22 November, 2012. From Cultural Survival
Tag Archives: indigenous peoples
Note: Large-scale hydro power is not renewable energy. Flooding pristine lands and displacing the indigenous inhabitants is not sustainable. The vast amounts of methane released by the flooded and rotting vegetation are not climate-friendly.
Hundreds of new dams are being planned for wild lands around the world from the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia to the Amazon jungle to northern Quebec. They are NOT about sustainable energy, they are about business-as-usual at any cost. Please sign the petition below and spread the word about the hydropower lie.
–The GJEP team
BY KIRK HERBERTSON, OCT 29, 2012. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Sarawak, Malaysia – The Murum Dam was not supposed to attract media attention until May of next year. Located in a remote rain forest on the island of Borneo, the project is hours away from the nearest logging town. Construction on the dam began in 2008 and is now only months from completion. With the help of Australian company Hydro Tasmania, the Sarawak state government advertised the Murum Dam as a model of “best practice” for what a socially responsible dam should look like. Chinese investors signed up to help build the dam and then 11 more in Sarawak. The Murum Dam was selected to become a success story in May 2013 when it is showcased at the hydropower industry’s next global conference.
And then the Murum Dam’s reputation collapsed on September 26th, when 200 villagers blockaded the access roads leading to the dam site. The villagers represented 1,500 indigenous people from the Penan and Kenyah communities who will lose their homes when the dam’s reservoir is flooded. The villagers knew they would soon be resettled, but did not know the details until the government’s plan was leaked to them in September. Many were angered to learn that poverty awaits them at their new homes. Over the past three weeks, the blockade has prevented vehicles from entering the site. Construction has come to a halt.
The blockade has prompted a closer look at the Murum Dam. Rather than being a “best practice,” it turns out that the project has been poorly managed for years. But in many ways, the Murum Dam experience presents an important opportunity for the Sarawak government. The blockade has highlighted a number of concerns that require urgent reforms in Sarawak. If addressed now, the Sarawak government might be able to prevent a much larger conflict from emerging.
by Bill Weinberg, Oct 7, 2012. Source: WW4 Report
The Newmont Mining Corporation, based in Colorado, has embroiled itself in a controversial project in northern Peru that locals say threatens their water and their future. Peasants and workers in the region have engaged in mass demonstrations and general strikes, and the president of Peru has responded by declaring a state of emergency. At stake is the economic model of aggressive resource extraction lubricated by the new free trade agreement with Washington.
Newmont wants to proceed with its $4.8 billion Conga gold mine in the Cajamarca region despite the unrest. The project, as originally conceived, called for the destruction of four alpine lakes. And local residents fear several others in the area would be degraded. The company proposed to replace the four with artificial reservoirs. But the campesinos (peasants) pledged they would not let their lagunas be destroyed—and the left-wing regional government backed them up, butting heads with the country’s president.
On March 13, I accompanied a delegation of the Cajamarca Defense Front to a meeting in a village called El Alumbre. Before the meeting, village leaders guided our car over unimproved roads to view the lagunas they fear will be degraded. We briefly entered the Conga concession area—and our two vehicles were quickly followed by a pickup truck full of national police, wearing camouflage and black ski masks.
Note: It only takes six minutes to demonstrate the insanity of drilling in Arctic waters…
By Kiley Kroh and Michael Conathan, August 20, 2012. Source: Center for American Progress
As the decision looms whether to allow Shell Oil to begin exploratory drilling in the Arctic Ocean this summer, the Center for American Progress released a new video today examining our lack of preparedness to respond to an oil spill in the remote and untested region. Whether the Department of the Interior approves offshore drilling activity in the Arctic Ocean this year or next, the Arctic is still dangerously deficient in infrastructure and scientific knowledge. In “Oil and Ice: The Risks of Drilling in Alaska’s Arctic Ocean,” U.S. Coast Guard Captain Gregory Saniel, Chief of Response says the thought of mustering a response to a major incident like an oil spill “keeps me up at night.”
As Shell waits for heavy sea ice to clear and the Coast Guard to certify its containment barge, the fact remains that this region has far fewer resources to contain an oil spill than did the Gulf of Mexico. Even with the Gulf’s warm water and weather, large population centers, and decades of research and drilling experience, oil flowed unabated for three months in 2010, wreaking economic havoc and devastating the environment. If drilling in the Arctic starts next year, these fundamental infrastructure challenges still must be addressed. This video highlights the perspectives of those who depend on the Arctic Ocean for their livelihood, the concerns and challenges facing the Coast Guard charged with its protection, and the grave doubts of the scientific community about the lack of knowledge in this area.
Kiley Kroh is the Associate Director for Ocean Communications and Michael Conathan is the Director of Ocean Policy at the Center for American Progress.
August 17, 2012. Source: WW4 Report
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruling in Sarayaku v. Ecuador on July 25, found in favor of a Kichwa community’s right to consultation prior to industrial projects on their land—a decision that could have implications for many indigenous peoples across the Americas. The court found that the government of Ecuador violated the indigenous community’s rights by allowing an Argentine oil company, Compania General de Combustibles (CGC), on their land without proper consultation. The community of Sarayaku filed the suit in 2006, after CGC, partnering with ConocoPhillips, felled forests, destroyed a cultural site, and drilled hundreds of boreholes for seismic surveying on tribal lands despite never gaining permission to do so from the community. As tensions rose, the Ecuadorian government set up military camps on indigenous land.
The IACHR found that the Ecuadorian state violated the community’s right to be consulted, as well as their community property rights and their cultural identity. The court ordered Ecuador’s government to pay the community $1.34 million in damages and $58,000 to reimburse it and its lawyers for legal fees. Kichwa leader José Gualinga said, “The Sarayaku are extremely satisfied with this victory, reached thanks to the efforts of our people and the help and solidarity of organizations devoted to the rights of indigenous peoples.”
08/12/2012. Source: World War 4 Report
Hundreds of pastoralists in the Mopti region of central Mali are trapped between floodplains to the south and armed Islamist rebels to the north. The nomadic herders, mostly of the Peulh (Fulani) ethnicity, fear that their way of life faces an imminent end. ”It’s all over—it’s finished,” Ibrahim Koita, head of the Society of Social Welfare in Mopti Region, told UN news agency IRIN in the capital, Bamako, where he is trying to pressure donors for more aid. Pastoralists from the northern regions of Adara, Azawad, Tiilenis and Gourma generally head to southern Mali, and into Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast or as far as Togo in search of pasture before the rainy season, which lasts from June to October. Once the rains arrive, they move north again to avoid the Middle Niger Delta flood zone, finding renewed pasturelands on the edge of the desert. But at the end of July, due to drought, pasture had yet to appear in the north.
By Kelvin Elbiri, August 6, 2012. Source: Lagos Guardian
HUNDREDS of Ogoni took to the streets at Ogale-Eleme, Rivers State to protest the non-implementation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s report.
Meanwhile, the Pro National Conference Organisation (PRONACO), has okayed the August 2, 2012 declaration of the Ogoni people for political autonomy and self-determination of their people and territory within Nigeria.
The protesters demanded potable water. The Rivers State government, which has been supplying water through tankers to Elele for a while has denied any role in the implementation of the UNEP report.
The crowd that took to the streets chanting anti-government songs comprised chiefs, youths, men, woman, environmental activists, all carrying bottles filled with clean water, which symbolises what they expected from the Federal Government, the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation and Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), since the report was published last year.
From Agence France-Presse, July 29, 2012. Source: Raw Story
Photo: AFP/File, Aizar Raldes
LA PAZ — The Bolivian government of President Evo Morales Sunday met with indigenous Amazon basin lowland residents to discuss plans for a controversial highway that would run through their their homeland.
Angry protests last year by indigenous residents of the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (called TIPNIS), and the government’s clumsy efforts to put down protests, seriously eroded national support for the leftist Morales administration.
The event kicked off in the town of San Miguelito, in the TIPNIS, with the presence of Public Works Minister Vladimir Sanchez. Observers with the Organization of American States and the Union of South American were also present.
Note: Will there ever be justice for the Indigenous Peoples of the Brazilian Amazon? Soy, cattle, illegal logging, mining, eucalyptus plantations and massive hydroelectric dams threaten the Amazon rainforest and the Indigenous communities that have lived there for generations.
–The GJEP Team
Cross-posted from WW4 Report, 07/17/2012
Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency FUNAI issued a statement July 5 affirming the validity of a May 2010 ruling of the First Regional Federal Tribunal in Mato Grosso state that called for the return of usurped lands of the Xavante indigenous people. FUNAI demarcated the 165,000 hectares as Xavante indigenous territory in 1992, but ranchers and soy producers now in possession of the lands in question challenged creation of the reserve, to be called Marãiwatsede, near the towns of Cuiabá and Alto Boa Vista. The Xavante were pushed from their lands by Brazil’s military government in 1966, and the Marãiwatsede area is now one of the most completely deforested areas of the Amazon Basin. When Xavante led by chief Damião Paridzané held protests at the Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development last month to pressure for return of their lands, local ranchers in the Marãiwatsede territory launched an uprising, blocking roads and burning bridges.
Brazil’s government pledged to return the usurped Xavante lands at the 1992 Earth Summit, but 20 years later has failed to follow through. Paridzané said in a letter delivered to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff: “The illegal soy production and cattle ranching in our sacred land are a shame upon our country.” (Diário de Cuibá, July 15; Outras Mídias, July 10; Maraiwatsede blog, July 5;Survival International, June 29; Maraiwatsede blog, June 21)
Federation for the Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples - FAPI
Legally registered under Decree No.508410
FAPI Statement on the current political and social situation in Paraguay
Following the dismissal of President Fernando Lugo through an abrupt and traumatic process for all of us, and given the present political situation in Paraguay, FAPI, a body that unites several indigenous peoples’ organisations of the western and eastern regions of the country, wishes to inform the national and international communities that:
1. Our Indigenous Peoples’ Organisation demands that the Government installed by Congress respect Indigenous People’s human rights and our territorial rights over which we have sought recognition for many years. In particular, we call for respect for the rights of our brothers in voluntary isolation, including the Ayoreo people in northern Paraguayan Chaco, and the Mbya Guarani in the Tekoha Guazu Traditional Territory located in San Rafael National Park Reserve. We demand that the Paraguayan State cancels its historical debt to the Mbya Guarani and Ava Guarani peoples stemming from the construction of the Hydroelectric Dams of Yacyreta and Itaipu, respectively. Indigenous Peoples need legal guarantees for tenure rights to our ancestral and traditional territories, and we reject the statements made by the Acting President, Federico Franco, arguing that “the country’s problem is not the land, but to provide income and create jobs”.
2. We are deeply concerned about the comment made by a person in the Executive, in a statement made to the international press saying: “who is responsible for guaranteeing that civil war will not break out (sic)…”*. So far, the international community is witness to the fact that that all expressions in favour or against the person to assume the Presidency have been peaceful and non-violent. These unjustified statements, stemming from a person that holds the position of Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, could generate an unnecessary state of alert among the police and armed forces, and these words could become the cause of violent and reprehensible actions. It seems that these statements have no basis in fact and are directed against those of us exercising our freedoms and defending and demanding our rights. On this point we affirm that dissent is a fundamental right in a democracy.
3. Indigenous communities and their settlements have frequently been victims of violence, especially at the hands of the National Police who have no justification other than the illegal defence of properties under fraudulent possession by third parties. These properties are in lands legalized by the State in favour of indigenous peoples, including lands titled and registered in the Public Registry of the General Directorate. In this way, the police actions are in violation of the Constitution and the law. We trust that these illegal actions will not be repeated, not only because of the harm they may cause, but also because they will further add to the illegitimacy attributed to the origin of the executive power of the government.
4. We have heard repeatedly from Mr. Federico Franco that Brazilians and so called brasiguayos will be privileged under this administration, and that they will receive ‘legal security’ over their productive resources, including land. We believe that indigenous peoples, peasants and all Paraguayans deserve the same commitment to security. We demand that the Executive power urgently abandon the historic practice of discrimination, and that the same guarantee for rights that it mentions be given in relation to our territories, rights that have been violated innumerable times under a dense blanket of impunity in both the Eastern region and in the Western Chaco region of the country.
5. Finally, we reiterate our hope that our collective and individual rights will not be violated during the time that your government will be in power, expecting that vigilance of human rights will not be affected by the serious democratic crisis in Paraguay, and that the authorities will fulfil their duty and obligation to respect the equality of everyone that inhabits the Republic of Paraguay, without distinction or privilege.