17 April, 2021

Congressional candidates pledge to legislate in order to guarantee indigenous women’s rights

Promoting indigenous women’s social, economic, and political inclusion will be a priority on the legislative agendas of four congressional candidates in the April 11 elections.

Foto: Bruno Takahashi / CHIRAPAQ.

In a document signed at the beginning of April, congressional candidates from the political parties Juntos por el Perú, Victoria Nacional, Partido Morado, and Perú Libre committed themselves to legislate in order to reduce the different exclusions faced by indigenous women. This commitment was made in the framework of a political forum organized by the National Jury of Elections, the indigenous association CHIRAPAQ, and the National Organization of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru (ONAMIAP).

One of the promises made by the candidates for the Lima region, Isabel Cortez Aguirre (Juntos por el Perú), Marie Ayasta Galindo (Victoria Nacional), Susana Chávez Alvarado (Partido Morado), and the candidate for the Junín region, Saturnina Soriano Mallaupoma (Perú Libre), is to support the approval of bills that guarantee a more balanced presence of indigenous men and women in decision-making spaces at a national level.

Isabel Cortez Aguirre, the 20th candidate on the Juntos por el Perú list, said that “we must educate men in these fields and raise their awareness of equality.” On her legislative agenda, she stated that she will promote a bill for “the respect and distribution of property in equal terms”, referring to couples living together or united in a civil marriage.

Meanwhile, Marie Ayasta, the 2nd candidate from Victoria Nacional, noted that she will promote, through Congress, the creation of a differential quota for indigenous women in elections to district, provincial, and regional public office. Her party’s commitment, she noted, is that the voice of indigenous women be heard and “taken into account in all decisions of the country.”

For her part, Susana Chávez Alvarado, the 15th candidate of Partido Morado, stated that her party will ensure that the gender perspective is implemented across the productive activities and programs of regional governments where territorial policy is discussed. “It’s critical to count with indicators that show how women are being incorporated and visible in this development,” she explained.

The congressional candidates pledged to adopt, as a legislative priority, a bill for strengthening the indigenous justice system geared towards the elimination of violence against indigenous women.

The signed declaration also insists on the need to propose legislation for the creation of indigenous electoral districts with gender-alternating postings, and mechanisms to ensure indigenous political participation and representation at a national level.

The participating indigenous organizations pledged to bring these demands to the attention of the government representatives who are elected in the elections this Sunday.

The forum was moderated from Argentina by the Mapuche leader, Veronica Huilipan, who was appointed last year as coordinator of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for Addressing Gender-Based Violence against Members of Indigenous Peoples. She stated that this is a historic moment that shows the need to “create public policies that guarantee the inclusion of indigenous women.”

Melania Canales Poma, president of the National Organization of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru (ONAMIAP), Delfina Catip Tawan, coordinator of the Women’s Program of the Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest (AIDESEP), and Nelly Pauccar Meza, representing the National Agrarian Confederation (CNA) participated in the formulation of the questions.

This electoral prelude was also accompanied by Tarcila Rivera Zea, indigenous activist and president of CHIRAPAQ, Ketty Marcelo López, Asháninka leader, and Milagros Suito Acuña, National Director of Education and Civic Citizen Training of the National Jury of Elections.

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