Alternative report to the Initial report of the Republic of Uganda to be presented at the 55th session of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: 1st – 19th June 2015
What are the prospects for securing the land rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, and women in the foreseeable future?
Significantly, the report of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, under Goal 1 to “End Poverty”, sets a target to “Increase by x% the share of women and men, communities, and businesses with secure rights to land, property, and other assets”.
Mutual recognition, mutual respect and mutual benefit are among the desirable attributes of all human relationships. Indigenous peoples and other forest peoples also expect these qualities in their relationships with others – be they governments, private corporations, NGOs or other indigenous peoples’ organisations and communities. This issue of Forest Peoples Programme’s E-Newsletter reports on the state of various relationships between forest peoples and different institutions – as these are forged, tested or broken –in the course of assertions for upholding basic human rights, social justice and solidarity.
The importance of ensuring respect for the rights of forest peoples’ to control their forests, lands and livelihoods, becomes ever clearer and yet more contested. As the articles in this edition of our newsletter starkly reveal, land and resource grabs are not just being imposed by commercial developers but are being actively promoted by governments, whose principle responsibility should be to protect the rights of citizens. Yet these same impositions are also being resisted, sometimes at great personal cost, by local communities and indigenous peoples.
Indigenous peoples’ representatives met with Chairs of Commissions of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and other conservation organizations, for a high-level dialogue during the Sharing Power conference, in Whakatane, New Zealand, on January 13th, 2011. IUCN agreed to review the implementation of resolutions related to indigenous peoples taken at the 4th World Conservation Congress (WCC4) in 2008, in Barcelona, Spain, and to advance their implementation. These resolutions, along with the Durban Action Plan and the Programme of Work on Protected Areas of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), are often termed as the “new conservation paradigm”. They are crucial for ensuring that conservation practices respect the rights of indigenous peoples and their full and effective participation in policy and practice. Unfortunately, the actual implementation of these decisions in support of indigenous peoples has been very patchy. The information gathered by the IUCN review processes will feed into its 2013-2016 Programme, to be discussed and adopted in September 2012 in Jeju, Republic of Korea.
Specifically, the meeting participants agreed that IUCN will:
· Reinforce its multi-level process (encompassing international, regional, national and local levels) to assess and advance the implementation of the “new conservation paradigm”. This process would focus on specific WCC4 resolutions relevant to indigenous peoples.
· Implement pilot assessments of protected areas at the local level that should be carried out by teams composed of indigenous peoples, IUCN national and international offices, government officials and other relevant actors. The pilot assessments should specify recommendations to address gaps between the observed practices and the ‘new conservation paradigm’. The findings will be reported in national workshops, which will then explore ways to implement the recommendations from the assessments. The assessments would also bring examples of successful projects and best practices to the international community.
· Carry out a review of the implementation of each of the WCC4 resolutions relevant to indigenous peoples, based on information from commissions and regional and global thematic programmes. This review will identify gaps and make recommendations to address them, which will be included in IUCN’s 2013-2016 Programme.
· Submit reports on these matters to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the CBD.
· Spread awareness of WCC4 resolutions on indigenous peoples to all national IUCN offices.
· Improve the coordination between regional and national IUCN offices and indigenous peoples’ organizations.
Will conservation organisations finally take practical action to implement agreed commitments that recognise the rights of indigenous peoples in protected areas?
Paragraphs 39-40 contain recommendations towards the rights of Batwa women.
Submitted by United Organisation for Batwa Development in Uganda (UOBDU) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP)
Provides information on the situation of the indigenous Batwa people of Uganda and comments on Uganda's First Periodic Report to the Commission
Commissioner Soyata Maiga, Special Rapporteur on Women's Rights in Africa, heard directly from indigenous women about the difficulties that they and their communities face, at a special event held at the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.
Nadine Mballa, CED, Cameroon
Why have you decided to attend the African Commission? I came here because FPP gave me the opportunity. I am working on the indigenous issue and the African Commission allows NGO representatives to speak on human rights issues. I am here to try to bring awareness of violations of indigenous peoples' rights in my country.
Part of FPP's series on Forest Peoples and Protected Areas focusing on Uganda Eight country studies and a synthesis report review the progress of the application of indigenous peoples’ rights with regards to protected areas since 2003.
A review of Uganda's implementation of the CBD Programme of Work on Protected Areas as part of FPP series on Indigenous Peoples and Protected Areas
Report on Indigenous People in Uganda. Published in The Indigenous World 2007, IWGIA's Yearbook pages 477-481.
In collaboration with the United Organisation for Batwa Development in Uganda (UOBDU) and the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), FPP submitted a supplementary report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights to provide information to the Commission on the human rights situation of the Batwa in Uganda.
A shadow report was submitted to the UN's Committee on the Rights of the Child by FPP and UOBDU (United Organisation for Batwa Development in Uganda) which outlined the deplorable situation of Batwa children in Uganda. As a result, the Committee expressed its concern at the situation of Batwa children, in particular with regard to their limited access to basic social services, including health care and education, and the violation of their rights to survival and development, to enjoy their own culture and to be protected from discrimination.