My Body, My Rights: Indigenous women seek end to patriarchy

Lima, Oct 18 (EFE).- Hundreds of women from the indigenous Latin American communities Monday urged regional governments to promote public policies that guarantee their right to decide on their bodies and fight to eradicate patriarchy and violence against them.

“We are not viewed as human beings, they consider us a sexual object. Neither the government, nor the Church, nor civil society have the right to decide for us about our bodies,” Lourdes Huanca, president of the National Federation of Peasant, Artisan, Indigenous and Paid Women of Peru (Fenmucarinap), told EFE.

It was one of the “strongest and most forceful” petitions in the declaration that they will present to the United Nations Permanent Forum.

The declaration includes the conclusions of the Second Summit of Indigenous Women of Abya Yala, which brought together about 650 women from the indigenous communities of over ten countries in the region for five days in Lima.

The document asked the regional government to prioritize the fight against the sexual, physical, and psychological violence on indigenous women and patriarchy that “kills and rapes” them.

“Many times it is said that it is ‘customary’ within indigenous communities that the father, uncle, brother or nephew rape girls. This is a violation of rights,” Huanca told EFE.

She said the participants of the summit pledged to demand that their respective states implement therapeutic abortion.

They also called for “permanent and constant food sovereignty for all indigenous peoples” to be guaranteed and for their traditional medicines to be “respected and valued.”

The participants urged the Peruvian government to consider indigenous and rural women in the second agrarian reform that President Pedro Castillo launched on Oct.3.

“It must be a reform that seeks de-patriarchalization. Reform without women is not an agrarian reform,” the document says.

They also called for a new constitution in Peru that recognizes their “identity, ancestral wisdom, cultures and rights, especially of women and young people.”

“We have learned from and are inspired by the constituent processes in Chile and Bolivia. The constitution must be the first step for Peru to finally overcome its historical debt to the indigenous communities.”

The second summit of Indigenous Women of Abya Yala kicked off in Lima on Oct.14.

Around 500 indigenous women from all over Peru and another 145 from more than 10 Latin American countries took part in the event.

The first Abya Yala summit was held in Bolivia in May last year.

A defense committee was set up at that summit to prevent violence and femicide against women.

The organizing associations said the idea was to hold two events annually.

Guatemala and Mexico could be the respective venues for the summits in March and October next year. EFE


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