FPP has published two new publications; 'Oil Palm Expansion in South East Asia: Trends and implications for local communities and indigenous peoples' and 'Divers paths to justice: Legal pluralism and the rights of indigenous peoples in Southeast Asia'.
At its 50th Session, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) adopted a resolution condemning the recent decision of the World Heritage Committee to inscribe Lake Bogoria in Kenya on the World Heritage List. The issue at stake was the almost complete lack of involvement of the Endorois (the indigenous owners of the territory) in the decision-making process. This is particularly problematic in light of the African Commission’s earlier decision on the case of Centre for Minority Rights Development (Kenya) and Minority Rights Group International on behalf of Endorois Welfare Council v Kenya adopted at the 46th Ordinary Session held from 11–25 November 2009 in Banjul, The Gambia, and endorsed by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union in February 2010. This earlier decision and the recent resolution both emphasize that the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) must be adhered to in the lands and territories of indigenous peoples. Failing to involve indigenous peoples in decision-making processes and failing to obtain Free, Prior and Informed Consent constitutes a violation of their right to development under Article 22 of the African Charter, and other international laws.
Many statements from indigenous peoples organisations were made on the occasion of the 50th African Commission session held in Banjul in October 2011. As well as the implementation of the 2010 African Commission’s decision regarding the Endorois in Kenya, the situation of indigenous women in Burundi and Kenya were addressed. Burundi was also examined under the state reporting procedure, which raised issues pertaining to the rights of indigenous peoples.
The international meeting of South East Asian Regional Human Rights Commissions on ‘Human Rights and Business: Plural Legal Approaches to Conflict Resolution, Institutional Strengthening and Legal Reform’ hosted by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (KOMNASHAM), in conjunction with Sawit Watch and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) was held in Bali, Indonesia, from 28th November to 1st December 2011.
PRESS INFORMATION – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A landmark workshop, “Human Rights and Business: Plural Legal Approaches to Conflict Resolution, Institutional Strengthening and Legal Reform”, is taking place at the Santika Hotel, Kuta, Bali, from today until 1 December 2011, convened by the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and supporting NGOs SawitWatch and Forest Peoples Programme. The event will be attended by over 60 participants, from the National Human Rights Commissions of the Southeast Asian region, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Human Rights Commission, notable academics, representatives of indigenous peoples, as well as members of supportive national and international NGOs.
Nur Kholis, Deputy Chairperson of the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), said,
“We are taking this initiative in collaboration with the other human rights commissioners of South East Asia as a way of ensuring a more balanced approach to development based on respect for peoples’ rights, with an emphasis on the need to secure livelihoods and the right to food.”
Statement by the Toshaos, Councillors and Community members of the Upper Mazaruni
Warwata, Upper Mazaruni
Indigenous Peoples of the Venezuelan Amazon again call on the Government of Hugo Chavez to fulfil its constitutonal obligation to recognise indigenous peoples' rights to their territories (referred to as 'habitat' in Venezuelan law). Only 73 villages out of over 3,000 have had their lands recognised since the law for demarcations was passed in the late 1990s leaving most indigenous peoples in Venezuela in insecurity.
In Africa, Asia and Latin America alike, forest peoples are speaking out against the continuing violations of their rights imposed by development and conservation plans that ignore their interests and deny them a voice. They go beyond resistance, insisting on their own ways of managing their lives, lands and forests.
Scale Up, an Indonesian partner of Forest Peoples Programme, has been monitoring the evolution of social conflict in Indonesian oil palm plantations over recent years. Studies on conflict over natural resources in Riau province conducted by this partner over the last four years have shown a trend towards an increase in frequency and extent of disputed land each year, with a slight decline in 2010. Based on Scale Up’s annual report of 2007, 111,745 hectares of land in the Riau area were subject to conflicting claims to natural resources, an area which increased to 200,586 hectares in 2008 and to 345,619 hectares in 2009. In 2010, the disputed land area decreased slightly to 342,571 hectares, compared to 2009. This was largely due to the fact that a large number of disputed areas and ensuing conflicts in that year were not identified or documented.
In July, the 49th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) met in New York. Indigenous women in Nepal, under the umbrella of the Nepal Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF), attended the session for the first time to defend and explain the findings that they had presented to the Committee in their Shadow Report.
The report was supported also by the Lawyer’s Association for the Human Rights of Nepal’s Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) and by the Forest Peoples Programme, and represented the first national level, self-researched and written, report on the status of indigenous women in the newly emerging Nepalese republic.
Hosted by ‘Le Centre pour l’Environnement et le Développement’ (CED), and co-organised by FPP with partners CED, FERN and ClientEarth, the African Community Rights Network (ACRN) regional four-day workshop on securing community rights to forest lands took place from 12-16 September in Douala, Cameroon. The workshop brought together around 50 representatives from civil society organisations (CSOs) and communities from seven countries in the Congo basin, Ghana and Liberia, as well as land tenure expert, Liz Alden Wily. The workshop was funded by the European Union and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).
The workshop culminated in position statements to government, and to civil society and communities. The statements expressed the conclusions of participants that the central and urgent issue to be addressed was how community rights to customary lands and resources could be secured as property rights in national laws. The statements also set out the means for securing this formal protection and supporting community governance. This common vision was presented to officials from Cameroon’s government on the final morning of the workshop by Silas Siakor, director of the Liberian ‘Sustainable Development Institute’ (SDI), on behalf of the workshop.