Thai campaigners urge change to forest law after indigenous verdict

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Campaigners are calling on Thai authorities to amend a law they say violates the rights of indigenous people, after the country’s top court ruled that a group of Karen evicted from a national park had no legal right over the land.

It is the latest case of indigenous people being evicted from land they consider theirs by birthright, with the rush to develop - or protect green space - leading to clashes worldwide over who owns land when deeds are unclear.

Authorities had removed nearly 400 Karen from the Kaeng Krachan National Park, saying they were encroachers. When some returned, officials burned down their shelters.

Six of the Karen people - led by their spiritual leader, who is said to be 106 years old - filed suit in 2012, claiming compensation, and asserting their right to land they say belonged to their ancestors.

A lower court held that authorities had acted within the law, while ordering compensation of 10,000 baht ($302) to each of the plaintiffs. The Karen - a hill tribe people thought to number about 1 million in Thailand - appealed the verdict.

Author: Rina Chandran

See full story here: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-landrights-court/thai-campaigners-urge-change-to-forest-law-after-indigenous-verdict-idUSKBN1JO1SQ 

Mysterious and spiritual: Indigenous Peoples day offers opportunity to explore ancient cave

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Some of the earliest evidence of human activity in North America can be found in northern B.C.

One of North America's most important and mysterious archeological sites sits a short drive north of Fort St. John, B.C., and the little-known cave may become more familiar on National Indigenous Peoples day Thursday.

T'se'K'wa, formerly known as Charlie Lake Cave, holds some of the oldest evidence of human activity in North America, dating back 12,000 years.

On National Indigenous Peoples Day, the First Nations who now own the land around it are inviting the public to come view the site and hear from elders why it is still an important and sacred space.

See full story: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/mysterious-and-spiritual-indigenous-peoples-day-offers-opportunity-to-explore-ancient-cave-1.4716426

Source: CBC News

Calls to prioritise indigenous peoples health

New Zealand is calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) and governments to prioritise health improvements for indigenous people worldwide. Health professionals say poor data and resources for cancer diagnosis and treatment for indigenous communities is impacting on survival rates. 

Research conducted by the University of Otago shows poorer Māori cancer survival rates to non-Māori. A situation that's also reflected around the world.

Bridget Robson, Associate Dean Māori at the University of Otago, says, "If we want a Tino Rangatiratanga approach across all nations, indigenous peoples have to have their own data to find out what's going on for them and what the Government's are doing to support them or not."

Over 150 cancer experts and indigenous health experts across the Tasman and the Pacific have now published an open letter calling on the WHO and governments to take heed of the issue. 

Author: Moana Makapelu Lee 

See full story here: https://www.maoritelevision.com/news/national/calls-prioritise-indigenous-peoples-health 

 

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Eleventh session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The dates for the Expert Mechanism's eleventh session are 9 to 13 July 2018. The session will take place in Room XX of the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland.

Provisional agenda

Documentation

Documentation for the eleventh session will become available in June 2018.

Accreditation

According to paragraph 9 of resolution 6/36 and paragraph 13 of resolution 33/25, the meetings of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples shall be open to the participation of observers through an open and transparent accreditation procedure in accordance with the rules of the Human Rights Council.

Registration is open to:

  • Representatives of indigenous peoples’ organizations;
  • Representatives of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC);
  • Representatives of NGOs not in consultative status with ECOSOC;
  • Academics and experts on indigenous peoples;
  • National Human Rights Institutions

Accreditation for the 11th session will be carried out through Indico, the online registration platform of the United Nations Office at Geneva.

Accreditation is now open. Please follow the instructions below:

  • Click here to access the EMRIP 11th session registration page
  • Click on “Register now”
  • Create an INDICO account if you have not previously used the system
  • Log in to the system with your username (e-mail address) and password and fill in the registration form.

Please note that each individual participant will have to register themselves.

For questions regarding accreditation, please contact expertmechanism@ohchr.org

More information in English
Más información en español
Informations additionnelles en français

UN Committee on NGOs Meets 21-30 MAY in NY

The UN Committee on NGOs will meet at the UN from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM on 21-30 May to discuss new and deferred NGO applications for ECOSOC status. These meetings are open to people with ECOSOC UN badges.

NGO representatives are encouraged to attend. 

NGO ATTENDANCE IS IMPORTANT TO HELP MAKE THE COMMITTEE AWARE THAT MAJOR GROUPS AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS ARE  CONCERNED ABOUT THE ABILITY TO PARTICIPATE AT THE UN IN ORDER TO IMPLEMENT THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS.

Google UN Committee on NGOs for the schedule and a list of NGOs that are being considered. The meetings will be webcast.

Indigenous Peoples Recover Native Languages in Mexico

May 18 (IPS) - Ángel Santiago is a Mexican teenager who speaks one of the variations of the Zapotec language that exists in the state of Oaxaca, in the southwest of Mexico. Standing next to the presidential candidate who is the favorite for the July elections, he calls for an educational curriculum that "respects our culture and our languages." 

Juan José García Ortiz, a teacher who is also mayor of Guelatao, a small town in this southwestern state, speaks in Zapotec and Spanish about the problems of education in Mexico, and ends with a message: "Never again can there be a Mexico without indigenous peoples."

So does the poet Irma Pineda López, who reads the commitments drafted by the country's best-organised teachers' union, from Oaxaca, the state with the largest indigenous population in Mexico and where 418 of the 570 municipalities have a majority indigenous population and are governed by native customs.

The presidential candidate, leftist Andrés Manuel López Obrador, nods. Next to him is Susana Harp, a prominent international singer of traditional Zapotec music, who is a candidate for the Senate for the presidential candidate's party, Morena.

Behind them is Esteban Moctezuma, who López Obrador plans to appoint as minister of education if he wins the Jul. 1 elections.

This scene took place on May 12 in the town where the only indigenous president of Mexico, Benito Juárez (1858–1872), was born. On this occasion, López Obrador presented his proposal to reform education in the country and, remarkably, all the participants spoke first in their native mother tongue and then in Spanish.

See full article here: http://www.globalissues.org/news/2018/05/18/24205

 Indigenous children from the mountains of Oaxaca, in the southwest of Mexico listen in the town of Guelatao to the education reform proposal of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the presidential frontrunner according to the polls, who announced that, if he wins, he will institute bilingual schools in the indigenous regions. Credit: Danilo Rodríguez / IPS  Article Source: Inter Press Service Author: Daniela Pastrana

Indigenous children from the mountains of Oaxaca, in the southwest of Mexico listen in the town of Guelatao to the education reform proposal of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the presidential frontrunner according to the polls, who announced that, if he wins, he will institute bilingual schools in the indigenous regions. Credit: Danilo Rodríguez / IPS

Article Source: Inter Press Service
Author: Daniela Pastrana

THE PORTENIER HUMAN RIGHTS BURSARY Competition

THE PORTENIER HUMAN RIGHTS BURSARY competition for 2018 is now open for applications. It provides an opportunity for independent journalists and documentary-makers of any nationality working on significant human rights projects that may place them in danger to obtain hostile environment training. 

The bursary provides $3,000 (CAD) to help the winner attend a hostile environment and first aid training (HEFAT) course run by open of our approved course providers. These courses are currently available in Canada, the USA, Britain, Afghanistan and sometimes elsewhere. Potential applicants should first read the competition rules. An on-line application form can be accessed from a link at the bottom of the rules page until the end of June 15, Eastern time (11:59 pm New York/Toronto)

Read more at: http://www.journalismforum.ca/home/fff-1-in-progress/portenier-under-constuction

UNPFII Chair at the 27th Session on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

The Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), Ms. Mariam Wallet Aboubakrine, intervened today via video message at the 27th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

See video here: https://bit.ly/2Grqiod

For more information on the session click here: https://bit.ly/2IwYZuf

Source: UNPFII News

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The Game-Changers: 5 Inspiring Women You Need To Know Now

Mikaela Jade

Over the last ten years, the Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award have celebrated some of the most inspiring women in Australia. This year, founder and CEO of technology company Indigital, Mikaela Jade, took out the prestigious Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award (at an event hosted by Freida Pinto none-the-less!), which recognises the success and vision of up-and-coming entrepreneurial women – specifically those under 40 years old.

Jade was spurred to develop the first-of-its-kind app, Indigital Storytelling, after discovering she had Indigenous heritage at the age of 29. From there, she focused on bringing to life the cultural stories, places and artworks of the elders through the use of technology, effectively bridging the gap between generations.

The Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award given to Jade is a nod to the brand’s founder, Madame Clicquot, who took over the company’s reins at the tender age of 27, and went on to invent Rose Champagne blend in 1818 through the use of pioneering techniques that are still used today.

In May 2018, Jade was also awarded the Creative Visionary accolade and overall Judge’s Award at the InStyle and Audi Women Of Style awards.

Read full article here: https://www.instylemag.com.au/inspiring-women-changing-the-world?utm_source=FacebookPaid&utm_campaign=CPV&utm_content=veuve

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NJ Town Hauled Into Court by Ramapough Nation

NEWARK, N.J. (CN) – A Native American tribe brought a federal complaint Monday that accuses a New Jersey town and homeowner’s association of levying illegal fines and trying to intimidate them into stopping open-air prayers on ceremonial grounds.

Represented by attorney Valeria Gheorghiu in the lawsuit, the Ramapough Lenape Nation claims town officials have used zoning ordinances and nearly $500,000 in fines to force it off private property on 95 Halifax Road in Mahwah, N.J.

The land is “a sacred site of immense importance to the Ramapoughs,” and is used for religious ceremonies involving Mesingw masks, pipe ceremonies and sweat-lodge sessions, the complaint states.

At the behest of a homeowner’s association, the complaint says the Ramapoughs have faced a “historical pattern and practice of harassment” from Mahwah intended to drive them off the land.

For the past several weeks, according to the complaint, the Ramapoughs have faced daily fines of up to $12,500 per day for using the land for open-air prayer, carving the Mesingws masks into tree trunks, and erecting a stone altar.

“The Ramapough Lenape Nation is being attacked by the town of Mahway and the Polo Club,” the 46-page lawsuit states.

The Ramapough tribe, sometimes referred to disparagingly as “Jackson Whites,” has been embroiled in a number of lawsuits over the last couple years with Mahwah over the site, as well as skirmishes with state officials over a proposed pipeline through their land.

The tribe claims it acquired the rights to the land in 1995 as a private gift from developer Charles Elmes, and its members have conducted prayers and ceremonies on it for decades.

Starting in the 1990s, however, Mahwah allegedly began using various tactics to push the tribe off the land, including condemning homes occupied by tribe members and issuing several zoning infractions.

According to the suit, a member of the Polo Club told tribal Chief Dwaine Perry that, if the tribe did not sell the land, “unnamed members of the Polo Club were prepared to attack the Ramapough Lenape Nation.”

Other club members and town officials have allegedly said they wanted “something done” to remove the prayer rocks on the sacred sites. The complaint quotes town attorney Brian Chewcaskie as asking during a council meeting: “Do we go in and take the rocks down ourselves?”

Since then the tribe says they have heard gunshots at night, suffered slashed tires and tents, and faced other incidents of vandalism. The Polo Club has also allegedly hired a public relations firm to smear the tribe in the media and has called police several times following complaints from neighbors to intimidate the tribe.

“We’re willing to talk to them in good faith, but we’re not going to give up our rights,” Steven Smith, a member of and adviser to the tribe, said in an interview. “We are the decedents of the original people of Manhattan. This land is part of what little we have left and they want to take that.”

Smith denied that tribe members are breaking the law when they pray on the land, saying town officials are rewriting laws so that they drive the tribe off the land.

“This isn’t law, this is Jim Crow,” he said.

In 2018, according to the suit, the town attorney said the town would issues rules to prohibit prayer on the site and to remove the tribe’s sacred alter from the site. A Bergen County judge denied a proposed injunction by the town and Polo Club in December to destroy the sacred sites and prevent religious ceremonies on the land.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction against removal of the tribe’s sacred altar and prayer circle, as well as to prevent the fines.

Mahwah has clashed with other groups, including a group of Orthodox Jews whom the town had tried to prevent from setting up religious boundaries known as eruvs. The town backed down from its ordinance prohibiting the eruvs and settled earlier this year with the group.

An email to Chewcaskie seeking comment was not immediately returned. A representative for the Mahwah mayor’s office declined to comment on the suit.

Gheorghiu, an attorney for the tribe, did not immediately return an email seeking comment, and her voicemail box was full.

Source: https://www.courthousenews.com/nj-town-hauled-into-court-by-ramapough-nation/

Questionnaire: Business and Human rights - Inter-American Standards

The Special Rapporteurship on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights (SRESCER) of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) initiates a public consultation in order to receive information for the preparation of the thematic report on "Business and Human Rights: Inter-American Standards".

Download Questionnaire here: 

http://www.oas.org/en/iachr/docs/pdf/2018/CuestionarioEmpresasDDHH-EN.pdf

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UN Climate Change Launches First-Ever Annual Report

UN Climate Change News, 30 April 2018 – UN Climate Change today launched its first-ever Annual Report, laying out the key 2017 achievements and pointing to the future of the climate change process.

"Climate Change is the single biggest threat to life, security and prosperity on Earth," said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. “This annual report shows how UN Climate Change is doing everything it can to support, encourage and build on the global response to climate change.”

The report covers many areas of the 2017 work of UN Climate Change, which includes the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement, as well as their bodies, institutional arrangements, organs and the secretariat.

For example, at the UN Climate Change conference (COP23) presided over by Fiji last November, almost 30,000 people from all levels came together in Bonn, Germany, to drive action on climate change. The conference saw financial commitments amounting to almost USD 1 billion to tackle climate change.

Governments took key decisions, among them launching the Talanoa Dialogue, the first-ever Gender Action Plan, a platform for indigenous peoples and local communities, and an agreement on agriculture.

Throughout 2017, UN Climate Change continued to deliver on its core tasks: supporting the intergovernmental process, bringing transparency to climate commitments, supporting Parties in building resilience and adapting to climate change, facilitating the mobilization of finance and diffusion of technology, and fostering cooperation with non-Party stakeholders to realize the Paris Agreement’s potential.

The report also looks at the outlook for the year ahead, including increasing the number of ratifications of the Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol so it can enter into force, the Talanoa Dialogue which will inform and inspire Parties as they increase their commitments, and adopting the outcomes of the work programme of the Paris Agreement at the end of 2018.

“Throughout 2018 and beyond, let us do all in our power, together, to accelerate action,” said Ms. Espinosa. “Only by doing so can we succeed in protecting our planet from climate change and securing a low-carbon, sustainable future.”

Countries are now gathered in Bonn focused on critical interim work leading to the UN Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Katowice, Poland, including preparation of the Paris Agreement Work Programme, which will guide implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Read the full UN Climate Change Annual Report 2017.

Students build tiny homes to tackle Alberta First Nation's housing crisis

A southern Alberta First Nation is testing out a tiny home pilot project in the hope of both tackling its housing crisis and setting up high school students for careers in the trades.

On Wednesday, Piikani Nation broke ground on the federally-funded pilot program. Over the coming eight weeks, a dozen high school students from ages 15 to 18 will work from the ground up to build a one-bedroom tiny home for a local elder.

"We're giving these kids an experience as a team, empowerment, pride and a sense of community," said Jay Noel, the program manager and business development community partner with Your Choice Homes.

Read the full story here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/students-build-tiny-homes-to-tackle-alberta-first-nation-s-housing-crisis-1.4615659

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President of the General Assembly's Youth Dialogue - 30 May 2018

  DEADLINES:    20 April 2018 – Apply to speak or for Stakeholder Selection Committee  6 May 2018 – Apply to attend as an observer    PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS IN FULL BEFORE COMPLETING THE FORM.    The President of the General Assembly is convening a one-day Youth Dialogue on Wednesday, 30 May 2018 at United Nations Headquarters in New York with the aim to discuss education, employment, and the prevention of radicalization leading to violent extremism. The format of the Youth Dialogue consists of an opening segment and two interactive chats in the morning, and a standing lunch and an “open mic” session in the afternoon. Additionally, there will also be an interactive space showcasing youth participation and empowerment.   At the request of the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA), UN-NGLS is facilitating a process to identify stakeholders to speak during the "open mic" session, and for stakeholders to apply to attend this event as observers.   For the selected speakers:  Travel funding will be available from the UN to support the participation of two of the selected stakeholder speakers in this meeting. The selected speakers will need to make their own visa arrangements, if needed for travel to the US, and cover the cost of the visa.  For approved observers: Travel funding is NOT available from the UN to support the participation of stakeholder observers in this meeting.  Representatives not selected for the speaking roles who are approved to attend the meeting as observers will need to secure their own funding for travel, accommodation and subsistence, and also need to make their own visa arrangements, if applicable. The United Nations cannot provide invitation letters to stakeholders approved to attend the meeting as observers.    Before submitting an application to attend the event, please:   1) Review the background information for this event:   https://www.un.org/pga/72/event-latest/youth-dialogue/   2) Confirm that the candidate meets all of the following criteria:     • is a representative of a stakeholder organization that has had a long-term programmatic focus on youth issues;      • is between 16 to 30 years old in order to apply for any of the speaking roles (applicants who are older then 30 years old may apply to attend the event as observers using the form below);     • is able to communicate in at least one of the six official languages of the United Nations;      • has demonstrated the ability to engage constructively with a variety of stakeholders;     • is available to be in New York on 30 May 2018;     • has a visa for travel to New York, or is able to obtain one for travel to New York without assistance from the UN. Please check with the US Embassy or Consulate in the candidate's country or place of residence.  The prospective participants would include representatives of youth-focused or youth-led organizations, networks or movements and have the ability to consult with a wider group of young people.  The organizations and networks represented should:      • adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles and values of the Charter of the UN;     • demonstrate a commitment to promoting the priorities of the World Programme of Action for Youth and the 2030 Agenda;     • have internal democratic and transparent process of leadership, decision-making and consultation.  UN-NGLS will facilitate a stakeholder Selection Committee for the evaluation and short-listing of the candidates for the speaking roles to be presented to OPGA for their consideration. The Committee will ensure regional and gender balance, and diversity of constituency and expertise in the overall set of candidates. The President of the General Assembly will make the final selection of the speakers for this event.  Apply for the Stakeholder  Selection Committee  here by  20   April 2018:   http://bit.ly/30-May-PGA-Youth-Apply-Selection-Committee   Apply for speaking roles or to attend the event using the form below. Deadlines are at the top of this form.  All applications received to speak at the event, or attend as an observer can be viewed here:  http://bit.ly/30-May-PGA-Youth-Received  For the questions preceded by a # in the form, responses will not be made public.

DEADLINES:

20 April 2018 – Apply to speak or for Stakeholder Selection Committee
6 May 2018 – Apply to attend as an observer

PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS IN FULL BEFORE COMPLETING THE FORM. 

The President of the General Assembly is convening a one-day Youth Dialogue on Wednesday, 30 May 2018 at United Nations Headquarters in New York with the aim to discuss education, employment, and the prevention of radicalization leading to violent extremism. The format of the Youth Dialogue consists of an opening segment and two interactive chats in the morning, and a standing lunch and an “open mic” session in the afternoon. Additionally, there will also be an interactive space showcasing youth participation and empowerment.

At the request of the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA), UN-NGLS is facilitating a process to identify stakeholders to speak during the "open mic" session, and for stakeholders to apply to attend this event as observers.

For the selected speakers:

Travel funding will be available from the UN to support the participation of two of the selected stakeholder speakers in this meeting. The selected speakers will need to make their own visa arrangements, if needed for travel to the US, and cover the cost of the visa.

For approved observers:
Travel funding is NOT available from the UN to support the participation of stakeholder observers in this meeting.

Representatives not selected for the speaking roles who are approved to attend the meeting as observers will need to secure their own funding for travel, accommodation and subsistence, and also need to make their own visa arrangements, if applicable. The United Nations cannot provide invitation letters to stakeholders approved to attend the meeting as observers. 

Before submitting an application to attend the event, please:

1) Review the background information for this event: 
https://www.un.org/pga/72/event-latest/youth-dialogue/

2) Confirm that the candidate meets all of the following criteria:
    • is a representative of a stakeholder organization that has had a long-term programmatic focus on youth issues;

    • is between 16 to 30 years old in order to apply for any of the speaking roles (applicants who are older then 30 years old may apply to attend the event as observers using the form below);
    • is able to communicate in at least one of the six official languages of the United Nations;

    • has demonstrated the ability to engage constructively with a variety of stakeholders;
    • is available to be in New York on 30 May 2018;
    • has a visa for travel to New York, or is able to obtain one for travel to New York without assistance from the UN. Please check with the US Embassy or Consulate in the candidate's country or place of residence.

The prospective participants would include representatives of youth-focused or youth-led organizations, networks or movements and have the ability to consult with a wider group of young people.

The organizations and networks represented should:

    • adhere to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles and values of the Charter of the UN;
    • demonstrate a commitment to promoting the priorities of the World Programme of Action for Youth and the 2030 Agenda;
    • have internal democratic and transparent process of leadership, decision-making and consultation.

UN-NGLS will facilitate a stakeholder Selection Committee for the evaluation and short-listing of the candidates for the speaking roles to be presented to OPGA for their consideration. The Committee will ensure regional and gender balance, and diversity of constituency and expertise in the overall set of candidates. The President of the General Assembly will make the final selection of the speakers for this event.

Apply for the Stakeholder Selection Committee here by 20 April 2018:
http://bit.ly/30-May-PGA-Youth-Apply-Selection-Committee

Apply for speaking roles or to attend the event using the form below. Deadlines are at the top of this form.

All applications received to speak at the event, or attend as an observer can be viewed here:
http://bit.ly/30-May-PGA-Youth-Received
For the questions preceded by a # in the form, responses will not be made public.

Key Questions on Patent Disclosure Requirements for Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge

Now available: WIPO Study of "Key Questions on Patent Disclosure Requirements for Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge"

Policymakers and other stakeholders often raise operational questions and seek practical and empirical information about patent disclosure requirements in relation to genetic resources and traditional knowledge. This authoritative study offers a comprehensive and scrupulously neutral overview of key legal and operational questions arising within this context.

Download the Report here: http://www.wipo.int/publications/en/details.jsp?id=4194

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'When you do wrong, you apologize': Indigenous leaders disappointed with Pope Francis

Residential school survivor saddened Pope won't come to Canada to issue apology

A residential school survivor says he's disgusted Pope Francis has decided not to apologize for the Catholic Church's role in the schools.

"They haven't changed their position from day one. And they never will. The only thing (the Church) could say is sorry he got caught, that's all," said Ted Quewezance, who was abused while attending St. Phillip's residential school near Kamsack.

The Pope's decision was announced this week in an open letter "to the Indigenous peoples of Canada" by Bishop Lionel Gendron, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The call for an apology on Canadian soil was one of the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made the request during a visit last year to the Vatican.

"The Holy Father is aware of the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which he takes seriously," stated the letter. "As far as Call to Action #58 is concerned, after carefully considering the request and extensive dialogue with the Bishops of Canada, he felt that he could not personally respond."

According to the letter, the Pope encouraged bishops to continue working with Indigenous elders and others and to "collaborate on concrete projects" toward reconciliation.

Apology should have been simple: survivor

Quewezance, one of the first survivors to speak openly about the abuses he faced, said the apology should have been a simple matter.

"They know they did wrong. When you do wrong, you apologize," he said.

Former Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Felix Thomas, Regina Archdiocese Archbishop Don Bolen and others have been working for months to bring the Pope to Wanuskewin Heritage Park near Saskatoon for the apology.

Both said Wednesday they were disappointed.

"Most First Nations people that went to residential schools should be disappointed. It was a dark time in history. We were confident he would come here," said Thomas, who now sits on the Wanuskewin board.

Current STC Chief Mark Arcand said residential schools damaged the students irreparably, but that the legacy continues. He said the high rates of illness, incarceration and other maladies in Indigenous people can be traced in part to residential schools.

Pope apologized for wrongs in Ireland, Peru

Arcand noted the Pope has apologized to victims of abuse and colonization in Peru and Ireland.

"Why are First Nations people not allowed to get the same thing. We're looking for the same respect," Arcand said.

"We hope you reconsider. The door is open. You're always welcome to Treaty Six territory."

In 1991, Canadian Catholic Bishops issued an apology, saying, "We are sorry and deeply regret the pain, suffering and alienation that so many experienced" at the residential schools. The TRC call to action had called for the pope to make a public apology on Canadian soil.

Bolen said he and others in the Catholic Church will continue to reach out to the Indigenous community and make amends for the damage caused.

Reconciliation still church's top priority: Bishop

"We're not shying away from that here. I would say that our work with Indigenous people is our number one pastoral priority in the church here," Bolen said.

Saskatoon Diocese Bishop Mark Hagemoen agreed.

"I too regret that Pope Francis is not coming at this time," Hagemoen said in a written statement.

"Our Indigenous communities are highlighting the need for concrete actions and positive relationships to accompany the many words and expressions of commitment."

The Catholic Church ran more of Canada's residential schools than any other church. More than 150,000 students attended the schools, which first opened in the 1870s, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Saskatchewan had more students and more schools per capita than any other province.

Author: Jason Warick
Source: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/when-you-do-wrong-you-apologize-indigenous-leaders-disappointed-with-pope-francis-1.4596824

 Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Philippines seeks 'terrorist' tag for 600 alleged communist guerrillas

MANILA (Reuters) - A U.N. special rapporteur, a former Philippine lawmaker and four former Catholic priests are among more than 600 alleged communist guerrillas the Philippines wants declared “terrorists”, according to a government petition filed in court.

The justice ministry last month said it wanted a Manila court to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), “terrorist” bodies, but made no mention of individuals it would also target.

The petition, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, suggests President Rodrigo Duterte is following through on his threats to destroy a movement he now regards as duplicitous.

Since taking office in July 2016, Duterte freed some communist leaders and put leftists in his cabinet, to show his commitment to finding a permanent solution to a five-decade conflict.

But he abandoned the process in November, after what he called repeated attacks by the NPA during talks.

The petition said the rebels were “using acts of terror” to sow fear and panic to overthrow the government.

Duterte has been regularly venting his fury at the Maoists and considers them as much of a security threat as the domestic Islamist militant groups that have pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

By declaring groups and individuals terrorists, the government would be able to monitor them more closely, track finances and curb access to resources, among other measures.

But Carlos Conde, Philippines researcher with the New York-based Human Rights Watch, said the petition was “a virtual hit list”.

“There’s a long history in the Philippines of the state security forces and pro-government militias assassinating people labeled as NPA members or supporters,” he said in a statement.

‘BASELESS, MALICIOUS’

The government petition included Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, appointed in 2014 as U.N. special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, who was listed as a senior member of the Maoist rebel group.

Tauli-Corpuz denounced the government, calling the complaint “baseless, malicious and irresponsible”.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein defended the independence, impartiality and expertise of special rapporteurs in the face of smear and hate campaigns, some involving incitement to violence.

“Instead of attacking the messenger, states and other stakeholders should engage and address the human rights concerns raised by mandate-holders,” he said in Geneva.

Two other U.N. special rapporteurs, Michel Forst and Catalina Devandas Aguilar, expressed “grave concern” about Tauli-Corpuz being on the list, and said she was being punished by Duterte for speaking against some of his policies.

Also on the list were four former Catholic priests and former congressman Satur Ocampo, who told Reuters he would challenge any “terrorist” label.

The petition included 18 top leaders of the CPP, including founder Jose Maria Sison and peace negotiator Luis Jalandoni, both based in the Netherlands for three decades.

There was no basis for the charge of terrorism, said Sison, who was a mentor of Duterte when he was at university, although the two are now bitter rivals.

“Duterte is engaged in a wild anti-communist witchhunt under the guise of anti-terrorism,” he said. “Duterte is truly the No. 1 terrorist in the Philippines.”

Duterte’s spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.

More than 40,000 people have been killed in the Maoist rebellion. Negotiations to end the revolt have been on and off since being brokered by Norway in 1986.

Author: Manuel Mogato
Source: http://reut.rs/2plu6Se

Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in GENEVA; Editing by Martin Petty, Robert Birsel

Permanent Forum stands by indigenous human rights defenders in the Philippines

The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues expresses its grave concerns about the Philippine government’s accusation against indigenous human rights defenders as terrorist group affiliates.

The indigenous human rights defenders include, among others, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Joan Carling, former member of the Permanent Forum and Jose Molintas, former member of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

Read more at the UNPFII Website: 

https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/news/2018/03/unpfii-indigenous-human-rights-defenders-in-the-philippines/#more-28749

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President of the General Assembly's High-level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace 24-25 April 2018

Stakeholders: Apply to speak or attend

DEADLINES:

18 March 2018 – Apply to speak or for Stakeholder Selection Committee
31 March 2018 – Apply to attend as an observer

PLEASE READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS IN FULL BEFORE COMPLETING THE FORM. 

The President of the General Assembly is convening a two-day high-level meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday, 24-25 April 2018 at United Nations Headquarters in New York with the aim to discuss ways to support peace in practice. The format of the high-level meeting consists of an opening segment, a high-level plenary debate, four interactive dialogues and a closing segment.

At the request of the Office of the President of the General Assembly (OPGA), UN-NGLS and the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office are facilitating a process to identify 8 stakeholder respondents to speak from the floor during the interactive dialogues, and for stakeholders to apply to attend this event as observers.

Two stakeholder respondents are to be identified for each of the following 4 interactive dialogues through this process:

1) Interactive Dialogue I - Sustainable Financing for Peace

2) Interactive Dialogue II - Strengthening the United Nations Work on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace in the Field

3) Interactive Dialogue III - Strategic Partnerships with the United Nations in the Field for Peace

4) Interactive Dialogue IV - UN Comprehensive and Integrated Approach to Peace

For the selected respondents:

> Travel funding will be available from the UN to support the participation of the selected stakeholder respondents in this meeting. The selected respondents will need to make their own visa arrangements, if needed for travel to the US, and cover the cost of the visa.

For approved observers:
Travel funding is NOT available from the UN to support the participation of stakeholder observers in this meeting.

Representatives not selected for the speaking roles who are approved to attend the meeting as observers will need to secure their own funding for travel, accommodation and subsistence, and also need to make their own visa arrangements, if applicable. The United Nations cannot provide invitation letters to stakeholders approved to attend the meeting as observers. 

Before submitting an application to attend the event, please:

1) Review the background information for this event: 
https://www.un.org/pga/72/event-latest/sustaining-peace/

2) Confirm that the candidate meets all of the following criteria:
    • is a representative of a stakeholder organization that has had a long-term programmatic focus on peacebuilding and sustaining peace;
    • has demonstrated the ability to engage constructively with a variety of stakeholders;
    • is available to be in New York on 24-25 April 2018;
    • has a visa for travel to New York, or is able to obtain one for travel to New York without assistance from the UN. Please check with the US Embassy or Consulate in the candidate's country or place of residence. 

UN-NGLS will facilitate a stakeholder Selection Committee for the evaluation and short-listing of the candidates for the respondent speaking roles to be presented to OPGA for their consideration. The Committee will ensure regional and gender balance, and diversity of constituency and expertise in the overall set of candidates. The President of the General Assembly will make the final selection of the speakers for this event.

Apply for the Stakeholder Selection Committee here by 18 March 2018:
http://bit.ly/24-25-April-PGA-Peace-SC-Apply
Apply for respondent speaking roles or to attend the event using the form below. Deadlines are at the top of this form.

All applications received to speak at the event, or attend as an observer can be viewed here:
http://bit.ly/24-25-April-PGA-Peace-Received

For the questions preceded by a # in the form, responses will not be made public. 

IMPORTANT NOTES:
1) Government bodies and intergovernmental organizations please do not use this registration form. Please observe standard protocol arrangements via your official UN delegation or organization.

2) Capacity for observers is limited for this event. During application review, considerations will include sufficiency and quality of responses to the application questions, relevant expertise, regional and gender balance, and diversity of expertise, constituency, and age.

3) Applicants will be added to the UN-NGLS email list to receive notifications of decisions. An option to unsubscribe will be provided for if you do not wish to remain on the list.

Information Source: https://fs22.formsite.com/res/formLoginNew

United Nations General Assembly