During the 36-year-long Guatemalan civil war, indigenous women were systematically raped and enslaved by the military in a small community near the Sepur Zarco outpost. What happened to them then was not unique, but what happened next, changed history. From 2011 – 2016, 15 women survivors fought for justice at the highest court of Guatemala. The groundbreaking case resulted in the conviction of two former military officers of crimes against humanity and granted 18 reparation measures to the women survivors and their community.
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The city centre of Apia is festive today. The market stalls are laden with handmade mats, baskets and traditional jewellery made by women from rural Samoa; music and laughter lace the air. The two-day market is part of an event to showcase the results of a project that trained and empowered 5,170 nofotane women in the course of the last two years, funded by UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality.
Indigenous women are custodians of their communities' traditions and natural resources, but they are also among the world's most vulnerable and marginalized peoples. On August 9, International Day of Indigenous Peoples, learn more about the challenges indigenous women face, and how they play key roles in their communities and countries, and contribute to peace building and sustainable environmental practices.
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN Women, strongly condemns the murder on 3 March of indigenous leader, environmentalist and defender of human rights, Berta Cáceres, who was shot in her home in the city of La Esperanza in western Honduras.
On 26 February, a Guatemalan court convicted two former military officers of crimes against humanity against 11 indigenous Q'eqchi' women who were subjected to sexual violence, sexual and domestic slavery, the forced disappearance of their husbands, as well as the murder and cruel treatment of a woman and her two small daughters.