|Breaking out of Marginalisation
The majority of rural and indigenous women as farmers, farm workers, fishers, herders and settlers in the global south are among the poorest and most marginalised in society. They are most vulnerable to the various effects and impact of investments of transnational corporations (TNCs) and Official Development Aid (ODA) projects aggressively imposed on their land.
Rural and indigenous women are also facing enormous threats and damage to their lives and rights as a consequence of climate change. They are being affected more severely and are more at risk during all phases of natural disasters and extreme weather events including post-disaster reconstruction or rehabilitation. Measures taken to mitigate climate change, like construction of mega hydro-electric power dams and large-scale plantations for bio-fuel, have in fact caused destruction of forest and forced eviction, displacement and landlessness of hundreds of thousands of rural and indigenous women and their families.
Rural and indigenous women, who are displaced from their land or have lost their livelihood and with no specific skills to cope with pressing economic needs of her family, are more likely to end up in low paid, unregulated work and are specially at risk of being trafficked.
Within the migrant population, the women domestic workers are more marginalised in terms of payment, working hours and benefits than their male counterparts. Across Asia Pacific, domestic work is recognised as an extension of household chores and due to this invisibility of work, governments fail to extend to domestic workers the rights and benefits that they are entitled to.
The more visible and vocal the organisations of rural, indigenous and migrant (RIM) women are in demanding their rights and defending their ancestral or crop lands, the more they are targeted for harassment and violence by oppressive forces of governments and TNCs. The rights of rural, indigenous and migrant women must be recognised, protected and promoted. Human rights defenders among RIM women must be encouraged, supported and protected.
Women domestic workers have been organising themselves and raising their voices for recognition of their specific situation as well as their rights, such as, but not limited to, freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. As a consequence, the movement towards the recognition of domestic workers within the Decent Work Agenda in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is moving forward to setting international standards for domestic workers. The ILO Convention on the Rights of Domestic Workers has been proposed and will be tabled at the annual International Labour Conference (ILC) in 2010 and approved in 2011. This is an opportune time to support organisations of women domestic workers for recognition.
Capacity building through training
A training module on documentation of cases of human rights violations (HRV) perpetrated on RIM women will be developed based on standards set by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), CEDAW and other UN instruments. The module will be used in training grassroots activists and researchers coming from eight (8) countries in systematic and thorough data and information collection, gathering of support documents, documentation and reporting of HRV cases from a feminist viewpoint. Audio and video documentation will also be taught. With better skills, better quality of documentation and reporting will be achieved.
Training modules will be developed and will be ready for pilot testing in the next year. The one on women and globalization will be based on APWLD’s Globalisation and Women: A Discussion Guide for Trainers. The one on grassroots women and climate change will be a result of the research, Empowering Marginalised Women to Address Climate Change.
A primer will be produced on how national RIM women’s organisations can check on and follow up implementation by their governments of aid/development reforms being advocated by civil society, primarily the Global Facilitation Group on Aid Effectiveness (GFG on AE).
Documentation through fact-finding missions
Participant-documentors from the eight countries will help organize fact-finding missions in their respective areas of work in coordination with the local women’s and peasant or indigenous people’s organisations. They will choose the thematic focus of their documentation depending on their expertise and needs on the ground. The collected data will be processed for analysis to come up with a position paper on the issues related to the documented cases. The documented cases will be used for various purposes and submissions, e.g. in Court, to media, the United Nations special and complaints procedures, women’s or international tribunals, etc. A video documentary on RIM women will be produced.
Separate research will be conducted focusing on the impact of climate change on grassroots women and how they have coped so far. There is a dearth of information about women and climate change and it is time for APWLD to help fill in the gap especially since a number of its members and partners are from grassroots women’s organisations. Five (5) research areas from four (4) countries are targeted. Research results including case studies will be published. The climate change research will culminate in a women’s tribunal on climate change.
Advocacy through education and campaigns
To increase awareness on RIM women’s issues among the wider public, the documented cases will be disseminated in various media and shared with various women’s and human rights networks. A campaign of information dissemination and women’s actions will further call attention to the continuing and new forms of human rights violations suffered by RIM women, especially the human rights defenders among them. The video documentary on RIM women will be extensively shown.
A women’s caravan on climate change will be held in at least five countries in South and Southeast Asia. It is modelled on after the People’s Caravan on Food Sovereignty in 2004 but on a smaller scale. Women’s meetings, where grassroots men will also be invited, will be held at selected stop-overs to discuss climate change and women. An education module on grassroots women and climate change will be developed based on the research results.
There will be national consultations of domestic worker associations in at least five countries. The domestic workers will go over the June 2010 draft of the Convention on the Rights of Domestic Workers and raise points that they want included in the final version to be ratified in June 2011.
There will also be an information campaign on the Convention. Aside from the salient points in the convention, its positive and negative provisions and over-all weakness and strength will also be discussed. The campaign will be used as a vehicle for human rights education of domestic workers.
Grassroots Women’s Special Events
An Asian RIM Women’s Conference will be the culmination of the three-year Breaking Out of Marginalisation programme. It is planned for September tentatively in South Korea where APWLD has not had any activity and where links with RIM women have to be expanded and strengthened. Special invitation to organisations of local Korean women farmers and fishers and migrant workers in Korea will be issued.
The documented cases will be used to make concrete the analysis and demands contained in the lobby documents which will be presented and submitted to relevant human rights mechanisms and other policy-making or standard-setting international institutions such as the ASEAN, ILO, UNFCCC and the UN special procedures. Selected cases will be filed through relevant UN complaints procedures.
Special lobby activities will be undertaken with the ILO to push for the inclusion of domestic workers’ recognition and rights in the text of the ILO Convention on the Rights of Domestic Workers. Domestic workers themselves will be in the APWLD lobby team.
APWLD will link up with international semi-government agencies and civil society organisations and networks to get their support and participation in its lobbying efforts.
WOMEN IN POWER | BREAKING OUT OF MARGINALISATION | FEMINIST LAW AND PRACTICE | GROUNDING THE GLOBAL
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