We are 29 women who have gathered on 8-14 September
2003 in Chiang Mai, Thailand in a Workshop on Asian
Indigenous/Dalit/Aboriginal Women Overcoming Violence
organised by the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA)
and the World Council of Churches (WCC), hosted by the
Women's Department of the Church of Christ in Thailand,
and sponsored by the Fellowship of the Least Coin, the
World Day of Prayer-German Committee and the United
Church of Christ in Canada.
We are from indigenous communities in Asia and the
Pacific - Aborigine, Bunun, Dalit, Ibanag, Igorot, Kachin,
Karen, Lahu, Lawa, Naga, Orang Asli, Papuan, Rungus,
Shan, Tayal... We are students, teachers, professors,
social workers, pastors, presbyters, writers, researchers,
lawyers, directors of church programmes and institutions.
We have come not as individuals but as parts of communities
that seek and pursue the establishment of peace and
justice in the world.
We shared our stories and acknowledged the commonalities
in the struggles and pain, the hopes and aspirations
of our peoples, particularly of women who continue to
suffer from various forms of violence on account of
their being women.
- Domestic violence - whether verbal, physical, emotional
and psychological - is pervasive. In their homes where
they are supposed to be safe, young women suffer molestation
by family members, relatives and friends.
- Outside their homes, women do not feel safe, as
rape is a constant threat.
- Particularly in controlled or militarized areas,
the rape of women - regardless of age - is common.
We heard stories of Dalit women raped before their
families and other people in temples.
- Women in Indigenous, Dalit, and Aboriginal communities
are denied fundamental rights including access to
basic needs, health care, sanitation facilities, and
opportunities to participate in decision-making processes
that affect every aspect of their life thus denying
them the dignity and pride to live as human beings
created in the image of God.
We declare that
- Throughout history, women have been excluded, marginalised,
discriminated against, displaced, dispossessed, isolated
and alienated by racism, sexism, casteism, and classism.
- Rape occurs mainly because of the prevalent view
that women are properties or are mere objects solely
for pleasure of and service to their husbands and
- Violence against women in not just a domestic concern.
Rather, it is a serious social issue and an urgent
human rights concern for many women living in constant
fear and insecurity over their lives and safety.
- Gender-based and other forms of violence are systematically
used to control, break down and suppress women.
- Indigenous/Dalit/Aboriginal women and children suffer
the most in situations of conflicts, atrocities and
For Theological Seminaries and Institutions to
- Strive towards the relevance of theological education
to the lives and situations of Indigenous, Dalit and
- Promote processes leading to the recovery of the
positive and liberating elements in indigenous cultures
- Veer away from predominantly male-based curricula
and organizational structures and to intentionally
include the experiences and perspectives of women
both in theological instruction and seminary praxis.
- Ensure a gender balance among faculty, staff and
students, which may require a re-examination of the
processes of recruitment and hiring.
- Give emphasis on Christian Education that will help
promote approaches and methodologies that are life-enhancing
For Church Women's Organisations and Movements to
- Provide spaces for women towards self-awareness
and self-discovery, which should lead to the empowerment
of women towards peace-building and conflict transformation.
- Facilitate community-building processes among women
for mutual support.
- Seek to network with other women's organisations
and groups based on a common vision of justice and
peace in the world.
- Organise consultations, conferences, encounters
and other learning opportunities for women on existing
forms of violence against Indigenous, Dalit and Aboriginal
- Document experiences and struggles of women against
all forms of violence.
- Promote the concerns, aspirations and struggles
of women especially in ways women overcome violence.
- Celebrate new knowledge, new discoveries, new commitments
in rituals and liturgy.
For the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) to
- Continue to provide spaces for churches in Asia
and the Pacific to share, reflect and analyse issues
and concerns surrounding women, particularly Indigenous,
Dalit and Aboriginal women who suffer from and resist
the varying expressions and manifestations of racism,
sexism, casteism, and classism.
- Encourage member churches and affiliate institutions
and organisations to include the concerns of Indigenous,
Dalit, and Aboriginal communities in their agenda
as integral to the fulfillment of the ecumenical vision
of justice and peace and as a critical component of
CCA initiatives towards peace-building and conflict
- Support the efforts and initiatives of churches,
institutions, movements and groups in building peace.
- Facilitate the documentation of the experiences
of Indigenous, Dalit and Aboriginal women in resisting
and overcoming violence, and in transforming conflict
- Ensure the participation of Indigenous, Dalit and
Aboriginal women in CCA meetings and consultations,
and thus draw knowledge and wisdom from the richness
and diversity of their experiences, values and traditions.