Native American women are victims of discrimination and “disproportionately high” rates of gender-based violence, according to the US government, which together with Canada and Mexico issued a joint statement on the subject.
In it documentpublished by the US Department of State, the three North American countries reaffirmed their commitment to eliminate all forms of discrimination and gender-based violence perpetrated against indigenous women and girls in various communities.
According to the US National Institute of Justice, 84% of Native American women in the country have experienced physical, sexual, or psychological violence in their lifetime, “often at the hands of non-Native perpetrators.”
Both the United States and the rest of the countries in the region recognize that violence against indigenous women “is perpetuated by discrimination and racism,” which includes “murder, sexual assault, and trafficking.”
The three countries, which make up a Trilateral Working Group – first established at the North American Leaders’ Summit in June 2016 – participated in the XXI United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which was held from April 25 to May 6, 2022.
In the resolution of the meeting everyone agrees that crimes against indigenous women are not addressed with rapid or effective actions. They also recognize the lack of processes in indigenous languages by government institutions to investigate and resolve these cases.
USA reinforces legislation
The US has already been taking steps on this issue. President Joe Biden recently signed the update to the Law on Violence against Women (VAWA), which commits $86 million to tribal justice programs, giving the law its force.
The goal of the rule, according to the president, is to expand protections for indigenous women and address the number of crimes committed against them by people outside their communities.
The Department of Justice, which tracks violent crime in Native communities, has revealed that they experience some of the highest rates of violence against Native women and that most of those crimes are committed by non-Natives.
One of the states with the most problems on this issue is Alaska, where there is “an ongoing crisis of violence,” according to Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski.
Murkowski recently explained that “more than half of the women in the 2020 Alaska Women’s Victims Survey have experienced intimate partner violence, sexual violence, or both in their lifetime.”
VAWA was first passed in 1994. Since then, the law has been ratified four times since its passage.
Sarah Deer, a Native American attorney and tribal law expert who helped get the law reauthorized in 2013, said this new version is even better for Native communities.
“The 2022 reauthorization restores tribal criminal jurisdiction over non-Indigenous people for a series of crimes that Native peoples and tribal nations have been calling for since 1978,” Deer published in a series of articles on his web.
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