28-12-12

Mapuche Indians Fight New Airport in Southern Chile

This is a project that reflects the occupation…of Mapuche territory,” said Iván Reyes, an indigenous leader staunchly opposed to the construction of an international airport in the southern Chilean region of Araucanía.

Reyes, an agricultural technician, said the construction project was approved thanks to an environmental impact study “based on lies” that was carried out by Arcadis Geotécnica, the Chilean subsidiary of a Netherlands-based international consulting and engineering company.

The study “says there will be no impact on communities in the area. But in a later analysis, we detected that the base line and measurements had been manipulated,” he said.

The new airport, whose construction was actually approved in 2005, is now one of the most high-profile projects of the right-wing government of Sebastián Piñera. It is being built in Quepe, 20 km from the city of Temuco and nearly 700 km south of Santiago.

The La Araucanía New International Airport, which will replace the Maquehue Airport, will have a 2,440-metre runway and a 5,000-square-metre passenger terminal.

The Chilean company Belfi, which was granted the concession for 20 years, is building the new airport.

“This is an emblematic project for this region,” the governor of La Araucanía, Andrés Molina, told IPS.

“Our Maquehue Airport is one of the worst-situated in the country, with a runway that is hard to land on, and with a difficult approach, because of the fog over the hills of Temuco,” he said.

Temuco, which is halfway between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes foothills, is in the middle of prairies, pasture and farmland, and forests.

The new airport will be built in this agricultural and forested area, at a cost of more than 120 million dollars. “Tourism in this area is growing by 30 percent a year, which offers interesting prospects,” Molina said.

He proudly noted that 700 million dollars were invested in projects in the region in 2012, up from 79 million dollars in 2009.

Although a few Mapuche communities support the new airport, which they see as a step forward for the region in terms of economic and cultural development, many others are staunchly opposed, arguing that it will undermine biodiversity and the environment, and will destroy their ancestral territory.

The Mapuche, Chile’s largest indigenous group, number nearly one million in this country of over 16 million people, and the struggle for their ancestral land in the south of the country has frequently pitted them against large landholders, logging companies and other private interests.

“This is the straw that broke the camel’s back, in terms of economic interference in Mapuche territory,” Fidel Tranamil, a traditional “machi” or healer, told IPS. “We already have the logging and hydroelectric companies…We are culturally invaded by politics and religion, and the life of the Mapuche people would be put at further risk by the new airport.”

At the age of 23, Tranamil is already a Mapuche leader, in charge of the religious life of his community, Rofue. He is tenaciously opposed to the construction of the airport, which he describes as “a gateway to invade Mapuche territory.”

Tranamil, or “machi Fidel” as he is known by the local community, is one of the most active indigenous leaders in the area. He has been arrested several times, and his home is frequently searched by the police. Since 2005, his mother has been living with seven pellets in her right knee, after a harsh police crackdown on a protest.

Many of Tranamil’s “peñis” (brothers and sisters) have been prosecuted under Chile’s draconian counter-terrorism law, inherited from the 1973-1990 military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet.

The law, which has been widely criticised by international bodies such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, has been used to squelch activism by Mapuche people demanding the return of their ancestral land.

The house where Tranamil and his mother live is warm and quiet. They raise pigs and chickens, and have a small vegetable garden.

“But soon, airliners will be landing every minute. That will not only violate our spiritual life but also our culture and harmony,” he said.

He also said that to build the airport, “between 200 and 300 hectares of native (old-growth) forest will be cut down, and lost forever. It would take 400 years for the trees to grow back to their current height.”

But Molina argued that opposition to large projects like the airport is the work of “leaders who have emerged under the wing of leftist parties, and who don’t care about their communities, but are motivated by ideological concerns.”

Meanwhile, construction of the airport is moving ahead, despite attempts by Mapuche activists to block it, including cases brought in court, which were dismissed.

In September 2011, Tranamil himself turned to the United Nations Human Rights Council to denounce that the airport was being built “without consultation with the concerned communities, in contravention of” International Labour Organisation Convention 169 concerning indigenous and tribal peoples.

But Molina maintained that the communities were consulted. He said that a working group was set up and that the government had been providing support “in the areas of productive development, infrastructure and housing.”

Despite his opposition to the project, Reyes said “the world is not going to end because an airport is built.

“Do you hear the noise from the highway? Later we’ll have the noise of the airplanes, just like we have the high-voltage power lines, and the railroad,” he said, with a resigned tone.

“The important thing is that the airport has reawakened the dormant Mapuche activism and mobilised our communities once again,” he said. “In the wider context, planes flying 100 or 50 metres over our heads are a minor problem.”

  Source : IPS

 

           

 

 

 

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Guyana MPs Support West Papua’s Right Of Self-Determination

Today, 1st December is the 51st anniversary of West Papua’s freedom. It is the day of recognition of West Papua’s identity, symbols and right to be a separate and independent sovereign state.


Our dream of being a free and independent people was crushed by the Indonesia invasion and military occupation in 1963. For 50 years the world has stood by while we defend ourselves with bows and arrows against modern bombers and fighter jets supplied by the western powers. 500,000 Papuans have died. Amnesty International has already confirmed 100,000 deaths.

 

Today is a new day of hope for us. Members of the Guyana Parliament representing 6 parties, have made a series of passionate and principled statements in support of West Papua’s right of self-determination and condemning Indonesia’s occupation of West Papua. Dr Rupert Roopnaraine, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, stated that the MPs were proud to stand in solidarity with the people of West Papua. Drawing on Guyana’s own experiences of resistance against slavery, indentureship and colonialism, Dr Roopnaraine said, “History tells us that oppressed people will not remain oppressed forever……….We tell the oppressors of the people of West Papua that we know oppression is going to be defeated as long as the fire of freedom burns brightly in the hearts and minds of the oppressed.”


Ms Deborah Bakker, the Deputy Speaker, and a representative of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) representing 5 parties acknowledged that large sections of the population of West Papua remain committed to an independent West Papua. She confirmed that APNU would continue to support all legitimate and peaceful activities of the free West Papua Campaign. Mr Nagamootoo of the Alliance for Change expressed outrage that Indonesia should seek to stamp its authority on West Papua as a coloniser.


In a written statement, Rashleigh Jackson, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs for Guyana and a former President of the United Nations Security Council said: “It is time to bring to a successful end the persistent and courageous struggle of the people [of West Papua] for freedom and independence. They deserve international support from the UN and other international organisations, from global civil society, from governments and from non-state actors, and indeed from individuals the world over. The campaign to free West Papua is eminently worthy of support which I give wholeheartedly.”


It was with sorrow that we learned of the arrest of Victor Yeimo, Alius Asso and Usman Yogobi, during a peaceful march yesterday. The MPs demanded their immediate release as well as the release of Filip Karma and other political prisoners.


Despite being in prison, Filep Karma and Buchtar Tabuni sent a message thanking the Guyana MPs for their support: “1. On behalf of West Papuan people, we want to thank to goverment of Guyana welcoming West Papua independence leader to Guyana. 2. We want to thank you all cross Party Parliamentarian support West Papua right for independence 3. We also thank you for people's of Guyana supporting our struggles for independence. 4. We support International Parlementarian for West Papua in Guyana. 5. Please be our voice.”


As I leave Guyana to continue my journey seeking support around the world, I would like to again say thank you to the people of Guyana, the Government and the MPs from the different parties who gave me a warm welcome with open hearts. The Guyanese people have a proud history of standing up against colonialism. I go with a good spirit and I will tell my people that we are no longer alone in our fight for justice and freedom against colonialism.


Benny Wenda

West Papua Independence Leader

 

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Christmas crisis for Canada’s iconic reindeer herd

A reindeer herd which was once the largest in the world has shrunk to a fraction of its former size, official surveys have revealed.

Canada’s George River Herd once numbered 8-900,000, but a recent government survey found only 27,600 animals survive.

The herd’s unprecedented and dramatic decline has left local indigenous people fearful for its survival.

A ‘tsunami of factors’ has been blamed for the decline, which government ministers have called ‘significant and frightening.’

The reindeer, known as caribou in North America, is central to the lives and culture of many indigenous peoples in the sub-Arctic. The 63% population drop just in the last two years has left many of them shocked.

Speaking to Survival, George Rich, an elder from northeast Canada’s Innu people, said, ‘one of the major factors is continued mining and mineral exploration.

‘For example, Quest Minerals has recently announced that it wants to build a road through the heart of the calving grounds, as well as flying helicopters and planes back and forth from exploration sites.’

Canada’s promotion of industrial projects on its land has destroyed large tracts of the reindeer’s grazing grounds, heavily disrupting migratory routes.

The herd’s decline has led some biologists to blame indigenous hunting practices. However the Innu, who have co-existed with the caribou for thousands of years, have been quick to defend themselves.

Rich said, ‘the government always blames the Aboriginal people, but we are deeply connected to the caribou and have lived with them for generations.’

Many Innu are calling for greater control over their territories and resources, and to be treated as equals in decisions that affect their lands and the animals that live there.

Stephen Corry, Survival’s Director said today, ‘It’s easy to blame indigenous peoples for over-hunting because they’ve usually no voice to defend themselves from these accusations. Yet it’s been proven in countless studies that they are the world’s best conservationists. When will governments and scientists realize this? We need to start listening to what indigenous peoples have to say about matters on their own land: they know best.’

 Source : Survival International

 

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Bushmen Beaten, Suffocated And Buried Alive For Killing An Antelope

Paramilitary police have severely beaten two Bushmen, burying one in a shallow grave, after accusing them of hunting without permits in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).


Nkemetse Motsoko and Kebonyeng Kepese were arrested near the community of Gope in the CKGR after killing an eland (a large antelope).


The two men were successful applicants in a landmark court case exactly six years ago that recognized the Bushmen’s right to live, and hunt, on their ancestral land.


However, since the Bushmen won the case, Botswana’s government has made the tribe’s life impossible, by unlawfully refusing to issue a single hunting permit.


One of the men, Nkemetse Motsoko, reportedly passed out after police held his throat and suffocated him, before throwing him into a hole and covering him in sand.


The interrogation of the second man, Kebonyeng Kepese, was less violent after he admitted killing the animal, but both men were badly beaten and held for three days.


A judge in Molepolole has fined them US$190 each, an enormous sum for the impoverished Bushmen.


The men have been bailed until February, but face an eight-month prison sentence if they fail to pay the fine. Their violent arrest is not an isolated case.


Reports of intimidation, searches and harassment are growing in the CKGR, particularly around Gope, where there are two paramilitary police camps.


Four Bushmen were arrested in July for hunting, and one of the leaders of Gope community, where Gem Diamonds’ mine is located, was arrested in September.


Without the ability to hunt, the Bushmen have no means of feeding their families.


One Bushman said to Survival International, ‘We depend on the natural resources of the CKGR for our food. How are we expected to survive if we cannot hunt?’


Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The Botswana government has always treated the Bushmen with racist contempt, but after the court rulings it seemed like the persecution had eased off. Now, once again, harassment and oppression are becoming the norm for CKGR residents. The government’s previous persecution of the Bushmen did enormous damage to Botswana’s reputation – do they really want the international campaign to start up again?’


Source: Survival International

 

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23-11-12

US food giant accused over biofuel ‘tainted with Indian blood’

A US food giant has been implicated in a sugarcane scandal in Brazil that has kept an entire indigenous community off its land, polluted streams and inflicted illness and death on Guarani Indians.

Headquartered in the US, global grain trader Bunge is deeply involved in Brazil’s burgeoning biofuels market, and sources sugarcane from farmers who have taken over the ancestral land of the Guarani.

A community of 225 Guarani in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, whose land was taken from them to make way for the plantations, says the invasion of sugarcane, associated machinery and pesticides has ruined their lives over the past four years.

Two Guarani from Jata Yvary community have already committed suicide this year. The boys, aged 16 and 13, were found hanging from trees. A truck from the plantations used by Bunge also reportedly ran over and killed a man.

Talking to Survival International, the community said, ‘We Guarani don’t want sugarcane planted on our land anymore…it harms our health, including the health of our children, and elderly people, and the poison contaminates the water.’

The Guarani say pesticides sprayed from planes land on their community, and discarded machinery and crops have been left to rot in streams they rely on for water.

In a letter they call for their ‘land to be demarcated…and for white people in the area to be evicted, because with them we don’t have space to hunt and fish, and we can’t practice our traditions. We want to preserve the forest but they are destroying it, and illegally making money from it.’

Brazil’s constitution, and an agreement signed by the authorities and the Guarani, oblige the government to map out and protect all Guarani land. But this program has come practically to a stand-still, and as the Guarani wait for their land to be returned to them, they are seeing it consumed by an ever-advancing wave of sugarcane.

Survival has written to Bunge, but the company was unapologetic, saying it would continue to source sugarcane from this ancestral Guarani land until the Brazilian authorities fully map out the area as indigenous.

Earlier this year, Raizen, a biofuels company set up by Shell and COSAN scrapped controversial plans to source sugarcane from land stolen from the Guarani after a sustained campaign by the Indians and Survival.

Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Much of Brazil’s biofuel is tainted with Indian blood. Those using it should be aware that their so-called ‘ethical’ choice is contributing to the death and utter destitution of Guarani Indians. Bunge must follow Shell’s lead and leave Guarani land, without hiding behind the excuse of waiting for official land recognition which can take decades.’

Source : Survival International

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Queensland: Jinibara People’s Native Title Rights Recognised

The Federal Court today recognised the Jinibara People as Native Title holders of land in the Sunshine Coast hinterland.


Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said today’s determination covered an area of approximately 703 square kilometres of land from the southern end of the Blackall Ranges in the north to Lake Manchester in the south.


“This decision means Australia’s legal system formally acknowledges the rights of the Jinibara People to camp, hunt, fish and gather in the area, maintain areas of significance and conduct ceremonies in accordance with their traditional laws and customs,” Mr Cripps said.


“This determination will not have an effect on water rights or public access to national parks.”


Mr Cripps said the Jinibara People had also negotiated an Indigenous Land Use agreement (ILUA) with the State Government.


“The ILUA establishes how Native Title rights and interests will be exercised in the protected areas within the determination area and provide a framework for managing cultural heritage issues, future activities, and use and access arrangements,” he said.


“Each of the agreements negotiated by the Jinibara People demonstrates their commitment to maintaining the cultural and natural values of their traditional lands.


“Achieving these agreements has come as the result of hard work and extensive consultation and negotiation and I congratulate those involved for their commitment to the Native Title process.”


Mr Cripps said the decision marked the 77th time that a Native Title Determination had been reached in Queensland and the 71st by consent.


“Native Title Determination provides certainty for people with interests in the region by determining who the Native Title holders are and the extent of their rights and interests within the determination area.


“The Queensland Government will continue to work with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to advance reconciliation and recognise Native Title holders in our state.”


Source: Minister for Natural Resources and Mines 20/11/2012

 

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Philippines : Over 2,000 Indigenous Peoples In South Cotabato Awarded Land Titles

Some 2,686 farmers in Lake Sebu town, South Cotabato could finally claim they officially own the land they till.


This after the Department of Agrarian Reform in this province awarded to them as Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries their Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs).


Provincial agrarian officer II Felix Frias said among these ARBs, 2,256 are indigenous peoples of the T’boli tribe.


These CLOAs pertained to 13 land parcels with a total land area of 6,793 hectares at Barangay Tasiman of said town, Frias added.


Sizes of land parcels ranged from 328.86 ha to 682.35 ha, which will be managed by the ARBs in co-ownership scheme.


The process leading to the awarding of CLOAs started last year.


Frias explained the lands subject to distribution is covered under Proclamation No. 2262, or those classified under the Kilusang Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran Land Resource Management Program.


These agricultural areas have also been classified as alienable and disposable.


Lake Sebu’s Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) Celso T. Caro led the distribution of the CLOAs, together with the Community Development Officer III of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) of Lake Sebu, Peter Carado.


At the ceremony, Caro addressed the new owners in native tongue, urging them to take care of their lands and to make it productive.


His message was reinforced by Carado, and 1Lt. Christopher Cuenca of the 27th IB, who both reminded the ARBs to protect the land of their domain.


As in other such gatherings, the event also an opportunity for the office to explain to the ARBs and residents in the area RA 9700 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER).


Source: Philippines Information Agency

 

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Nigeria: The Seventeenth Year Anniversary Of The Hanging Of The Ogoni Nine

Seventeen years today, precisely on November 10, 1995, the Abacha Military Junta under the instrumentality of the Ogoni Civil Disturbances Tribunal hanged Ken-Saro-Wiwa and 8 other Ogoni activists after a kangaroo trial for alleged murder of four Ogoni leaders. The hangings which was best described by then British Prime Minister, John Major as “… judicial murders” remain the saddest event in the history of our struggle for environmental and social justice in Nigeria.


As we commemorate this important day in the history of our struggle, the Council of Ogoni Professionals (COP International USA) seizes this special opportunity to declare as follows:


Reaffirm MOSOP’s position that Shell remains “persona non-grata” in Ogoniland. No form of oil exploration or exploitation will take place in Ogoniland until the demands enshrined in the Ogoni Bill of Rights (OBR) have been addressed.


Reiterate that Shell must own up to its responsibilities to the Ogoni people by collaborating with the Hydro-Carbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) to clean up all hydro-carbon polluted areas in Ogoniland; provide other infrastructures such as pipe-borne water, electricity, health facilities, educational and economic opportunities to the impoverished citizens of the area.


Restate our demand that the Nigerian National Assembly create Bori State because it is not only economically viable but a practical way of addressing the developmental challenges facing the Ogoni people and other ethnic nationalities in the proposed state. We also ask that the National Assembly abolish the Land Use Decree that expropriates the land and its resources from the Ogoni people and other nationalities in the Niger-Delta, during the ongoing Constitutional Amendment exercise.


Invite all lovers of freedom and justice, environmentalists, human rights defenders and organizations to join the Council of Ogoni Professionals in its campaign to exonerate Ken Saro-Wiwa and 8 others of the murders they were wrongly executed for as well as accord other departed Ogoni leaders such as Mr. Albert Badey, Chief Edward Kobani, Chief Samuel Orageand others the honor they rightly deserve in Nigeria.


Salute the courage of the Ogoni people and all our supporters for the peaceful conduct of our struggle for human rights and environmental justice in Nigeria.


“Lord take my soul, but let the struggle continue” Ken Saro-Wiwa, November 10, 1995.


Signed:


Anslem D. John-Miller

(Chairman, Caretaker Committee)


COUNCIL OF OGONI PROFESSIONALS

(COP INTERNATIONAL, USA)

 

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Colombian Indian leader escapes assassination attempt

One of Colombia’s most important Indian leaders has narrowly escaped an attempt on his life. Rogelio Mejía, the leader of the Arhuaco tribe of northern Colombia, was traveling in a car which was stopped at a roadblock by a group of armed men and riddled with bullets.

Mr Mejía was hit in the head when a bullet passed through his hat, but miraculously was only lightly wounded. He escaped the gunmen after fleeing
from the car.

A Survival International researcher who was traveling with Mr Mejía escaped injury, but was interrogated at gunpoint by the assailants for ten minutes as to Mr Mejía’s whereabouts. The gunmen fled when they heard a police car approaching.

The incident happened just outside the frontier town of Pueblo Bello, in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Pueblo Bello has been a source of violence within the Arhuaco territory for decades. In June a 13-year old Arhuaco girl was raped, tortured and killed there; like virtually all crimes committed against Indians in Colombia, no-one has been punished.

The Arhuaco have been at the forefront of the Indian movement in South America. Many of their leaders have been assassinated, and countless others killed in the quasi-civil war that has raged in their territory between drug gangs, left-wing guerrillas and the army.

Several of their leaders, including Leonor Zalabata of the Arhuaco organization Confederación Indígena Tayrona (CIT), have received death threats.

In 1990 their three most important leaders, Luis Napoleón Torres, Hugues Chaparro and Angel María Torres, were tortured and killed – no-one has ever been punished for the crime.

Stephen Corry, Survival International’s Director, said today, ‘The Indians of the Sierra Nevada have maintained an ‘island’ of laws and peace in a region which has been submerged in violence for generations. If the Colombian government has any authority at all, it must protect them and bring the would-be assassins to justice. Nowhere is it more clearly shown that the notion that tribal peoples are more violent than industrialized ones is complete garbage.’

source : Survival International
 

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Brazilian Indians’ water ‘poisoned’ in bitter land dispute

A community of Brazilian Indians say their main source of water has been poisoned by one of the state’s most controversial ranches.

The Guarani from Ypo’i community in Mato Grosso do Sul state used a mobile phone to film the contamination, which spread quickly to cover much of the stream for two days.

The Indians said, ‘the children were bathing when they saw the white foam…we followed the stream up to the ranch, where we saw two large containers.’

The ranch in question belongs to Brazilian landowner Firmino Escobar. He has already been at the centre of a bitter land dispute with the Guarani community.

More than two years ago, he blocked all entry to their reoccupied territory, preventing them from accessing water, food or healthcare.

A court subsequently ruled that the Guarani could remain on the small piece of their ancestral land until the authorities mapped out their territory. This has still not been completed.

The Guarani say this latest incident has left them ‘shocked and angry’. They believe it was deliberate and ‘not an accident’.

The community describe the stream as, ‘our main source of water for drinking, bathing, cooking and washing our clothes. Now we cannot use it… we are very scared.’

It is not yet clear what substance was in the water. Local police have visited the site, and the Guarani are waiting for the results of their investigation.

Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘For too long the Guarani have borne the brunt of a sustained, malicious, and inventive campaign of terror to keep them off the land that rightfully belongs to them. The perpetrators of this latest cruel and perverse act should be brought to justice. The federal government must urge local police to carry out a thorough and unbiased investigation.’
source : Survival International


 

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04-11-12

London visit by Indonesian President fuels human rights protests

Survival International will join dozens of protesters tomorrow (October 31), to demonstrate against Indonesia’s brutal repression of West Papua’s tribal people, coinciding with the country’s first state visit to London in 33 years.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (known as SBY) will be in the capital for three days, staying at Buckingham Palace and meeting ministers from the UK Parliament.

Human rights campaigners will also be using his visit to highlight UK links to an Indonesian ‘death squad’, which has been implicated in the murder of independence leaders.

Special Detachment 88 was formed to combat terrorism after the 2002 Bali bombings, and receives funding for training from the UK, Australia and the US.

The UK’s Counter Terrorism Programme spends hundreds of thousands of pounds training the force through the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Co-operation.

But serious concerns surround this elite Indonesian police unit, which has been allegedly deployed to suppress violently West Papuans who are peacefully seeking independence.

Research reports and witness statements hold Detachment 88 responsible for the murder of respected West Papuan leader Mako Tabuni in June 2012, and the 2009 killing of Kelly Kwalik, a resistance fighter who had denounced violence.

West Papua has been ruled by Indonesia since 1963, and attacks against tribal and indigenous people by security forces are commonplace .

Only last week a demonstration by the National Committee of West Papua (KNPB), of which Mako Tabuni was the Secretary General, resulted in unarmed protesters being shot at by police.

The rally was calling for UN monitors to visit West Papua, to witness their oppression and oversee a referendum on self-determination for the province.

Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Reports on the Indonesian government’s torture and killing of West Papuan tribespeople make grim reading. It’s extremely alarming that British taxpayers are funding a special forces unit accused of atrocious human rights abuses against West Papuan tribespeople. We’re urging David Cameron to challenge the Indonesian President on his country’s abysmal human rights record.’

Source : Survival International

 

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Leaked plans to resettle Penan surface as blockade continues

Leaked plans to resettle Malaysia’s Penan have surfaced, as the tribe continues to hold a two-week blockade on the road leading to the controversial Murum dam.

Anger is growing within the tribe, which says it has been ‘manipulated’ and ‘cheated’ by the Sarawak government as it makes way for the dam.

The Murum Penan say they have been kept in ‘complete darkness’ about the resettlement plans, despite the dam’s construction starting four years ago, and only months remain until their ancestral lands will be entirely flooded.

However, this shroud of secrecy has been broken by a leaked ‘Resettlement Action Plan’, obtained by Sarawak Report, which reveals how the government is using the negative effects of rampant logging of the Penan’s forests, to justify the tribe’s resettlement.

It says, ‘as the surrounding environment has been degraded due to logging and plantation development … the Penan now need to spend more time planting crops for both subsistence and sale.’

The plans advocate moving the Penan to ‘sufficient arable land … to provide for transition into cash crop agriculture’, despite evidence showing that the Penan rely on the forest for 75% of their sustenance.

One Penan said, ‘We are being cheated by the government, a lot of what we were hoping for and what the government said to us, they have never given to us, this makes us angry.’

The plans also reveal the Sarawak government’s single-minded approach to the dam. It says, ‘no project alternatives were considered because the construction of MDHEP (Murum dam) had already commenced.’

The Penan continue to blockade the road leading to the Murum dam, insisting they will not leave until they are involved in talks to reach a fair settlement.

Madai Salo, leader of the Penan village Long Luar said, ‘Our word has been manipulated by the government and the ministers, we never said we’d support the dam, we never asked for the dam, we never supported the dam’.

Another said from the blockade site, ‘Whether it’s two weeks, one month or one year we will stay put here until our demands are met’.

Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘These leaked plans show how duplicitously the Sarawak government is approaching the Murum dam project. Seemingly it will stop at nothing and will try to conceal everything. The Penan’s blockade shows their determination to stand firm. They deserve to be heard and at the very least be part of this resettlement process.’

Source : Survival International



 

 

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Chile's Most Wanted

The story of how Pascual Pichun became the first man to be convicted of terrorism in Chile.

 

I'm in a car with a terrorist, if I'm to believe the Chilean courts. But am I? 

 

Branded a 'terrorist' aged 17 by the Chilean Government, 28 year old Pascual Pichun is a man on a mission. He's a symbol of the indigenous Mapuche resistance movement trying to protect and take back its

ancestral lands from the government and foreign companies. That's why I'm here; to film a man on a mission. A traveller with a cause, Pascual has to be on the move all the time, recording human rights violations against his Mapuche community.

 

As we set off for our journey we are accompanied by Luis, Pascual's brother. Luis jokes: "Look at that house; surely it belongs to a "Huinca"? What is "Huinca", I ask. "Well", he says with a half- smile on

his face, "the Incas invaded us before the Spanish came. Inca means invader. The invaders that came after the Incas were called the New Incas, or Huinca, the Europeans. All of them are Huincas".

 

Pascual and Luis know that a lot of their ancestral land was given to foreign landowners during the 1970's dictatorship. Since then, the Mapuche have been involved in an uphill struggle to repossess their

land. Forced into US-style "Indian reservations", the Mapuches learned to survive doing temporary farm labour.

 

Pascual tells me of a famous case many years ago when a Mapuche farmer became so fed up with the situation that he said "is enough is enough" and took back the land expropriated from his father by force. That man was of course Pascual's father. Don Juan Pichun.

 

Although many years had passed since Don Juan Pichun had bravely taken back his land, here I was, sitting in a car with two of his sons, who today continue the family tradition of Mapuche resistance.

 

None of this is in the film however; because in the 3 weeks we were together Pascual did not stop getting into trouble. Enough trouble for a 25 minute film.

 

But let's go back to the beginning.

 

I chose Pascual Pichun to be the main character of my film because he has been a symbol of the Mapuche indigenous struggle since he was 17. It was at this young age that he was imprisoned for setting fire to a pine plantation, in a concerted effort with his brother and father to take back their ancestral land. For the Chilean Courts, the protection of private property is the most important factor when handing out sentences

to Mapuche activists. The political argument doesn't count. Every court ruling is influenced by the anti-terror laws imposed by General Augusto Pinochet's military dictatorship back in 1973.

 

Pascual's parents suffered the brunt of the repression. Many Mapuche community leaders were Socialists and suffered disappearances, torture and death in concentration camps. There is a connection between the

neo-liberal policies introduced by the military regime and the enforcement of private property rights of foreign corporations in Chile.

 

"There's a very visible link", Pascual says. "At the heart of it lies our right to self-determination as a people, we want our Mapuche Nation to stand upright and fight back for our land, our culture, our language. Getting the land back is just the first step. Then you open up a school to teach the Mapuche language. We need to come up with a new history course for children and adults because we learnt history from the Huincas and for them we don't exist."

 

Pascual says this as we pull by a fence in Pilmaiquen. Beyond the fence, we can see their recovered land. 24 hours later we were being interrogated by the anti-terrorist police.

 

Mapuche mailinglist in English/Dutch

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08-10-12

Yanomami issue final statement on the matter of illegal miners in Venezuela

On Sept. 25, the Yanomami national organization, HORONAMI, issued its final public statement on the matter of illegal Brazilian miners in the Upper Ocamo region of Venezuela.

While the allegations of a massacre have now been dropped, HORONAMI wishes to make it clear that it rejects claims that 'all is well' in the region. As such, HORONAMI is reiterating its call for "a more careful and extensive investigation into possible acts of violence and other possible abuses of the garimpeiros in the Upper Ocamo region".

HORONAMI goes on to explain the risks that garimpeiros pose to the Yanomami and the land they rely on. In addition to abuses and threats, there is the possibility of the outsiders spreading disease (something the Yanonami have experienced in recent history) and degrading the environment with their machinery and their use of mercury to extract gold.

In light of these very real risks, HORONAMI is also requesting a "permanent and sustained patrol for the final eviction of illegal mining camps in the Upper Ocamo and other areas of the Upper Orinoco, as Hashimu, Cerro Delgado Chalbaud and Siapa River, among others. This must be a joint effort set between the Bolivarian Armed Forces and our Yanomami organization Horonami, since we know our people and our territory."

The 16-point statement further rejects ongoing efforts to internally divide the organization, to link it to opposition actors and to exploit their previous allegations. To be sure, the Yanomami are elated that Venezuela found no evidence of a massacre during their investigation.

Specifically, HORONAMI states:

We do not want to attack our President Hugo Chavez Frias, nor do we want our situation to be manipulated as an electoral episode. The truth is what we have to show, and our motivation is the defense of our people, our habitat and our land which is being seriously pillaged and polluted. We request that the Venezuelan State respect our Horonami Organization; we express our total willingness to collaborate with the government agencies to solve this matter. We reject the attempts of the Minister Nicia Maldonado to divide our organization and we repudiate the mass media and other people who have manipulated the information for political purposes, trying to link us with opposition actors, taking advantage of this serious situation for electioneering purposes.

HORONAMI's final statement concludes with a message for all mass media actors: "We will not give further statements, we want that the mass media to refer just to the content of this document."

Source : Intercontinental Cry

 

 

 

 

 

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Chumash Nation speak out against seismic testing off California coast

The Chumash Nation is speaking out against the Diablo Canyon Seismic project off the Central Coast of California.

The California-based energy company Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) wants to carpet bomb approx. 580 square nautical miles of sea floor with powerful Air Cannons that will blast every 10 to 20 seconds for 42 days straight.

The Chumash warn that these 260db sonic blasts, which will travel through the water and 10 miles into the earth's crust, will devastate the local marine ecosystem and possibly destroy fragile and sensitive Sacred Chumash Cultural Sites.

PG&E itself suggests that fisherman, divers, kayakers, boaters (including our tomol paddlers), and surfers remain out of the water during the tests due to the possibility of illness and even death. PG&E's Environmental Impact Report also lists a number of animals that will be unavaoidably impacted.

In a recent statement of concern, the Northern Chumash Tribal Council (NCTC) specifically points to:

Minke whale; Sperm whales; Dwarf sperm whales; Blue whales; Humpback whales; Fin whales; California gray whales; Short-finned pilot whale; Bird’s beak; Killer whales; Striped dolphins; Small beaked whales; Dell’s porpoise; Long-beaked dolphins; Rise’s dolphins; Northern right whale dolphins; Pacific white-sided dolphins; Bottle-nose dolphins; Short-beaked dolphins; Harbor seals; California sea lions; Southern sea otters; Untold sea turtles of several varieties; Numerous fish and bird species; The next generation of sea life including nearly billions of larva’s of all types

NCTC requests that no seismic testing take place until such time that alternatives have been thoroughly explored, to prevent undue harm to marine life, stating, "There is no date collection for science that is worth the possible destruction of the warp and weave of the basket of life."

The Barbareno Chumash Council (BCC) of Santa Barbara issued its own statement denouncing "all Federal, State and local bodies and especially PG&E of the possible, forthcoming or future destruction of our relatives off the coast in our waters. Any government that does not come to the defense of the defenseless, must now listen and act to our Chumash Peoples traditional ways and rights. Because of the gravity and seriousness of the proposed Seismic Testing we need to call on all peoples to act and voice their concerns to stop this act of terracide. This testing must not begin and the perpetrators must be exposed."

The Chumash are also pointing to off-shore unregistered Chumash Sacred Sites, Village Sites and Burial Grounds that have submerged or otherwise fallen into the ocean because of erosion.

The NCTC comments, "Off shore unregistered Chumash Sacred Sites must be treated the same way as on shore Chumash Sacred Sites are treated. No one would let anyone harm the animals that live on or near Chumash Sacred Sites on land, why would anyone allow this to happen off shore. Before any activity that might impact a Chumash Sacred Site mapping and surveying must be done to understand how the proposed activities might affect the Chumash Cultural Resources. All Chumash Sacred Sites must be surveyed and mapped before any project is approved in this sensitive area."

The NCTC further points to the fact that PG&E's survey area sits between two National Marine Sanctuaries:

sanctuaries provide enhanced safeguards for species within their boundaries, a protection that is lost when they leave. Other protected areas along or at the terminus of a migration route or that cover areas for important life stages of living marine resources (e.g., nesting areas for seabirds, pupping areas for seals, fish spawning aggregation sites, larval dispersal and sink sites), provide the same kind of enhanced protection. Forming relationships and developing joint projects among countries with areas of biophysical connectivity will increase the protection to these often endangered and otherwise vulnerable species.

These resources are extremely important for our coastal communities to grow into the future, we are protecting them, please assist us in not destroying our priceless resources.

The Chumash have repeatedly requested that PG&E meaningfully consult ALL CHUMASH TRIBES to resolve these concerns; however, the company has so far declined to do so. According to the BCC, the State of California is similarly ignoring and dismissing the Chumash and their Rights as defined by the NATIVE AMERICAN FREEDOM OF RELIGION ACT and UN DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES; not to mention the CALIFORNIA COASTAL ACT, which assures special protection to areas and species of special biological or economic significance.

BCC concludes, "They are in violation of the International Covenant and our religious Rights. The destruction of our Chumash Culture by the State and its decision and actions to continue this seismic testing needs to stop. Stop the destruction of our relatives and our families in the Ocean. The destruction and killing off of our relatives of the Ocean is directly killing our Nation. The death or harm to our A’loly’koy and Paxat is a death blow to us Chumash."

Source : Intercontinental Cry

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Burma: Burmese Government And Aid Donors Should Not Seek To Divide Karen

Recent developments in Karen State have raised serious questions about the Burmese government’s sincerity in its peace negotiations with the Karen National Union (KNU).


After more than sixty-years of conflict, and past occasions when the government of Burma did not act in a truthful and honest way during ceasefire negotiations, building trust is an essential first step if future dialogue leading to a permanent ceasefire and a political solution to conflict in Burma is to be successful.


By seeking to divide the Karen National Union and encouraging some members to set up an unauthorised liaison office, the government of Burma is not acting in an honest and constructive manner that will create trust. Instead the government of Burma appears intent on continuing to use divide and rule tactics against the Karen. The use of such tactics can threaten the entire peace process.


If the government of Burma wanted to demonstrate to the Karen and to the world that it was genuine in wanting dialogue and peace, it would not seek to use divide and rule tactics, and would withdraw permission for the unauthorised liaison office to open.


We are also concerned that international aid money that should be used to help the needy and promote peace is being used in a political manner in collusion with the Burmese government. We are concerned about the role of some individuals working for the Myanmar Peace Support Initiative with regards to the unauthorised liaison office. The way that this and other peace funds are operating, with a lack of transparency and proper consultation with Karen political and community organisations is creating suspicion and mistrust. By operating in such a way the peace funds may undermine the peace that they are supposed to be supporting.


We call on the Myanmar Peace Support Initiative to publish details of all meetings and conversations held with those involved in the unauthorised liaison office, and also to publish all internal memo’s, emails and other correspondence, and those with and by consultants, relating to this matter. Only through honesty and transparency can trust be rebuilt. We know that many Karen in Burma and around the world are deeply concerned by recent developments in the current peace process. We must remember that the Karen have faced many challenges, many attempts to divide us, to crush us, to assimilate and destroy our culture and our race. Despite all the challenges we have faced we have never given up and we have never been defeated. We can adapt to new situations and overcome any challenge as long as we can stay united and determined, and never give up hope.


The European Karen Network will continue to stand by the Karen National Union and support their efforts in peace negotiations. The Karen National Union is the organisation, which speaks for and leads the Karen in our struggle to gain rights, protection and self-determination that guarantees genuine freedom for the Karen people and all in Burma.


The Karen will be free.


Source: European Karen Network

 

 

 

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Blockade by Earth’s most threatened tribe paralyzes railway

A protest involving Earth’s most threatened tribe, the Awá, has forced the world’s largest iron ore mine to suspend operations along its main railway line.

On Tuesday, hundreds of Indians including the Awá, took to the tracks of Vale’s Carajás railway to voice their opposition to Brazilian government plans that could weaken their land rights, if legalized.

The demonstration follows months of anger surrounding a draft text called Directive 303, which prohibits the expansion of indigenous territories.

The government has refused to scrap the proposed directive, despite it violating national and international laws by suggesting certain projects can be carried out on Indian land without proper consultation.

Frustrations spilled over on Tuesday, with several different tribes uniting to demand that their land rights are respected.

The blockade is the latest in a string of controversies to involve mining giant Vale, whose railway borders the territory of the Awá.

Last month, a judge reversed a ruling that had stopped the company from doubling its railway line to increase production.

The decision was a blow for the Awá, who blame the railway for bringing thousands of invaders into their lands and scaring off the animals they hunt.

Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘If Brazil wants to lead the way and show the world that it respects its indigenous peoples, it should not be entertaining the harmful propositions of a handful of rural lobbyists. This protest shows that for tribes like the Awá, land rights are make or break.’

Source : Survival International


 


 

 

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26-09-12

Health on Wheels: Pediatric Mobile Clinic Is Serving Ho-Chunk Members

The Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin unveiled a brand new mobile pediatric health clinic at their Labor Day Pow-Wow. “We’re pretty excited about that,” President Greendeer told Indian Country Today Media Network days prior to the reveal. “It’s the first in Indian country.”

The road to this point began in 1987 when Dr. Irwin Redlener and Paul Simon co-founded the Children’s Health Fund (CHF). The idea at that time was to provide health care to the most medically underserved children in the country. The initial program was directed at New York City. Since that time, it has expanded to many locations including Chicago, Detroit, Phoenix, the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and others. The Ho-Chunk Nation is the first in Indian country.

Dr. Redlener, a co-founder of CHF and a professorat Columbia University, explained that funding is raised through a development team that raises about $16 million a year. “Paul Simon also does an annual gala for us. Others have joined him like Willy Nelson and Joan Baez and that gala nets about $1.5 million a year,” he said. “It’s significant but by no means the entirety of the funding that’s needed.”

Other funding comes through the Idol Gives Back Foundation, a philanthropic group established by the TV program American Idol.

The tie to the Ho-Chunk Nation came through Dr. Alec Thundercloud, a Ho-Chunk tribal member. Dr. Redlener explained, “When he finished his training in pediatrics, about 10 years ago, he came to us for some special training for a year. He learned we pride health care for very disadvantaged, medically underserved children. He got familiar with our mobile pediatric clinics. When he finished his training we hired him and he was the medical director for one of our programs on Long Island.”

Dr. Thundercloud is now the executive director for the Department of Health of the Ho-Chunk Nation. “He was one of the best pediatricians who ever worked with CHF. He helped us understand that many children in the Ho-Chunk Nation are not getting the regular care they should be getting,” Dr. Redlener explained. “This program had to do with the history we’ve had with Dr. Alec Thundercloud. That’s how this program came to be.”

Dr. Thundercloud added that he had supplied CHF with health statistics in regard to diabetes rates, obesity rates and other health disparities throughout Indian country. “They were really amazed this occurs yet in the U.S. and were very interested in partnering with a tribal health care facility and really reducing some health disparities that children and families are seeing.”

CHF will provide the mobile unit—“a beautiful, state of the art, rolling pediatric clinic,” Dr. Redlener said. The Ho-Chunk Nation will staff the mobile clinic.

“Our goal is to create healthy, productive children able to get a good education and become productive members of society,” Dr. Thundercloud said. “This will be by providing comprehensive health care, acute care, bringing laboratory testing, screening testing and immunizations to children who otherwise would not be able to access care.”

He also sees it going a big step further. “We will be able to provide advocacy for families. Often children who are not receiving health care have family members experiencing other issues or problems that need to be addressed. It might be financial, employment, navigating a complicated health care system without health insurance or perhaps getting plugged into a Medicaid program. I think we’ll be able to advocate, to address some of these issues and reduce disparities and create a family unit that will be thriving.”

The Tribe does not have a reservation, but the mobile unit will travel from its base in Black River Falls to distant communities, some as much as 120 miles away, to bring a doctor’s office on wheels to the 1,455 children throughout the Ho-Chunk Nation.

President Greendeer envisions this clinic as focusing on the next generation: “our leadership, the carriers of our cultural and traditional ways.

“A focus on the solutions of our greatest challenges probably lies more with our younger folks than they do in our daily politics. This will serve as a way of addressing some of Indian country’s toughest issues. It deals with health care and dental issues with the young.”

Dr. Thundercloud commented, “This is great for Indian country. Indian country is going to be looking at how they can come up with innovative models of providing health care systems and looking at partnering with outside agencies.”

President Greendeer summarized the program saying, “If you’re working in administration, working in the health field and you’re working for the Ho-Chunk Nation, you’ve got to be loving this ride. To be a part of something in its maiden voyage, there couldn’t be anything better.”

All Content ©2012 Indian Country Today Media Network, LLC

 

 

 

 

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Canadian oil company announces withdrawal from Achuar territory

The Achuar Peoples have a won a major victory in their eight-year struggle against a Canadian oil company in the Amazon rainforest. Yesterday, Talisman Energy announced that it will be withdrawing from the Achuar's ancestral territory--and all of Peru--just as soon as it finishes some ongoing commercial transactions.

"We have fought long and hard against Talisman's drilling in our territory because of the negative environmental and social impacts we have seen from oil drilling around the world," said Peas Peas Ayui, President of the National Achuar Federation of Peru (FENAP), in a recent press release by Amazon Watch. "Now that Talisman is leaving we can focus on achieving our own vision for development and leave a healthy territory for future generations."

The Calgary-based company first bought into the Achuar's territory in 2004 by investing in Block 64 with US-based Occidental Petroleum (Oxy). As of 2011, the company owned 50% of Block 64 and 70% of Block 101. These oil blocks, covering some 4 million acres (1.7 million hectares) of pristine rainforest, entirely overlap the Achuar's ancestral territory, says Amazon Watch.

From day one, the Achuar made it clear that they were not going to just sit back and let another oil company have their way with the land, which has already been contaminated by 30 years of exploitation by Oxy and more recently by Argentina's Pluspetrol.

Amazon Watch, which has worked alongside the Achuar since 2004, provides some background:

"Oxy cut costs by dumping 9 billion gallons of ‘produced waters' directly into the rivers instead of re-injecting them. These ‘produced waters' contain highly toxic substances such as barium, lead and arsenic and together with hundreds of ongoing oil spills have destroyed hunting and fishing grounds and left the Achuar with severe health problems.

"Adults and local children have tested positive for dangerously high blood-lead levels, and local residents cite countless tales of unexplained diseases, tumors, skin ailments and miscarriages from oil exposure. Fish and local game are not fit for consumption and fraught with contamination, and the soil is also no longer fit to produce agricultural crops on which the Achuar depend for subsistence."

Talisman was headed down the same dirty path. Despite enormous local opposition, the company went ahead with seismic testing and exploratory drilling operations. It also built up a false image for shareholders, the government and the international community by claiming to have support from communities and so-called good neighbor agreements with 66 communities downriver from their operations.

The company never had such widespread backing--a fact that Achuar Leaders made clear throughout their four separate trips to the Canadian landscape.

"Talisman has had to face up to what the Achuar told them when they first invested in Block 64: The company cannot drill without the consent of the Achuar people," said Gregor MacLennan, Peru Program Coordinator at Amazon Watch. "Talisman's exit sends a clear message to the oil industry: Trampling indigenous rights in the rush to exploit marginal oil reserves in the Amazon rainforest is not an option."

"We are the owners and the original people of this land," said Peas Ayui. "No outside person or company may enter our territory by force, without consultation and without asking us. We have been fighting against oil development on our land for 17 years and we maintain the same vision to protect our territory and resources for future generations. Let this be a clear message to all oil, mining and logging companies: we will never offer up our natural wealth so that they can extract our resources and contaminate our land."

By the looks of things, Talisman has just clued in to that fact. Richard Herbert, Talisman's vice-president of international exploration, told the The Canadian Pres that the company is leaving because they were "unable to build a material resource position in Peru."

In other words, it's because the Achuar wouldn't take "yes" for answer.

Source : Intercontinental Cry

 

 

 

 

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16-09-12

Yanomami Indians ‘massacred’ by goldminers in Venezuela

Goldminers in Venezuela have carried out a ‘massacre’ of isolated Yanomami Indians, according to reports received by Survival International.

Witnesses of the aftermath described finding ‘burnt bodies and bones’ when they visited the community of Irotatheri in the country’s Momoi region, close to the border with Brazil.

Initial reports suggest up to 80 people have been killed, but these numbers are impossible to confirm. Only three survivors have been found.

The attack is believed to have happened in July, but news is only just emerging.

Due to the community’s remote location, it took the Indians who discovered the bodies days to walk to the nearest settlement to report the tragedy.

Luis Shatiwe Yanomami, a leader of the Yanomami organisation Horonami, was in Parima and spoke to the Indians about what they saw. He heard how those who survived had been hunting at the time the community’s communal house was set alight.

He told Survival today, ‘For three years we have been denouncing the situation. There are lots of goldminers working illegally in the forest.’

Speaking to Survival today, Eliseo, a Yanomami man from the region who has spoken to the Indians who discovered the massacre’s aftermath, said, ‘They reported seeing charred bodies and bones, and the burnt remains of the shabono (communal house).’

Massacres against Yanomami Indians are not uncommon. In 1993, 16 Indians were killed after miners attacked the Yanomami community of Haximu in Brazil. Several miners were subsequently convicted of genocide. So far, there has been no investigation into this latest attack.

 

Stephen Corry, Director of Survival said, ‘This is another appalling tragedy for the Yanomami – heaping crime upon crime. All Amazonian governments must stop the rampant illegal mining, logging and settlement in indigenous territories. It inevitably leads to massacres of Indian men, women and children. The Venezuelan authorities must now bring the killers to swift justice, and send a signal throughout the region that Indians can no longer be killed with impunity. The mining and logging must be stopped.’

Source  : Survival International


 

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Treaty Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples presents a unique and timely opportunity for Native nations to redefine or reaffirm their relationships with the United States. Though the federal government ended treaty-making with Native nations in 1871, this should not limit how Native nations relate to the federal government today. The UN Declaration – with its extensive statement of indigenous rights — is a tool that can be used to facilitate a new era of indigenous-State relations, one that includes upholding treaty obligations, fulfilling promises, and creating new legally enforceable government-to-government agreements.

 

Simply put, a treaty is an agreement between two nations or sovereigns.  Article 37 of the UN Declaration explicitly recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to have their treaties, agreements, and other constructive arrangements with States recognized, observed, and enforced. The United States, initially contemplating Native nations as preconstitutional and extraconstitutional international sovereigns, ratified 370 treaties and entered into 45 more with Native nations between 1778 and 1871. Treaties served as the moral and legal compass that was to guide the interactions between the United States and Native nations.     

Since the treaty-making period, however, the United States and Native nations have developed very different views of what treaties mean in practice.  In 1870, the United States Supreme Court ruled in The Cherokee Tobacco case that an act of Congress can supersede treaty provisions. One year later, Congress formally ended treaty-making with Native nations.  Since then, the United States has furiously chipped away treaty rights and treaties themselves, turning sacred promises into hollow words. In its 1903 Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock decision, the United States Supreme Court even went so far as to hold that Congress has the power to allot a tribe’s land in violation of a treaty.  This interpretation and narrowing of treaty rights clearly conflicts with the international treatment of treaty rights, especially as envisioned in the UN Declaration and the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. 

Generally, Native nations that have made treaties view their treaties as the foundation of their relationship with the United States, a nation-to-nation relationship based on mutual respect, equality, and diplomacy.  For example, one of the earliest recorded treaties between a Native nation and European nation, the Kaswentah (“two row”) treaty, made between the Haudenosaunee (“People of the Longhouse,” or Six Nations) and the Dutch in 1613, acknowledges the two parties as equals who will not interfere with the internal affairs of the other.  The United States, as successor to the Dutch and Great Britain, must assume the obligations of the Kaswentah treaty with the Haudenosaunee. 

 

Although the United States made various political and legal commitments to Native nations through treaty-making, Native nations are, unfortunately, no strangers to violations of their treaty rights.  Many Native nations continue to battle against encroachments on treaty-guaranteed lands and restrictions on or even complete negation of their treaty-protected hunting and fishing rights both on and off the reservation. 

 

For the 40 Native nations near international borders, restrictions on traveling within their own recognized homelands may implicate treaty rights.  Today, at the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory, Akwesasronon (“People of Akwesasne”) are severely restricted from traveling freely throughout their homeland.  The Akwesasne Mohawk Territory predates the formation of the United States and Canada, and, as a result, has been encroached upon by  international, state, provincial, and county borders.  The movement of Akwesasronon is seriously restricted even though the Jay Treaty of 1794, a treaty signed by the United States and Great Britain, provides that indigenous peoples are guaranteed the right to freely travel across the United States-Canada border.  Akwesasronon are faced with exceedingly long wait times at the border, the risk of having vehicles seized for failure to report to Customs, encroachment upon their lands by federal officials, and the seizure of identification documents because they do not conform to new federal requirements.  Under the federal requirements, tribes can use an Enhanced Tribal Card as identification so long as it is approved by the Department of Homeland Security; six tribes now have a signed agreement in place for the use of an Enhanced Tribal Card, and six more are awaiting approval.  However, the new identification cards require indigenous individuals to declare American or Canadian citizenship which has not been, up until now, a requirement Akwesasronon have had to meet. 

 

The UN Declaration recognizes a number of rights which may be violated by the travel restrictions at Akwesasne, as well as at other Native nations located on the international borders. In the Preamble, the Declaration affirms not only the right of indigenous peoples to equality, but also the right to be different and to be respected as such. The ability of a Native nation to freely determine its political status, not as Americans or Canadians, but as Kanienkehaka (“People of the Flint,” or Mohawk) or as some other indigenous nation, is recognized in Article 3 of the Declaration (“Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status …”). Article 36(1) recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to maintain relationships across borders, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic, and social purposes, and Article 36(2) provides that States have an obligation to ensure implementation of the right. 

What does this mean for Native nations seeking to exercise treaty rights and to freely move throughout their territories? Though the United States will no longer enter into treaties with Native nations, Native nations can at least work to ensure respect for and enforcement of existing treaty obligations and can try to establish new agreements and ways of working together and moving forward to preserve their existence as indigenous nations. Native nations can work with the United States to renew treaties in light of the UN Declaration through the development of legally enforceable government-to-government agreements. Now is the time for UN Declaration implementation, and it is up to Native nations to call upon the United States to honor existing treaty rights, fulfill promises made, and enter into agreements and other constructive arrangements to move us forward together, as originally envisioned in the Kaswentah treaty 400 years ago.

 

Source : Indian Law Resource Center:  Commentary by Karla E. General*

 

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Survivors say gold miners in helicopter massacred village of 80 in Venezuelan Amazon

Up to 80 people have been massacred by gold miners in the remote Venezuelan Amazon, according to reports received by the indigenous-rights group, Survival International. According to Reuters, the reports have prompted the Venezuelan government to investigate the alleged murders of the Yanomami isolated community.

According to three indigenous survivors, sometime in July a helicopter and what-are-believed to be illegal goldminers massacred the Yanomami community of Irotatheri.

"They reported seeing charred bodies and bones, and the burnt remains of the shabono (communal house),"a Yanomami man, who spoke to the three known survivors, told Survival International. The three survivors were hunting in the forest when the attack occurred, but heard the helicopter and gunfire.

Although the attack occurred in July, reports are only coming in now as the region is a five-day walk to the nearest settlement.

Numerous Amazonian peoples are imperiled by illegal miners, loggers, and ranchers. Conflict between settlers and indigenous groups in not uncommon with indigenous people almost always the victims. Still, Amazonian governments have not made riding the vast region of illegal exploiters a priority.

"All Amazonian governments must stop the rampant illegal mining, logging and settlement in indigenous territories. It inevitably leads to massacres of Indian men, women and children," Stephen Cory, director of Survival International said in a statement. "The Venezuelan authorities must now bring the killers to swift justice, and send a signal throughout the region that Indians can no longer be killed with impunity."

With record gold prices, illegal gold mining in the Amazon has become an epidemic. The practice not only leads to conflict with indigenous people, but destroys forests, contaminates rivers with mercury, and fuels social problems such as forced labor and child prostitution. For their part, the Yanomami have been especially plagued by miners in their territory. Just last month, Brazil arrested 26 linked to the underground trade operating in its Yanomami Indigenous Reserve.

Despite the massacre a Venezuelan source, who asked to remain anonymous, told mongabay.com that they expected little action by the government.

"There is no will to stop these guys, which is relatively straight-forward to do. Governments have to do [the stopping], and militaries have to constantly soak up the investment by allowing expensive equipment, including helicopters, to reach remote sites, and then confiscating [illegal mining equipment]."

Bron : mongabay.com






Read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0830-hance-massacre-yanomami.html#ixzz259RSTIu6

 

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Survival denounces Venezuela’s ‘whitewash’ of Yanomami ‘massacre’

Survival International has denounced the Venezuelan government’s repeated denials of a massacre against Yanomami Indians, calling on President Chávez to evict all illegal goldminers from indigenous territory and conduct a proper, on-site investigation.

The President is the latest senior Venezuelan official to insist there is no evidence of an attack on the Irotatheri community, in a remote part of the Amazon, close to the border with Brazil.

However, the Organization of American States has now joined Survival and indigenous organizations in the Amazon, in urging Venezuela to ‘conduct a thorough investigation to conclusively determine what happened.’

The OAS says, ‘States have an obligation under international human rights law to conduct a judicial investigation into the serious acts of violence reported.’

Stephen Corry, Survival’s Director also said today, ‘If the Venezuelan government had the welfare of its indigenous peoples at heart it would be taking action to remove the miners from Indian land, rather than taking pains to deny there was a violent confrontation between the miners and the Indians. It’s behaving just like Latin American governments always have, putting the protection of its own reputation above the lives of its Indians. Next we’ll be hearing that we’re part of a capitalist conspiracy to destabilize the government in its election year, just as we’re part of a left-wing conspiracy when we denounce this kind of violence in rightist countries. Indigenous peoples have been treated equally badly by both right and left, for generations. President Chávez should get all those invading indigenous territory kicked out throughout Venezuela, and make sure this particular incident, where murders have been reported, is subject to an immediate and proper investigation.’

On Monday, the Coordinating body of Indigenous Organizations of Amazonia (COIAM) released a declaration recognizing the efforts of the investigation, but expressing their concern that the commission ‘did not reach Irotatheri Shapono, the place where the alleged events took place in July.’

Witnesses of the attack’s aftermath reported finding ‘burnt bodies and bones’.
Source : Survival International



 

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Mapuches Demand Devolution of their Ancient Territories

The Mapuche communities demanded a prompt devolution of their ancient lands and held the Chilean State responsible for the seizure of those territories.

 

In a communiqué addressed to the government of President Sebastian Pinera, the Traditional Authorities of the Autonomous Mapuche and Traditional communities of Temucuicui, in the Araucania, blamed the

Executive for the fact that their lands are in the hands of foreign settlers, forest transnationals and the military.

 

The text notes that in the past two days, the traditional communities reached consensus to settle internal differences prevailing for four years in the territory to order the longstanding demands and give a

strong sign of unity.

 

The organizations consider that the State political authorities used those differences all the time to manipulate, deceive and avoid their responsibilities in meeting the demands set forth by both communities

based in the red zone of the Mapuche conflict.

 

Today, Red Diario Digital informed about the Interior Ministry call to create rural surveillance or security juntas in the Araucania, which is considered by the Mapuche community as opening the door to paramilitarism.

 

http://mapuche.nl/mailman/listinfo/nieuws-l

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Hunger strike by Mapuche Indigenous at UNICEF headquarters

Mapuche Representatives began a hunger strike at the headquarters of the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF, for its acronym in Spanish) in Santiago, to denounce the criminalization of the Mapuche and noted the lack of support from the Unicef ​​to the claims of the original

community. The Indians remain a month at the headquarters of Unicef ​​ and have repeatedly denounced the passivity of this organism to the abuse of children and young Mapuche in this South American nation

 

Mapuche mailinglist in English/Dutch

 

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Controversial palm oil license issued in Indonesian orangutan forest revoked

An Indonesian court has instructed the governor of Aceh province to revoke a controversial license owned by a palm oil company accused of destroying orangutan habitat and carbon-rich peatlands on the island of Sumatra, reports The Jakarta Post.

The permit allowing PT Kallista Alam to establish a 1,605-hectare plantation in the Tripa peat swamp is controversial because it violated a country-wide moratorium on new concessions in peatlands and primary forests issued in 2011 by Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. It was granted by the former Aceh governor Irwandi Yusuf more than three months after the moratorium went into effect.

A local environmental group — the Aceh chapter Walhi — filed suit against PT Kallista Alam and the Aceh government to test the central government's commitment to the moratorium. The case garnered international interest for both its egregious nature — multiple regulations should have protected the land from conversion — and the presence of critically endangered orangutans. Local communities were also opposed to the plantation, bringing in a human rights element as well. 
 
PT Kallista Alam is also the subject of a police investigation for illegal burning, according to The Jakarta Post.

The court ruling was immediately welcomed by Indonesia's REDD+ Task Force, which is charged with implementing the country's program for reducing deforestation.

“This decision is in line with our recommendation because the land utilization permit granted to PT. Kalista Alam was based on invalidated location permit (izin lokasi) and is included in the Indicative Moratorium Map (IMM). So, we hope there will be no more mismanagement in the process of permit issuance,” said Mas Achmad Santosa, Chair of the Working Group of Legal Review and Law Enforcement of the REDD+ Task Force, in a statement.

Over the past 20 years Indonesia has had one of the highest rates of forest loss in the world, but in 2009 Indonesian Yudhoyono pledged to reduce deforestation as part of a commitment to slow greenhouse gas emissions. Under his "7/26" plan, Indonesia aims to reduce emissions by at least 26 percent — and up to 41 percent with international support — by 2020 relative to a business-as-usual scenario. Norway has committed up to $1 billion to support the initiative.

source : Mongabay.com





 

 

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03-09-12

Yanomami Indians ‘massacred’ by goldminers in Venezuela

Goldminers in Venezuela have carried out a ‘massacre’ of isolated Yanomami Indians, according to reports received by Survival International.

Witnesses of the aftermath described finding ‘burnt bodies and bones’ when they visited the community of Irotatheri in the country’s Momoi region, close to the border with Brazil.

Initial reports suggest up to 80 people have been killed, but these numbers are impossible to confirm. Only three survivors have been found.

The attack is believed to have happened in July, but news is only just emerging.

Due to the community’s remote location, it took the Indians who discovered the bodies days to walk to the nearest settlement to report the tragedy.

Luis Shatiwe Yanomami, a leader of the Yanomami organisation Horonami, was in Parima and spoke to the Indians about what they saw. He heard how those who survived had been hunting at the time the community’s communal house was set alight.

He told Survival today, ‘For three years we have been denouncing the situation. There are lots of goldminers working illegally in the forest.’

Speaking to Survival today, Eliseo, a Yanomami man from the region who has spoken to the Indians who discovered the massacre’s aftermath, said, ‘They reported seeing charred bodies and bones, and the burnt remains of the shabono (communal house).’

Massacres against Yanomami Indians are not uncommon. In 1993, 16 Indians were killed after miners attacked the Yanomami community of Haximu in Brazil. Several miners were subsequently convicted of genocide. So far, there has been no investigation into this latest attack.

Stephen Corry, Director of Survival said, ‘This is another appalling tragedy for the Yanomami – heaping crime upon crime. All Amazonian governments must stop the rampant illegal mining, logging and settlement in indigenous territories. It inevitably leads to massacres of Indian men, women and children. The Venezuelan authorities must now bring the killers to swift justice, and send a signal throughout the region that Indians can no longer be killed with impunity. The mining and logging must be stopped.’

Bron : Survival International


 

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Survivors say gold miners in helicopter massacred village of 80 in Venezuelan Amazon

Up to 80 people have been massacred by gold miners in the remote Venezuelan Amazon, according to reports received by the indigenous-rights group, Survival International. According to Reuters, the reports have prompted the Venezuelan government to investigate the alleged murders of the Yanomami isolated community.

According to three indigenous survivors, sometime in July a helicopter and what-are-believed to be illegal goldminers massacred the Yanomami community of Irotatheri.

"They reported seeing charred bodies and bones, and the burnt remains of the shabono (communal house),"a Yanomami man, who spoke to the three known survivors, told Survival International. The three survivors were hunting in the forest when the attack occurred, but heard the helicopter and gunfire.

Although the attack occurred in July, reports are only coming in now as the region is a five-day walk to the nearest settlement.

Numerous Amazonian peoples are imperiled by illegal miners, loggers, and ranchers. Conflict between settlers and indigenous groups in not uncommon with indigenous people almost always the victims. Still, Amazonian governments have not made riding the vast region of illegal exploiters a priority.

"All Amazonian governments must stop the rampant illegal mining, logging and settlement in indigenous territories. It inevitably leads to massacres of Indian men, women and children," Stephen Cory, director of Survival International said in a statement. "The Venezuelan authorities must now bring the killers to swift justice, and send a signal throughout the region that Indians can no longer be killed with impunity."

With record gold prices, illegal gold mining in the Amazon has become an epidemic. The practice not only leads to conflict with indigenous people, but destroys forests, contaminates rivers with mercury, and fuels social problems such as forced labor and child prostitution. For their part, the Yanomami have been especially plagued by miners in their territory. Just last month, Brazil arrested 26 linked to the underground trade operating in its Yanomami Indigenous Reserve.

Despite the massacre a Venezuelan source, who asked to remain anonymous, told mongabay.com that they expected little action by the government.

"There is no will to stop these guys, which is relatively straight-forward to do. Governments have to do [the stopping], and militaries have to constantly soak up the investment by allowing expensive equipment, including helicopters, to reach remote sites, and then confiscating [illegal mining equipment]."

Bron : mongabay.com






 

 

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Hunger strike by Mapuche Indigenous at UNICEF headquarters

Mapuche Representatives began a hunger strike at the headquarters of the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF, for its acronym in Spanish) in Santiago, to denounce the criminalization of the Mapuche and noted the lack of support from the Unicef ​​to the claims of the original community.

The Indians remain a month at the headquarters of Unicef ​​ and have repeatedly denounced the passivity of this organism to the abuse of children and young Mapuche in this South American nation

 

Mapuche mailinglist in English/Dutch

 

20:00 Gepost door Martina Roels | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

25-08-12

International Day, at Headquarters on 9 August, Will Shine Spotlight on Role Of Indigenous Media in Helping Preserve Cultures, Challenge Stereotypes

This year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (9 August) will shine a spotlight on indigenous media — television, radio, film and social media — and their role in helping to preserve indigenous cultures, challenge stereotypes and influence the social and political agenda.

An event at United Nations Headquarters in New York on the theme “Indigenous Media, Empowering Indigenous Voices” will feature remarks by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs; Grand Chief Edward John, Chairperson of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and others.  It will be followed by a panel discussion with representatives of indigenous media organizations from across the world and video clips produced by indigenous peoples.

The panel, moderated by Amy Stretten, will include Kenneth Deer, founder of the newspaper The Eastern Door; Nils Johan Heatta, Chairman of the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters Network; J. Kehaulani Kauanui, a professor at Wesleyan University and radio producer; and Angel Tibán Guala, Director of Television for the Movimiento Indígena Campesino de Cotopaxi (TV MICC).

“From community radio and television to feature films and documentaries, from video art and newspapers to the Internet and social media, indigenous peoples are using these powerful tools to challenge mainstream narratives, bring human rights violations to international attention and forge global solidarity,” Secretary-General Ban said in his message for the Day.  “They are also developing their own media to reflect indigenous values and fight against myths and misconceptions.”

There are an estimated 370 million indigenous people in some 70 countries around the world.  Practising unique traditions, they retain social, cultural, economic and political characteristics that are distinct from those of the dominant societies in which they live.  Spread across the world from the Arctic to the Amazon, indigenous peoples reflect the world’s cultural diversity and are the custodians of its biodiversity.

The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007, recognizes indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination (Article 3), as well as their right to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development, and develop past, present and future manifestations of their culture in various forms.

“Indigenous voices are recounting compelling stories of how they are combating centuries of injustice and discrimination, and advocating for the resources and rights that will preserve their cultures, languages, spirituality and traditions,” the Secretary-General said.  “They offer an alternative perspective on development models that exclude the indigenous experience.  They promote the mutual respect and intercultural understanding that is a precondition for a society without poverty and prejudice.”

The event will also include a screening of the film Voices through Time, produced by Centro de Culturas Indígenas del Perú (Chirapaq) and documenting the efforts of indigenous men, women and youth to use radio and new communications technologies as means to build networks and make their cultures, demands and aspirations visible.
Bron : United Nations

 

 

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