On Thursday, September 9, a meeting prior to the Second Encounter of Women of the Earth. Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa was held. The activity will be carried International Center for the Promotion of Human Rights – UNESCO will be carried out in October of this year.

The series of meetings has the purpose of gathering experiences and protagonists in the access, promotion and defense of rural women’s rights in the three regions. On this occasion, gathered in audiovisual form through an electronic platform, rural women from Peru participated, exposing the different problems they face as women and as rural and / or indigenous communities in their country.

The Director of CIPDH-UNESCO, Fernanda Gil Lozano, opened the activity, thanked the participants for their presence and revealed her conviction in the need for rural women to be heard. “We women have a lot to say in saving the world,” said Gil Lozano, who also expressed her security in the “virtuous exchange” that will take place at this meeting of women from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.

Next, Elena Hanono, Pía Berdiñas and Magdalena Aquino, members of the CIPDH-UNESCO work team, thanked the presence of Ana María Riveiro, Argentine lawyer and member of the Cooperativa Colonizadora de la Federación Agraria Argentina, and Antonia Chávez, teacher and Mexican researcher, Counselor of “ObservaLAtrata”, who had been part of the First Encounter. Also to Giovana Bendezú, belonging to the Warmis sin Fronteras collective, who facilitated contacts with each of the participants at the table.

Then, each of the participants related the experiences, problems and work developed in their territories and communities. María Elena Carbajal, from the Association of Peruvian Women Affected by Forced Sterilizations (AMPAEF), began narrating the dramatic situation suffered from hundreds of thousands of women who were sterilized against their will; the physical, social and psychological consequences victims are currently suffering, the fight against the political and judicial powers so that it is recognized as a crime, the causes and the harsh reality due to the difficult access to health that is experienced in their communities, a situation that today aggravates the pandemic. Lourdes Huanca Atencio, from the National Federation of Peasant, Artisan, Indigenous, Native and Salaried Women of Peru (FENMUCARINAP), detailed the work developed by this organization, which brings together 160,000 members from all over Peru and collects the demands of rural and urban women, native and indigenous, wage earners and artisans. Huanca Atencio expressed that the work of her organization is based on two pillars: the sovereignty of the woman’s body and the defense of the territory, its water, the land, the seed and food sovereignty.

Later, Karin Anchelia, from Grupo Impulsor Contra el Racismo, addressed the work faced by this group of professionals against discrimination and racism, in the fight against “a problem that comes from colonial times and that has not yet been eradicated”. Anchelia said that she worked with many and diverse communities in a context in which the public policies that Peru carried out on the subject were not effective and with a recent electoral scenario in which “the existing discrimination and racism were very clear.” Later, Elvira Jurado, Active Community Member of the San Antonio de Rancas Community, recounted the fight they face to defend the rights of communities and populations against the advance of mining companies. Currently, the organization also denounces the worsening of the education situation in many communities, due to circulation restrictions caused by the pandemic and the lack of internet access.

Ángela Chislla, a leader in Ayaviri (department of Puno), explained the problems faced by her town, located in high-altitude mountain areas, due to the contamination of the water carried out by the mining companies that operate near Lake Titicaca. “Mining has only left us desolate. Animals, water, and food are contaminated. These companies prey on natural resources and do not pay taxes” said Chislla, who also denounced the sterilization of many women and the permanent discrimination they suffer in the political, electoral and labor matters. Next, Ali Reyes, from Warmis sin Fronteras, mentioned the work they carry out in the organization, a space for Peruvian migrants in Europe and Latin America that promote integration with indigenous communities.

Rosilda Nunta Guimaraes, from the Inter-ethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Jungle (AIDESEP), provided details of the work carried out by the organization as spokespersons for the indigenous peoples of the Peruvian Amazon,  working for the defense and respect of their collective rights. She expressed that there are 112 Amazonian organizations in resistance with their own agendas, and that they want to lead to transform them into public policies. Food sovereignty, the depreciation of resources, violence against women and children, intercultural educational policy and discrimination are its most pressing problems today.

Finally, Lourdes Huanca Atencio invited rural women from Argentina to the 2nd Abya Yala International Women’s Summit to be held in Lima in October, a summit organized by the National Federation of Peasant, Artisan, Indigenous, Native and Salaried Women of Peru (Fenmucarinap) along with seven other indigenous organizations in the region, and which will bring together a thousand indigenous leaders from all over Peru and Latin America.

At the end of the day, the members of the CIPDH-UNESCO work team expressed their satisfaction for the exchange and the conviction of being able to continue with this line of work. This meeting, recorded with the permission of the participants, will form part of the Women of the Earth platform, a space in which the CIPDH-UNESCO will gather experiences and protagonists in the access, promotion and defense of the rights of rural women from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa.