Tag Archives: land rights

To protect forests and fight the climate crisis: Secure community land rights

By Jeff Conant, 7 October 2013. Source: Friends of the Earth


Photo: Friends of the Earth

Photo: Friends of the Earth

With the release last week of the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report  reconfirming the scientific consensus on both the reality and the urgency of the climate crisis (enough to make meteorologists cry), we can expect a redoubling of extractivist efforts to frack our way to energy security, to profit from the crisis through carbon trading, and to “feed the world” industrial monocrops and genetically engineered seeds under the dubious guise of climate smart agriculture. Each of these paths, of course, are ways to continue exploiting resources for the greed of the global one percent, rather than to safeguard resources for the needs of the rest of us.

This may not sit well with the techno-optimists out there, but the climate crisis is not a technical problem – it is a socio-economic problem. With this reality in mind, a growing consensus among civil society groups, global agencies and social movements worldwide, as expressed at a recent conference that Friends of the Earth attended in Switzerland, is that securing access to land and resources for the world’s poorest people is among the most important steps we can take to adapt to the ongoing climate crisis, to mitigate its impacts, and to ensure equity in the process. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Brazil: 1500 Indigenous Peoples occupy the Esplanade of Ministries

By John Ahni Schertow, 3 October, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry

Nearly 1,500 Indigenous Peoples from across Brazil on Wednesday occupied a central road in the federal capital Brasília known as the Esplanade of Ministries, paralyzing traffic in both directions.

A part of the National Indigenous Mobilization convened by the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), the protesters are trying to stop a legislative assault that threatens to severely undermine or extinguish Indigenous rights in the country.

As examined in “Indigenous April 2013: Declaration Of Indigenous National Mobilization In Defense Of Indigenous Territories,” this legislative assault consists of several bills and decrees, including:

Proposed Amendments to the Constitution (PECs) numbers 038/99, 215/00 and 237/13, Bill 1610/96, the bill for Complementary Law (PLP) 227/12, and the Portarias (ministerial orders) 419/11 and 7957/13. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

Chile: Mapuche step up resistance, as UN urges government to stop repression

Mapuche step up struggle for land and water

July 30, 2013. Source: World War 4 Report

Photo: Caroline/Intercontinental Cry

Photo: Caroline/Intercontinental Cry

Indigenous communities in Arauco province in Chile’s central Biobío region have announced plans for a march on Aug. 2 to protest a proposal before the National Congress to extend Forestry Decree 701 for another 20 years. Community residents, who belong to the Mapuche group, Chile’s largest ethnicity, say the forestry laws have allowed timber companies to take over traditional Mapuche lands starting in 1974 under the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. The most important of these companies are Arauco (Celulosa Arauco y Constitución), largely owned by the Angelini family, and Forestal Mininco, controlled by the Matte family. According to Mapuche activists, there is little chance that the forestry proposal will be defeated, since many of the congressional candidates from Mapuche areas in the upcoming Nov. 17 elections are being financed by these two powerful families. (El Cuidadano, Chile, July 27)

Mapuche groups have been using militant protests and land occupations since the 1990s in their push to regain the territories they claim. On July 24 the Mapuche Territorial Alliance’s blog announced a new series of land occupations that the group said the media were ignoring. The blog reported that various communities in Cautín province in the southern region of La Araucanía had taken possession of estates since the weekend of July 19 near Temuco, the regional capital, and in the area of the construction for a new Quepe airport. On July 24 the autonomous community of Temucuicui—which was subject to a violent police raid in July 2012—announced plans to occupy the La Romana and Montenegro estates and several nearby areas under the control of timber companies. (Alianza Territorial Mapuche blog, July 24)

Mapuche activists are also targeting salmon farming in Mapuche areas. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suspended the importation of salmon produced in Chile by the Norwegian multinational Marine Harvest; on June 5 the US agency found traces of crystal violet, a fungicide with carcinogenic effects, in a batch of the company’s salmon farmed in Chile. Economy, Development and Tourism Minister Félix de Vicente insisted on July 23 that this was “an isolated unique case.“ Marine Harvest facilities “have not used this product for a couple of years, therefore, it should not be a cause for concern,“ he said. But Mapuche activists want the government to investigate the extent to which crystal violet and other dangerous chemicals may have been used in the salmon farming operations and whether the chemicals have polluted water Mapuche farmers use for irrigation.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Corporate Globalization, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean

Australia’s forest carbon experiment in Indonesia ends in failure

July 3, 2012. Source: Friends of the Earth Sydney

The Australian aid agency AusAID has effectively axed its $47 million forest carbon experiment in Kalimantan, KFCP, ahead of Australia’s Prime Minister Rudd’s visit to Indonesia this week.

Friends of the Earth groups criticise the Federal government and its implementing partners for their failed approach to deforestation and the land rights issues in Indonesia.

The Kalimantan Forests and Climate Partnership (KFCP) began in 2008 as part of a program to demonstrate that ‘forest carbon offsets’ were a viable way to reduce carbon emissions. The KFCP pilot project began with big promises to demonstrate policy and program activities capable of reducing emissions from deforestation and land degradation in Indonesia, and incentivise sustainable livelihoods for local communities.

Deddy Ratih from WALHI (Friends of the Earth Indonesia) said:

‘AusAID and the KFCP staff have failed to support conservation programs that are environmentally effective and sensitive to the rights of indigenous people in rural Indonesia.’
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Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Justice, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, REDD

Venezuelan Indigenous Yupka leader Sabino Romero assassinated

By Ewan Robertson, March 4, 2013. Source: venezuelanalysis.com

sabino-asesinato04Indigenous Yupka chief and land rights activist Sabino Romero has been assassinated in an act which has generated public repudiation from social movements and the Venezuelan government alike. A high profile investigation into the killing has been launched.

Romero was a chief of the indigenous Yupka people of the Sierra de Perijá in western Venezuela. He was assassinated on Sunday night as he made his way to vote in an indigenous election, in circumstances which are still unknown.

Romero was a leader in the struggle for ancestral Yupka lands in the Sierra de Perijá, lands held by cattle ranchers, but many of which have been formally granted to the Yupka by the Chavez government.

Last November, Romero travelled to Caracas with some 60 Yupka to demand that the government act against violence on the part of cattle ranchers who were refusing to give up their lands, as well as to protest against government inaction and public media silence over the conflict.
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Losing the land again: The risks or privatizing property on First Nations reserves

By Kyle Carsen Wyatt, February 11, 2013.  Source: The Walrus

Sometime this year, the federal government is expected to introduce legislation that will pave the way for fee-simple (read: private) land ownership on First Nations reserves. According to its champions—former Kamloops chief Manny Jules and on-again, off-again Harper adviser Tom Flanagan—the new law will generate business efficiencies, investment opportunities, and individual prosperity for the 300,000 Native people living on reserves in Canada.

Editorial boards and political affairs observers have commended the First Nations Property Ownership Initiative, a working proposal crafted by Jules and Flanagan, along with Christopher Alcantara and André Le Dressay, in their 2011 book, Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights. Proponents, who include a handful of First Nations, dismiss the alarms raised by most of the 600-plus Native communities in Canada, as well as Native studies scholars and the Assembly of First Nations. The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson has summarized their objections thusly: “The first is that native land is traditionally communally owned. Private property is yet another assimilationist Western concept being imposed on native culture. The second is that once reserve members own their land, they can sell it to non-natives, eroding the land base.”

Ibbitson rejects these concerns out of hand, arguing that “the legislation will be strictly voluntary. Only those first nations that want to embrace the concept of private property will do so.” This line of reasoning presumes that communities and individuals driven to desperation can freely engage in decision making, when in fact many of them will succumb to a coercive land grab that has been 500 years in the making. He also contrasts the proposed legislation with the US General Allotment Act of 1887, better known as the Dawes Act, pointing out that it was involuntary. He is not alone in dismissing the nineteenth-century law. Backers of the First Nations Property Ownership Initiative regard its dismal legacy as a trivial aside, a laughable historical analogy: different time, different place. But as Cherokee novelist and 2003 Massey Lecturer Thomas King observes in his new book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, “When we look at Native–non-Native relations, there is no great difference between the past and the present.”
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Filed under Commons, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs

Violent disputes over indigenous lands increase across Brazil

From Agence France-Presse, July 29, 2012. Source: Raw Story

Indigenous Brazilian protests against government via AFP
 Photo: AFP/File, Pedro Ladeira

SAO PAULO — Violent disputes over indigenous land have been growing across Brazil, sparking heightened militancy by native tribes angered by broken promises of compensation and slower government registrations.

A report by the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), cited by the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper on Sunday, said the number of territorial conflicts jumped from 82 in in 2006 to 99 last year.

The indigenous peoples are fighting to protect their resource-rich lands from invasions or encroachment by huge cattle ranchers, industrial-scale farmers, illegal gold miners and loggers.
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Bolivian government to consult with Amazon natives on controversial highway

From Agence France-Presse, July 29, 2012. Source: Raw Story

Amazonian woman via AFP
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.
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Chile: youth wounded in raid on Mapuche village over Mapuche struggle for land

Cross-Posted from WW4 Report

A 16-year-old Chilean youth was seriously wounded with metal pellets on April 20 when agents from the carabineros militarized police raided the indigenous Mapuche community of Temucuicui in the southern region of Araucanía. The youth, Lautaro Naín, was rushed to the city of Victoria for emergency treatment. According to Mijael Carbone, the community’s werken (spokesperson), about 100 uniformed police burst into the village and began firing at houses. The Chilean Foundation in Support of Children and Their Rights (Anide) denounced “the violence exercised by the police forces against the Mapuche communities, a violence which once again has a child as its victim.” The organization called for an end to police raids against Mapuche communities in Araucanía and for negotiations to end “the conflict created by the Chilean state by dispossessing the Mapuche communities of their ancestral land.” The Mapuche Territorial Alliance (ATM) demanded the immediate removal of local prosecutor Luis Chamorro from investigations in the area, charging that he had an anti-Mapuche attitude and constituted “an obvious public danger.” (Prensa Latina, April 22)

Students remobilize
In other news, both the government and student organizers seemed taken by surprise on April 25 when thousands of students and their supporters marched in Santiago for educational reforms. In contrast to the massive mobilizations of the 2011 school year, student actions had been small since the current school year started in March. But even the police estimated the turnout in Santiago on April 25 at 48,000, while organizers put the number at 70,000; there were also demonstrations in Valparaíso, Concepción, Temuco, La Serena and other cities.

Federation of University of Chile Students (FECH) president Gabriel Boric called the strong showing at the march “a very clear signal that the students aren’t going to back down from their conviction that education in Chile has be a right for all Chileans, and not by getting into debt.” Under pressure from the students’ popular demand for a return to a system of free public education, rightwing president Sebastián Piñera has proposed legislation raising corporate tax rates from 18.5% to 20% as part of a fiscal overhaul that will allow the government to provide student loans at 2%, replacing the current privately financed loans. However, student leaders consider these concessions inadequate. (Adital, Brazil, April 26; La Jornada, Mexico, April 26; Business Week, April 27)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, April 29.

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