Posts filed under ‘Indigenous Resistance, Rights, and Survival’
UN Condemns Land Grabs in Native Territories – New Report on State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
The full report on the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is available at http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/SOWIP_web.pdf
Critical references to carbon markets and REDD are on pp.116-19.
RIGHTS: U.N. Condemns Land Grabs in Native Territories
By Haider Rizvi
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 14, 2010 (IPS) – Millions of people around the world who belong to indigenous communities continue to face discrimination and abuse at the hands of authorities and private business concerns, says a new U.N. report released here Thursday.
It is happening not only in the developing parts of the world but also in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which champion the causes of human rights and democracy, the report says.
Despite all the “positive developments” in international human rights setting in recent years, the study’s findings suggest that indigenous peoples remain vulnerable to state-sponsored violence and brutality, which is often aimed at confiscating their lands.
“Governments and the United Nations need to be serious about this,” said Victoria Tauli-Corpus, chairperson of the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, an advisory body that works with the 54-member Economic and Social Council, after launching the report.
The 222 page-report, entitled “State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples”, points out that an overwhelming majority of the indigenous population is condemned to live in extreme poverty. Its authors noted that while indigenous peoples are around five percent of the world’s population, they comprise 15 percent of people living in extreme poverty.
KICHWAS AND SHUAR AGAINST THE OIL INDUSTRY
CAMPAÑA ARAJUNO SIN PETROLEO
Efrén Calapucha (email@example.com)
English version after the Spanish article . Versión en inglés después del artículo en español
Acción recomendada: Escribe al presidente de la república del Euador, Economista Rafael Correa demandando el fin de la expansión de la frontera petrolera en la provincia de Pastaza y de la militarización de territorios indígenas con el proposito de facilitar la explotación petrolera. (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com)
De una manera inconsulta, arbitraria llegaron el día sábado 19 de julio del presente año en tres vehículos blindados y un Helicóptero los altos funcionarios de Petroproducción y escoltados por la inteligencia militar; pretendiendo engañar a la población y autorizando explotar petróleo, yéndose por encima de un conglomerado de ACIA que plantea NO A LA EXPLOTACION PETROLERA EN EL TERRITORIO DE BOSQUE DEL OGLAN ALTO- SHUAR WASHENTS que son Territorios de la Asociación de Comunidades Indígenas de Arajuno “ACIA”, la decisión histórica que ha tomado el pueblo kichwa y Shuar de Arajuno ha sido y será RECHAZAR Y VIGILAR CUALQUIER INTENTO DE INTROMISIÓN DE ELEMENTOS (PERSONAS, HERRAMIENTAS Y MAQUINARIAS) a ese lugar. Es el momento de parar el abuso y la prepotencia en las que incluso ha minimizado a los Pueblos y Nacionalidades como si fuéramos actores reducidos de la sociedad Ecuatoriana.
¡Amigos de la Tierra!
En este espacio de la selva amazónica con grandes recursos biodiversos se quiere cercenar LA VIDA lo que NO PERMITEREMOS se establezca tan execrable hecho que afectará al Calentamiento Global extinguiéndose los pueblos, la flora y la fauna hasta hoy fortalecidas y guardadas celosamente y alertamos al Gobierno Nacional y al opinión pública que este Territorio Comunitario que se quiere afectar mediante intervención inconsulta ordenada por el Ing. Juan Chiriboga Pinos Sub Gerente de operaciones de PETROPRODUCCIÓN; este Territorio es declarado como Área de Bosque y vegetación Protectores con el acuerdo Nº 136 del ministerio del Ambiente, mediante Registro oficial Nº 24 del 24 de mayo del 2005.
Hacemos un llamado a la Prensa, local, Nacional y Mundial así como a las demás Nacionalidades, Pueblos y sectores sociales del Ecuador y del Mundo a demostrar la UNIDAD POR LA VIDA y alzar, vuestra VOZ DE PROTESTA y a la participación activa en los procesos de gestiones y demandas que se han dado inicio a partir del día de hoy en la provincia de Pastaza ¡POR QUE LA AMAZONÍA Y EL ÚLTIMO PULMÓN DEL MUNDO YA ES DE TODOS!
English Version, translated from Spanish by Martin Alle
CAMPAIGN ARAJUNO WITHOUT OIL (more…)
En español más abajo, después del comunicado en inglés
THREAT OF GENOCIDE OF INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES IN CAUCA, COLOMBIA
The Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca department, South-West Colombia (CRIC), publicly denounces the threat which arrived to the North of Cauca section on 11th August by email, announcing the genocide of Colombia’s indigenous populations, and perversely inferring the government’s strategy to destabalize the unity of indigenous, afro-Colombian and campesino (poor farmer) communities in the department.
It is no secret that President Alvaro Uribe Velez has declared war on indigenous communities which have decided to demand their rights. A determining moment came in March 2008, during a speech in Popayan, the capital of the Cauca department, when Uribe offered to reward those who helped to break the unity of the indigenous community [by informing on the leaders of the ‘liberation of the madre tierra’ process, in which indigenous populations are reclaiming ancestral land to which they are entitled by the 1991 political constitution]. Added to this, institutional spokesperson have consistently reiterated the message that the indigenous population benefts from state guarantees to the detriment of the rights of other sectors of society. One example was the purchase of the Villa Carola farm by the Ministry of the Interior in order to award it to displaced people, when the farm had been promised to the Kononuko indigenous community since the 1980’s.
The text, which covers itself by claiming to be from an anti-indigenous campesino group, reproduces the same discourse used by the national government with the aim of blaming the indigenous population for the failure of land policies and the lack of agrarian reform in Colombia [text below in Spanish original].
The United Nations Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples pleads for collective rights in the new Constitution of Ecuador
Artículo en español más abajo después de la versión en inglés. El Relator de Naciones Unidas sobre los Pueblos Indígenas aboga por derechos colectivos en la nueva Constitución del Ecuador
Translated from Spanish by Martin Allen
By Mario Melo
On 28th and 29th May of this year, James Anaya, the new United Nations Rapporteur on the rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples, visited the Constituent Assembly of Ecuador. In his recently-released report on this visit, the Rapporteur pleads for inclusion in the new constitutional text of plurinationality and prior informed consent.
With regard to recognition of the plurinationality of the Ecuadorian State, a historic proposal of the national indigenous organization CONAIE, Anaya emphasizes that in essence it corresponds with the normative framework developed at international level. For him, “acceptance of plurinationality in the framework of the constitution would reinforce Ecuadorian Society’s commitment to recognize indigenous nations and peoples and to the ‘pluricultural’ State already reflected in the 1998 Constitution”. He also rejects concerns that plurinationality would involve dangerous tendencies towards fragmentation of the country, for which reason he has told the members of the Constituent Assembly that these concerns “are without foundation and can and must be overcome”.
On the right to free, prior, informed consent, the Special Rapporteur considers that inclusion of the debate (more…)
The article below is one example more of the need of Corporate accountability vs responsibility. Corporations have managed to use the concept of CSR for their own benefit, setting up ethical principles and not binding rules which have facilitated their access to communities in the local level and to influential actors in the international arena, which can legitimised these voluntary practices.
Scots investors accused of backing £400m mine that threatens remote Indian
Pressure building on companies to sell their shares in mine’s owner By Billy
THE FUTURE of a remote tribe in India could be under threat from a proposed
mining development indirectly funded by Scottish companies and the nation’s
universities. Mining giant Vedanta Resources plans to create an open-cast
bauxite mine in the mountainous east Indian state of Orissa, an area that is
home to the Dongria Kondh tribe.
Protesting tribesmen and Survival International – an organisation that
fights on behalf of those whose cultures and human rights are threatened by
the modern world – have launched a campaign against the FTSE 100 company and
Campaigners, including Oscar-winning actress Julie Christie, claim the mine
would end the tribe’s way of life by polluting streams, cutting down forests
and destroying a mountain that people hold sacred.
Vedanta vigorously disputes the allegations and says it has a strong focus
on meeting its environmental responsibilities and a proud record of helping
communities in countries where it operates.
Survival is targeting not only Vedanta, but its major shareholders,
including Coutts Bank, Standard Life, Barclays Bank, Abbey National and
HSBC, urging them to sell their stakes unless the firm abandons its plans.
The Norwegian government recently sold its stake in Vedanta as a result of
Scotland’s universities – including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and St
Andrews – have money invested in Vedanta through the Universities
Superannuation Scheme (USS), which holds more than one million shares in the
company. The Dundee-based Alliance Trust and Martin Currie Investment
Management of Edinburgh also have funds invested in the company.
Check also Oxfam report Another Inconvenient Truth
and previous article Food security: below and to the left
24th June 2008
The current massive wave of investment in energy production based on
cultivating and industrial processing of vegetal materials like corn,
soy, palm oil, sugar cane, canola, etc, will neither solve the
climate crisis nor the energy crisis. It will also bring disastrous
social and environmental consequences. It creates a new and very
serious threat to food production by small farmers and to the
attainment of food sovereignty for the world population.
Over the last twenty years the neoliberal policies adopted globally
have failed to answer people’s basic needs. The FAO promises at the
1996 World Food Summit and the UN Millenium Development Goals to lift
people out of poverty have not been kept. Many more people are
suffering form hunger.
It is claimed that agrofuels will help fight climate change. In
reality, the opposite is true. The new extensive monoculture
plantations for the production of agrofuels are increasing greenhouse
gases through deforestation, drainage of wetlands, and dismantling
communal lands. If we take into account the whole cycle of
production, transformation, distribution of agrofuels, they do not
produce less greenhouse gases than fossil fuels, except in some
cases. Moreover, agrofuels will never be able to replace fossil
fuels. According to the latest estimates, they will only cover the
future rise in consumption from now until 2020. There is simply not
enough land in the world to generate all the fuel necessary for an
industrial society whose needs for transport of people and goods are
continually increasing. The promise of agrofuels creates the illusion
that we can continue to consume energy at an ever growing rate. The
only answer to the threat of climate change is to reduce energy use
worldwide, and to redirect international trade towards local markets.
Meanwhile, the social and ecological impacts of agrofuel development
will be devastating. Monoculture and industrial agriculture, whether
for agrofuel or any other production, are destroying land, forests,
water and biodiversity. They drive family farmers, men and women, off
their land. It is estimated that five million farmers have been
expelled from their land to create space for monocultures in
Indonesia; five million in Brazil, four million in Colombia…
Industrial agriculture generates much less employment than
sustainable family farming; this is an agriculture without farmers.
The current expansion of agrofuel production contributes to the
massive concentration of capital by landowners, large companies and
TNCs, provoking a real counter land reform throughout the world.
Moreover it contributes to increased speculation on food products and
Agrofuel production has already started to replace food production.
Its ongoing extension will drive even more small scale farmers and
indigenous peoples off their lands. Instead of dedicating land and
water to food production, these resources are being diverted to
produce energy in the form of diesel and ethanol. Today peasants and
small farmers, indigenous people, women and men, produce the huge
majority of the food consumed worldwide. If not prevented now,
agrofuels will occupy our lands and food will become even more scarce
Who would eat agrofuels?
A new alliance of some governments with automotive and chemical
companies, oil and agro-industry is promoting agrofuels with the sole
objective of making money. The fear of climate change and energy
crisis is used to develop agrofuel production in a manner that
maintains and strengthens an agro-industrial model. Knowing that
this model is, in itself, a major cause of climate change and an
intensive energy consumer, is no obstacle.
Technology and market control of the TNCs strengthen and increase
their hold over the agrarian sector. The family farmers whose food
production has been based on traditional seeds, are displaced, their
coexistence with biodiversity, their way of producing energy by human
and animal force are disrupted. Their way of life uses much less
energy per unit of food produced, and specially, fewer fossil fuels.
Agribusiness companies are aware that agrofuels produced on a large
scale are not economically viable. The race towards agrofuels is
made possible by the huge direct and indirect subsidies from
supporting governments and by speculation on the financial markets,
which is also causing food prices to rise.
The figures cited are alarming. Millions of hectares and billions of
dollars are mentioned: the government of India is contemplating
planting 14 million hectares with “jatrofa”, the Inter-American Bank
of Development says that Brazil has 120 million hectares ready for
agrofuel production and a business lobby suggests that there are 397
million hectares available in 15 African countries. This means a
level of expropriations without precedent.
While TNCs and investment funds increase their profits, a large part
of the world population does not have enough money to buy food.
Agrofuels are estimated to be responsible for 30% of the current food
When the TNCs are unable to find farmland for agrofuel production,
deforestation is forced on areas that are necessary for the
preservation of life on earth.
Thousands of farmers have no alternative but to accept to grow
agrofuels as they need an income to support themselves till the next
season. National and international agricultural policies imposed by
international financial institutions and TNCs have exacerbated the
dependence of developing countries, leading to food crisis, extreme
poverty, and hunger throughout the world. Therefore, those small
farmers are not guilty of making the wrong choice they are the
victims of the current system imposed on them.
Small farmers and agricultural workers, working in extremely harsh
conditions with damaging effects on their health, with very poor
income have no say in the way their production is used. Many are
working under contract farming with large agribusiness companies that
process, refine and sell the product. Therefore it is the companies
who decide to channel the produce to the fuel rather than to the food
market. The high food prices paid by the consumers are not reflected
in the small farmers’ income.
In response to energy crisis: small scale production and local
Small scale sustainable farming is essential to feed the world.
Sustainable family farming and food sovereignty consume up to 80 times
less energy than industrial agriculture.
Food sovereignty primarily involves the use of local resources for
food production, minimizing imports of raw materials as well as
transport. Likewise, the food produced is consumed locally so that
the end product does not travel far. It is not logical to eat, in
Europe, aspargus coming all the way from the Altiplano or fresh green
beans coming from Kenya.
Throughout the history of farming, villagers have obtained energy
from their farmland to meet their daily needs. Peasant families are
using coconut or sunflower oil, biogas, firewood, wind and water to
generate electricity for local use. Such methods are sustainable and
integrated into the food production cycle on the farmland.
It is imperative to design and adopt responsible attitudes to food
consumption and to adjust our way of eating, in the knowledge that the
industrial model of production and consumption is destructive, while
the peasant-based model of production uses responsible energy
Therefore, Via Campesina continues its struggle against the power of
large corporations and supporting political systems. The energy
crisis should not be seen as an isolated problem but as part of the
whole crisis of the current model of development where profit has
priority over people.
Instead, we support a people centered, small-scale diversified
agriculture with local markets and healthy livelihoods using less
energy and less dependent on external sources. Sustainable family
farmers fulfill the fundamental mission of agriculture: to feed
Via Campesina denounces:
+ The neoliberal model, international financial institutions and
transnational capital, directly responsible for the food and the
+ The irresponsible presentation of agrofuels as an answer to the
climate and energy crisis
+ The scandal of producing agrofuels in a world ravaged by hunger.
+ The passive attitude of many institutions faced with the serious
risk posed by the advent of agrofuels which implies that rural and
urban populations can neither produce nor consume food.
+ That these same institutions are in fact placing the economic
interests of TNCs above the food and nutritional needs of the very
people they are entrusted to represent and defend.
+ The insult of continuing to promote agrofuels in spite of the
negative energy balance in their production, processing, and
+ The neoliberal model, international financial institutions and
transnational capital, directly responsible for the food and the
Via Campesina demands:
The end of corporate driven, monoculture- based production of
agrofuels. As a first step, a five year international moratorium on
the production, trade and consumption of industrial agrofuels has to
be immediately declared.
An in-depth evaluation of social and environment cost of the agrofuel
boom and of profits made by TNCs in the processing and trade of the
The promotion and development of small scale production and local
consumption models and the rejection of consumerism
Explicit support from governments and institutions to the sustainable
peasant-based model of food production and distribution, with its
minimal use of energy, its capacity to create jobs, to respect
cultural and biological diversity and its positive effect on global
warming (fertile soils are the best way to capture CO2).
The reorientation of agricultural policies towards sustainable rural
communities and livelihoods based on food sovereignty and genuine
The promotion and development of responsible consumption models.
Let’s put out the fire of agrofuels and carry the flame of food
See article below regarding the world-wide release of the photos and videos showing the existence of non-contacted indigenous groups in the border region between Brazil and Peru. Although indigenous organizations, scholars, and other national and institutional bodies already knew about these groups, the story was sold as if a new discovery was made in order to generate world wide awareness and halt logging operations in the area.
Nevertheless we should be cautious with this approach as it seems the only requisite for the States and industries to stop extractive operations in these areas is the existence of non-contacted tribes. What about other areas where we find contacted indigenous people who have chosen a life style not based on the rampant consumerism of the neoliberal world system?, what about areas which are considered sacred by the indigenous peoples who have been living there for centuries?
We must be careful with using photographs and other “proves” as the only way to stop unsustainable developments in the Amazon. Do indigenous groups must prove their indigenousness to the dominant societies? what does it mean to be ‘indigenous’ for the dominant society?. We should put more energy on proving why we should not expand the extractive frontiers to sensitive areas. We should prove there are other ways of development which do not require to gamble with the existence of non contacted indigenous groups and do not require to put a price to lives and nature.
See also related article here in English and Spanish
22/6/08 * Observer *
Secret of the ‘lost’ tribe that wasn’t
Tribal guardian admits the Amazon Indians’ existence was already known, but
he hoped the publicity would lift the threat of logging
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor
They are the amazing pictures that were beamed around the globe: a handful
of warriors from an ‘undiscovered tribe’ in the rainforest on the
Brazilian-Peruvian border brandishing bows and arrows at the aircraft that
Or so the story was told and sold. But it has now emerged that, far from
being unknown, the tribe’s existence has been noted since 1910 and the
mission to photograph them was undertaken in order to prove that
‘uncontacted’ tribes still existed in an area endangered by the menace of
the logging industry.
The disclosures have been made by the man behind the pictures, José Carlos
Meirelles, 61, one of the handful of sertanistas – experts on indigenous
tribes – working for the Brazilian Indian Protection Agency, Funai, which is
dedicated to searching out remote tribes and protecting them.