In the framework of the International Day of Indigenous Women (5 September) we celebrated the second meeting of indigenous women in Paraguay under the theme "Opening Paths: Towards a Response to Violence against Indigenous Women"
Women representatives from various ethnic groups and communities in the western region of Paraguay met for two days in Filadelfia, Chaco (Paraguay) to discuss the various forms of violence they face in their homes, communities and society, with a clear objective: to develop proposals for the design of public policies to address violence.
The discussion has addressed the challenges they identify and the conclusions of this debate will be integrated into the work already carried out since the first meeting held in November last year, systematising initial proposals for dialogue with the state: an essential step in the construction of a comprehensive and effective response to gender-based violence against indigenous women.
This initiative, organised in collaboration between the European Union Cooperation Programme in Support of Sustainable Development in Paraguay, led by the FIIAPP, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), has counted with the participation of local experts in human and indigenous rights. At the opening ceremony, Sonia Samudio, Secretary for Women of the Governorate of Boquerón, expressed her commitment to collaborate in the eradication of violence against indigenous women. Also present were Patricia Aguilar, HIV Advisor at UNFPA; and Pilar del Barrio, Coordinator of the European Union’s Cooperation Programme to Support Sustainable Development in Paraguay, who stressed that “we must build public policy from the advocacy of women and based on their own reality. For real attention to be paid to indigenous women, it is important to understand that the problem transcends community leaders and requires good coordination between them and the public authorities“.
The dynamics of the meeting were based on a participatory methodology that explored definitions, community mechanisms and available public care services. The participants jointly analysed how they make use of these services and the challenges they face when using them.
In addition, during the working groups, several crucial concepts related to violence against indigenous women were defined in order to understand the elements that make up the problem.