Initiative for a CEDAW General Recommendation on Indigenous Women


The Women’s Human Rights Education Institute is very pleased to play a supportive role to the “Alianza de Mujeres Indígenas para la CEDAW” (the Indigenous Women’s Alliance for CEDAW), and subsequently to Colectiva IxPop and other partner organizations, in their global campaign to call on the CEDAW Committee to adopt a new General Recommendation on Indigenous Women that will help to:

  • further visibilize the intersectional discrimination experienced by indigenous women around the world
  • broaden and expand the understanding of women’s human rights at the international level
  • support more effective mechanisms for holding states accountable for ongoing colonial and racist violence against indigenous women.
How Can You Get Involved?
  1. Please sign and share our global petition on Avaaz in support of the General Recommendation:
  2. Read the draft recommendations created by the Indigenous Women’s Alliance for CEDAW (download below) to be submitted to the CEDAW Committee and:
  3. Write a letter of support to be submitted to the CEDAW Committee, signed by your organization or coalition of organizations
  4. Send your comments and feedback to the Alliance for incorporation into the document
  5. Share this initiative with your networks

Letters of support, questions and/or feedback on the draft General Recommendation and its presentation to the CEDAW Committee can be sent to:

Download the document here:

1429058136_pdf  Suggested CEDAW General Recommendation on Indigenous Women


What is a General Recommendation to CEDAW, and why is it important?

CEDAW General Recommendations are important extensions to the text of the CEDAW Convention that explain to governments the scope of their obligations in regard to the implementation of women’s human rights.  The adoption of a General Recommendation on the specificity of indigenous women’s experiences, and the obligations of the State in relation to the intersectional discrimination experienced by indigenous women, would expand the understanding of indigenous women’s rights within the UN system and open new spaces for activism using women’s human rights.  They need the support of many Indigenous women’s organizations and networks, as well as ally organizations, worldwide to make this happen.

Letter from the Indigenous Women’s Alliance for CEDAW:

Dear friends,

Warm greetings to you all. May the energies of the universe fill you with strength and optimism as you work to make this world a better place, characterized by equality and harmony between men and women and all the beings with which we live in relationship.

The purpose of this letter is to request your support and participation in order to step forward together in affirming and exercising our specific rights as indigenous women in this region and other regions of the world.

As you know, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is the first and most important instrument of the United Nations that holds states responsible for acts of violence against women, whether those acts are perpetrated by the State or by private persons. We also know that indigenous women in all parts of the world face conditions and situations that intensify the violence that we experience as women and that our demands as indigenous women relative to our specific rights are often invisibilized.

Faced with this situation, a group of organizations joined forces to develop a document that reflects our concerns and claims regarding our individual and collective rights as indigenous women. At the end of 2013, with the input of organizations from Guatemala and the participation of organizations from Colombia, Panama, Canada, Nepal and Mexico, we produced the document attached to this letter.

It is our intention to place this document before the CEDAW Committee with the goal of convincing the Committee to issue a specific General Recommendation on indigenous women, based on the proposals contained in this document.

Those of us who have joined together from different countries and regions in this initiative ask for your support in persuading the members of the CEDAW Committee to issue recommendations to States that take into account the situation and condition of indigenous women and to monitor advances that are gradually made in our countries.

To this end, we have set up an e-mail account: to which we request that you send a message of support, share any questions or thoughts you may have about the document or any contributions you wish to make. Documents in English can also be sent to

Once we have backing for the document from as many organizations as possible, we will be sending it to the CEDAW Committee along with the names of all the supporting organizations. We will keep you informed of any and all advances made.

We end this letter with a heartfelt embrace in hopes that this initiative will acquaint us with the efforts being developed by other indigenous women’s organizations and groups in different regions.

From the convening organizations with leadership and support of the Tzununijá Indigenous Women’s Movement, Tik Na’oj, Maya Association Uk’ ux B’e, Sinergia No´j, Coordinación y convergencia Nacional Maya Waqib’ Kej, Community Studies and Psychosocial Action Team (ECAP), JASS (Just Associates) and the Women’s Human Rights Education Institute (WHRI) along with the consultation of multiple organizations.