. Delegates in this committee must be ready to tackle these issues in the face of the relative inattention from governments to bring safety to indigenous women around the world.

Topic B: Dispossession of Indigenous Communities

Around the world, more than 370 million indigenous people have been dispossessed of their ancestral lands, which have a significant influence on their community’s spiritual and cultural identity. Dispossession is a non-consensual act that involves depriving someone of property, land, or possessions. These actions have undermined and discriminated against indigenous land and resource management systems, expropriated their lands, extracted their resources without approval, and led to the displacement of many communities. Very few countries have given recognition to or upheld indigenous communities’ rights to their lands, resources, and territories. The lack of enforcement of laws as well as contradictory laws frequently result in a de facto denial of the rights of indigenous communities. Without action from the UNPFII on these issues, indigenous communities will continue to face land dispossession and human rights abuses.

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