International News

Millions of forest-dwelling indigenous people in India to be evicted

Critics say supreme court ruling constitutes ‘mass eviction in name of conservation’

Millions of Indians face eviction after the country’s supreme court ruled that indigenous people illegally living on forest land should move.

Campaigners for the rights of tribal and forest-dwelling people have called the court’s decision on Wednesday “an unprecedented disaster” and “the biggest mass eviction in the name of conservation, ever”.

The ruling came in response to petitions filed by various wildlife conservation groups, which wanted the court to declare the 2006 Forest Rights Act invalid. The act gives forest dwelling people the right to their ancestral lands, including those in specially “protected” areas that contain sanctuaries and wildlife parks to conserve wild life. The groups told the court that “tribal” people in 20 states had encroached illegally on these protected areas, jeopardising efforts to protect wildlife and forests.

See full story at the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/feb/22/millions-of-forest-dwelling-indigenous-people-in-india-to-be-evicted

A woman sits with her belongings after forest officers demolished her house during an eviction drive on the outskirts of Gauhati, India in August 2017. Photograph: Anupam Nath/AP

A woman sits with her belongings after forest officers demolished her house during an eviction drive on the outskirts of Gauhati, India in August 2017. Photograph: Anupam Nath/AP

Call for Applications: Senior Indigenous Fellow

Please share this very important Call for Applications to your organisations and networks, the newly launched Senior Indigenous Fellow position based in the Indigenous Peoples and Minority Section of OHCHR.

Under the guidance and supervision of the Chief of Section and the coordinator of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples, the Senior Fellow will contribute to the activities of the Section by providing substantive, administrative and technical support to the mandate and activities of the UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Peoples; organises human rights trainings and capacity building activities for the grantees of the Fund; supports the development of comprehensive and inter-active capacity building tools, fundraising activities; and develops outreach and dissemination strategy to improve the Fund’s support to its grantees.

 Deadline of application: Friday, 8 February 2019.
Click here for Application


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Marchers for Life Harass Indigenous Elder at Indigenous Peoples March

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the first annual Indigenous People’s March in Washington D.C., videos of a large group of youth wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and other Trump paraphernalia taunting a Native American elder playing a ceremonial drum and singing a song.

According to reports, the youth group of youth was in attendance for the March for Life, a pro-life action occurring at the same time as the Indigenous People’s March. According to organizers of the Indigenous Peoples March present for the exchange, Phillips was aggressively surrounded by more than 30 counter-protestors.

The display demonstrates Indigenous concerns about marginalization, disrespect and need to listen to traditional knowledge.

See full article here: https://www.lakotacountrytimes.com/articles/marchers-for-life-harass-indigenous-elder-at-indigenous-peoples-march/

Indigenous Peoples March 2019

Indigenous Peoples March 2019

Bolsonaro’s Davos speech promised anguish in indigenous lands

Comment: Presenting an acceptable Brazil to global investors, the president failed to mention measures he has taken that are already fuelling violence in indigenous lands

By Dinamam Tuxá

The first speech by president Jair Bolsonaro on an international stage, on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland causes immense concern to Brazil’s indigenous peoples.

When Bolsonaro said Brazil has used very little of its land for agriculture and livestock (an estimated 9% and 20% of the national territory respectively), the president repeats a narrative that overstates indigenous control of land that was central to his election campaign, which has fuelled an alarming increase in violence in the Amazon and other rural areas of Brazil.

In less than a month since the president took office, several indigenous territories have been invaded by thugs hoping to take possession of forests that are still standing because the nation’s indigenous peoples have prevented their destruction. Brazil’s indigenous peoples have been vital in combating the causes and consequences of climate change.

In his speech in Switzerland, Bolsonaro made clear that agribusiness and mining interests will be allowed to expand their boundaries.

What has not been said is that Bolsonaro has already removed staff and funding from the federal agencies responsible for the protection of the environment and for guaranteeing human rights in Brazil. He has weakened the ability of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) to do its job in advancing the demarcation and recognition of indigenous lands, and denied the agency a voice in the environmental licensing process required for any new projects introduced on indigenous lands, including some of the most remote and intact of the primary forests in the Amazon.

See full article: Click here


Federal environment agents destroy vehicles loaded with logs inside the Aripuanã Park Indigenous Territory, where logging is a crime. Jair Bolsonaro aims to cut the agency's funding (Photo: Fabiano Maisonnave

Federal environment agents destroy vehicles loaded with logs inside the Aripuanã Park Indigenous Territory, where logging is a crime. Jair Bolsonaro aims to cut the agency's funding (Photo: Fabiano Maisonnave

Killings Of Guatemala's Indigenous Activists Raise Specter Of Human Rights Crisis

For three days last week, thousands of Guatemalans blocked roads and major highways to protest the Central American country's slide toward a constitutional crisis. The protest organizers included groups that have long demanded justice: indigenous communities and campesinos, as rural and farm workers are called.

Indigenous citizens, many dressed in colorful traditional clothing, came out partly to protest the Guatemalan president's recent expulsion of a United Nations-backed commission investigating corruption in the country. Since 2007, the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, known by its Spanish initials CICIG and funded by the U.N., the United States and the European Union, has worked with Guatemalan justice agencies to target corrupt officials.

In the highly unequal society that is Guatemala, many Maya believe any strengthening of the justice system will protect indigenous rights granted under the country's constitution and peace accords.

The country's indigenous people therefore have a strong motivation to lobby for the rule of law. Maya communities bore the brunt of almost four decades of a civil war that ended in 1996, leaving over 200,000 casualties, the majority indigenous Guatemalans, according to the United Nations. Now the mostly Maya organizations and many human rights groups worry that the violence is making a comeback: In just the last year, 26 members of mostly indigenous campesino organizations have been killed.

Read full article here: https://www.kunc.org/post/killings-guatemalas-indigenous-activists-raise-specter-human-rights-crisis#stream/0

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Brazil’s Bolsonaro targets minorities on 1st day in office

Far-right leader curbs land rights for indigenous groups and removes LGBT issues from purview of human rights ministry

By MAURICIO SAVARESE

SAO PAULO (AP) — Newly installed President Jair Bolsonaro issued executive orders targeting Brazil’s indigenous groups, descendants of slaves and the LGBT community in the first hours of his administration, moving quickly after a campaign in which the far-right leader said he would radically overhaul many aspects of life in Latin America’s largest nation.

One of the orders issued late Tuesday, hours after his inauguration, likely will make it all but impossible for new lands to be identified and demarcated for indigenous communities. Areas set aside for “Quilombolas,” as descendants of former slaves are known, are also affected by the decision.

Another order removed the concerns of the LGBT community from consideration by the new human rights ministry.

Read the full story: Click here

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro holds a ceremony to present his cabinet members at the presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on January 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro holds a ceremony to present his cabinet members at the presidential palace in Brasilia, Brazil, on January 2, 2019. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)

‘We can do it’: Yalitza Aparicio’s Vogue cover hailed by indigenous women

The indigenous Mexican actor Yalitza Aparicio has made history by appearing on the cover of Vogue Mexico, in a first for a country where light-skinned people dominate the media landscape – despite an overwhelmingly mestizo and indigenous population.

Aparicio, who has won acclaim for her debut performance in Alfonso Cuarón’s new film Roma, wears a Gucci dress on the magazine’s December edition, next to the title “In tiu’n ntav’i” – “A star is born” – in the indigenous Mixtec language.

Article source: The Guardian

Roma actor’s Vogue Mexico cover is first for country where light-skinned people dominate media landscape


Roma actor’s Vogue Mexico cover is first for country where light-skinned people dominate media landscape

Trump administration moves closer to opening Alaskan Arctic to drilling

The Trump administration has moved a step closer to opening the Alaskan Arctic to oil and gas drilling as soon as next year.

The interior department’s Bureau of Land Management has published its draft environmental impact study, following Congress voting in 2017 to allow drilling within the Arctic national wildlife refuge.

Leasing the long-protected Arctic area could be most problematic for indigenous populations, many of which rely on subsistence hunting and fishing, according to the government assessment.

Article Source: The Guardian

Native American leaders hold signs against drilling in the Arctic refuge outside the Capitol in Washington DC on 11 December. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Native American leaders hold signs against drilling in the Arctic refuge outside the Capitol in Washington DC on 11 December. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ resolution adopted by the 3rd committee

The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly at its 73rd session adopted a new resolution on the “Rights of indigenous peoples”. The resolution reaffirmed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which addresses the individual and collective rights of indigenous peoples.

It reaffirmed also the outcome document of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, held in New York on 22 and 23 September 2014, 7 in which Heads of State and Government, ministers and representatives of Member States reiterated the important and continuing role of the United Nations in promoting and protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, recalling the inclusive preparatory process for the high-level plenary meeting, including the comprehensive engagement of the representatives of indigenous peoples, and welcoming and reaffirming the commitments, measures and efforts undertaken by States, the United Nations system, indigenous peoples and other actors in its implementation.

Read the full resolution here: العربية | 中文 | English | Français | Русский | Español

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Mission statement about Indigenous Peoples in Ecuador

United Nations Special Rapporteur UNSR Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has made a mission statement after visiting Ecuador the last couple of weeks.

“My main concern has been how to recover the path towards plurinationalism. I must conclude that there is no way to make the commitments in the Constitution true without the full recognition and implementation of indigenous peoples' rights in accordance with international human rights law. Protection of rights of nature cannot be achieved without protection of stewards. I am hopeful that definite steps towards this goal can be achieved through the ongoing open dialogue between the Ecuadorian State and indigenous peoples and nationalities.”

Read the full statement here http://unsr.vtaulicorpuz.org/…/stat…/267-end-mission-ecuador

Leerlo en español aquí http://unsr.vtaulicorpuz.org/…/decl…/267-end-mission-ecuador

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New app aims to connect Indigenous entrepreneurs

A new mobile application #thismymob aimed at connecting and supporting Indigenous entrepreneurs is set to be launched by the University of Technology Sydney in collaboration with the University of Melbourne. Creator Christopher Lawrence told Sky News a remaining 18-month study period will hone the app before young Indigenous people can effectively wield it to establish themselves as coders, programmers and entrepreneurs. The app is expected to officially launch in 2020. Image: YouTube / #thismymob UTS

Source: https://www.skynews.com.au/details/_5854393941001?Blog=7

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New global report on the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in wetland management

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands has a long-standing commitment to promote, recognize and strengthen the active participation of indigenous peoples, and local communities as key stakeholders for conservation and integrated wetland management (Resolution XII.2, para 19). In celebration of the ‘International Day for the World’s Indigenous Peoples’, which takes place on August 9th each year, the Ramsar Convention Secretariat has published an initial report on ‘The relationship of indigenous peoples and local communities with wetlands.’ This publicationprovides a compilation of the Convention’s available data on indigenous peoples and local communities, as requested by the Ramsar Conference of the Parties (Resolution XII.2, para 20).  

The report also presents an overview of the Convention’s current policy framework, and provides examples of approaches from other relevant environmental policy processes, international law and practices that the Contracting Parties could consider in order to strengthen the Convention’s inclusive and participatory approach to wetland conservation and wise use.

For Report: Download

Source: https://www.ramsar.org/news/new-global-report-on-the-participation-of-indigenous-peoples-and-local-communities-in-wetland

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Newly Released Video Shows Indigenous Man Thought to be Last of His Amazon Tribe

(SAO PAULO) — No one knows his name. No one knows the name of the people he came from. And he appears to have lived alone in Brazil’s Amazon for 22 years.

Video released for this first time this week by Brazil’s Indian Foundation shows rare images of a so-called uncontacted indigenous man who is believed to be the last surviving member of his tribe. The footage was shot in 2011, though a team that tracks him says it last saw evidence he was alive in May.

By SARAH DILORENZO / AP July 21, 2018

Source: http://time.com/5345049/video-man-last-of-tribe-brazil/

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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

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

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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'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