hap·py adj \ˈha-pē\
fuck columbus, fuck your holiday
For many Americans and Europeans, Columbus’s legacy is a benign one of ”discovery” and progress, celebrated by holidays, parades and white sales. For others throughout the world, his legacy is colonialism, slavery and the destruction of people and cultures.
Indigenous women targets in Mexican drug war
Men in Mexican military camps are forcing indigenous women into prostitution, according to a report emanating from the most recent session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which was held July 9-27 at the U.N.’s New York headquarters.
“The military strategy seeks to demoralize and debilitate indigenous peoples, as a means of terror and destruction of their ethnic territorial composition, and sexual violation should be recognized as a weapon of war,” said a report submitted to the U.N. committee and announced July 17. The report cites cases dating from the present back to 2006, including 13 women raped by 20 soldiers in an incident during election campaigns in the U.S. border state of Coahuila.
Entitled “Indigenous Women in Mexico: For a Change of Paradigm,” the report was presented by the Central American and Mexican Indigenous Women’s Alliance. It is one of 18 independent reports submitted on the occasion of the Mexican government’s periodic performance review by CEDAW. Indigenous representatives from the southern Mexican states of Oaxaca and Guerrero asserted in a written statement that the “goal of the military occupations in their states and against indigenous women is to neutralize indigenous opposition to confiscation of land and territory.”
The National Information Data Bank of Information about Cases of Violence Against Women, made up of statistics from all 32 Mexican states, registers 39,000 girls, adolescents and women who are victims of physical, psychological, economic, patrimonial and sexual violations, including feminicide, which has been typified as a distinct kind of homicide in Mexico, Gaytan noted. Fifteen states recognize feminicide as a specific crime, and it would become officially recognized at the federal level if all of them do. The data bank contains the descriptions of 54,000 aggressors, which are being used to emit protection orders.
“Please provide detailed information on measures in place to protect indigenous women from violence and displacement in the context of the military operations against drug trafficking,” CEDAW appealed. Mexico receives $15 billion a year ($500 per second) in military assistance from the United States for fighting drug trafficking under the Merida Initiative.
Mexico responded: “In 2006 the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples implemented the project for care of displaced indigenous persons (PAID) with a view to combining the efforts of federal, state and municipal bodies to assist the relocation or return home of indigenous persons displaced by acts of violence, armed conflicts, human rights violations or religious, political, cultural or ethnic intolerance, with full respect for their cultural diversity. The program provides support for the acquisition of farmland and urban building lots, including the costs of ownership registration as well as materials for housing construction and inputs for productive activities. In 2011, a total of 1,048 heads of family received support, 26.11 percent of them women.”
The Central American and Mexican Indigenous Women’s Alliance said Mexico’s responses were too vague. The group requested the U.N. committee conduct an inquiry into military violence against indigenous women and called for adoption of specific protection measures.
In addition, group members demanded that the government stop calling them vulnerable and marginalized. Instead, they said, they want to be reincorporated into the national economy through natural-resource protection and management as well as through agricultural production for food security.
While welcoming the establishment of Mexico’s National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples, the committee said it “is concerned about the higher levels of poverty and illiteracy and multiple forms of discrimination experienced by indigenous and rural women. The committee is concerned about the large disparities between them and women in urban areas and from non-indigenous groups in access to basic social services,” it added. The committee also questioned Mexico about the lack of gender-specific policies to counteract violence against not only indigenous women, but also against human rights defenders and journalists.
CEDAW recognized the murders of 11 female human rights activists during the past 12 years and 13 female journalists since 2005. It also logged 100 other cases of violence against female journalists on the job. “The committee remains concerned about the pervasiveness of patriarchal attitudes, which impede the enjoyment by women of their human rights and constitute a root cause of violence against women,” it said. It expressed “concern about the general environment of discrimination and insecurity that prevails in communities; workplaces, including (foreign-owned) factories; and territories with a military presence, such as the northern and southern border areas, which might put women at constant risk of becoming victims of violence, abuse and sexual harassment.”
In the past, the committee has urged Mexico “to ensure that all poverty eradication policies and programs explicitly address the structural nature and various dimensions of poverty and discrimination that indigenous and rural women face.” It has recommended that Mexico use temporary special measures to address the disparities that indigenous and rural women face with regard to access to basic social services, including education and health, and participation in decision-making processes.
Statistics from the justice department show around 14,000 preliminary inquiries every year concerning the crime of rape in Mexico. For the crime of rape of a minor, authorities receive some 2,500 preliminary inquiries each year. For other sexual crimes, around 16,000 preliminary inquiries are opened each year. Statistics show about 4,500 individuals standing trial in each year for the crime of rape, and slightly over 3,500 receiving convictions for that crime each year.
Committee expert Soledad Murillo expressed impatience with the data. “You can’t have 16,000 violations and 3 percent conviction,” she said. “The data doesn’t make sense to us.”
Hastiin: An Indian Manifesto
How dead is your Indian,
when she wants to slip out of her skin
like the pink shirt she wore last night?
How dead is your
when two Navajo women dig for change
in a leather purse to buy a four-rack
and some fifths
And when Hopi men start to feed their half-Hidatsa
to the dogs…