Preventing violence against indigenous women in detention

Monday, March 21, 2022

The APT has made a series of recommendations to counter the heightened risk of vulnerability experienced by indigenous women in the criminal justice system and when deprived of liberty.

The recommendations were presented in a submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and contribute to a report that will be prepared for the 50th session of the Human Rights Council.

The APT’s submission analysed the root causes of harmful impacts of indigenous women and girls deprived of liberty and the structural factors that contribute to their over-representation in the criminal justice system.

It noted that indigenous women deprived of liberty face “integrated oppressive structures of discrimination that expose them to severe risks of torture and other ill-treatment”, including solitary confinement, humiliating body searches, precarious conditions within detention, and sexual and gender-based violence.

Deprivation of liberty also has an acute impact on indigenous women “as it distances them from their communities, ancestral lands, customs and ways of life”.

To address these patterns of violence and discrimination against indigenous women, the APT proposed recommendations addressed to States on:

  • Preventing violence in places of deprivation of liberty by reforming relevant laws, regulations and policies
  • Providing training for judges, public defenders, prosecutors, police officers and other law enforcement officials
  • Strengthening access to justice from the first moments of detention and throughout all subsequent stages of the criminal justice system
  • Improving conditions of detention, by recognising the experiences and perspectives of indigenous women
  • Promoting the use of non-custodial measures, in line with theUN Bangkok Rules
  • Establishing or maintaining independent detention monitoring to ensure the full range of indigenous women’s needs are guaranteed in practice.

The full submission – Violence against indigenous women deprived of liberty and in contact with law enforcement officials – is available on the APT website.

Staff members