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Guyana’s forest and climate plans continue to generate controversy and sideline indigenous peoples

While the President of Guyana was named a “Champion of the Earth” by the UN earlier this year in relation to his efforts to secure international support for forest protection and “low carbon” growth, some indigenous leaders and civil society organisations both inside and outside the country continue to expose and challenge the deep contradictions in the government’s forest and climate plans. In June 2010, the President of the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) made a strong statement to the Sixth Participant’s Committee meeting of the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) in Georgetown, asking why key land rights issues raised repeatedly by APA have still not been addressed in the Guyana Forestry Commission’s (GFC) latest REDD+ readiness proposals.

Press Release: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Agrees to hear case of Indigenous Peoples in Raposa Serra do Sol, Brazil

 

After years of waiting, during which they suffered from violent attacks and the degradation of their ancestral lands, the Ingaricó, Macuxi, Patamona, Taurepang and Wapichana indigenous peoples of Raposa Serra do Sol received a favorable decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  During its last session at the end of October, the Commission issued an admissibility decision in their case against the Government of Brazil. In doing so, the Commission signaled not only that the Government’s treatment of indigenous peoples in Raposa may constitute a violation of their human rights, but that the Commission is now ready to enter its final stage of review of the case and issue a concluding report.

Teribe people of Costa Rica demand their rights in relation to the Diquís Dam

For over 40 years, the Costa Rican government has planned the construction of one of the largest hydroelectric dams in Central America. The plan has been modified several times due to serious criticism for its potential negative environmental and social impacts – especially on indigenous peoples. In 2008, the government of Costa Rica declared the Diquís Dam as being of public interest and national convenience, giving full support for its construction. The proposed Diquís Dam will flood more than 10% of the traditional and titled lands of the Teribe people and more than 5% of those of the Cabécar People. The Teribe people consider the Diquís Dam as a grave threat to their survival as a people, since the Teribe total around only 750 individuals.

Press Release: Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Agrees to Hear Case of Indigenous Peoples in Raposa Serra do Sol, Brazil, November 15th, 2010. Rainforest Foundation US and Forest Peoples Programme

 

After years of waiting, during which they suffered from violent attacks and the degradation of their ancestral lands, the Ingaricó, Macuxi, Patamona, Taurepang and Wapichana indigenous peoples of Raposa Serra do Sol received a favorable decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.  During its last session at the end of October, the Commission issued an admissibility decision in their case against the Government of Brazil. In doing so, the Commission signaled not only that the Government’s treatment of indigenous peoples in Raposa may constitute a violation of their human rights, but that the Commission is now ready to enter its final stage of review of the case and issue a concluding report.

Swimming Against the Current:The Teribe Peoples and the El Diquis Hydroelectric Project in Costa Rica, Report by the Human Rights Clinic at the University of Texas School of Law

Students from the Human Rights Clinic of the University of Texas School of Law traveled to Costa Rica in the spring of 2010 to investigate the proposed creation of the largest hydroelectric project of its kind in Central America and its impact on the indigenous Teribe people. In violation of international human rights law, the Costa Rican government is proceeding without the consultation with and the free, prior and informed consent of the Teribe people who live on the proposed site. The Human Rights Clinic published the following report in English and in Spanish: Swimming Against the Current: The Teribe Peoples and the El Diquis Hydroelectric Project in Costa Rica

Brazilian advocates' and indigenous organizations' letter to Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) concerning Belo Monte hydroelectric dam project in Brazil

A group of Brazilian advocates and indigenous organizations concerned about the large Belo Monte hydroelectric dam project in Brazil have written to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), urging them to adopt the Brazil - Raposa do Sol case, which is being assisted by Forest Peoples Programme, in this October session of the Commission.

Wayuu women in Colombia ask UN Permanent Forum to act

In July 2010, the Fuerza de Mujeres Wayuu, an indigenous women’s organisation, created by and composed of members of the Wayuu community in Colombia, presented a report to the United Nations’ Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII), denouncing the multiple forms of human rights violations that Wayuu women experience due to their gender and because they belong to an indigenous group fighting for the recognition of their land rights in Colombia. 

Guyana: indigenous peoples continue to be left out

During May, the Norwegian Government announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Guyana to contribute US$230 million towards the country's Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS). It only remained to be decided which financial agency would act as the intermediary with the fiduciary responsibility to make sure the monies were handed over with due care. Would this be the World Bank and what standards would the World Bank follow to supply this money?

Free, Prior and Informed Consent - Making FPIC work for Forests and Peoples

The right of indigenous peoples to give or withhold their free prior and informed consent to projects, laws and policies that may affect their rights is affirmed in international law. Making this right effective is more challenging: and what should private sector companies do to ensure they respect this right? This 'scoping paper'has been prepared by FPP for The Forests Dialogue to stimulate an interactive discussion about how to respect FPIC in practice among all those concerned about forests and rights.

Scoping paper prepared for The Forest Dialogue's (TFD) FPIC Initiative.

Press Release Guyana - Indigenous leaders harassed for exercising their constitutional rights; criticized for demanding respect for their inherent land rights

Indigenous leaders, who chose to exercise their right to free speech as guaranteed in the Constitution of Guyana, are now being targeted by the government as a direct result of the public statement by participants at the Workshop on Indigenous Peoples' Rights, Extractive Industries and National Development Policies in Guyana. (See the public statement under related reports)Press Release issued by the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA)

Press Release - Guyana - Indigenous Peoples Demand Action on Land Rights, Consent Issues

At a week-long workshop on 'Indigenous Peoples' Rights, Extractive Industries and National Development Policies in Guyana' from 2-8 March 2010, the topics covered were: indigenous peoples' right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) and the extractive sector, the Government of Guyana's recent Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and REDD+ policies. Amerindian leaders shared their experiences of both public-sector and private development projects and proposals within their territories.