Kathmandu, Nepal, July 14, 2015 – Last week an independent investigation revealed serious abuses in a World Bank-funded transmission line project in central Nepal. The Khimti-Dhalkebar transmission line runs through indigenous and rural communities, who have been raising concerns about the project for over five years. Though the findings validate community concerns, the World Bank has not committed to correcting the damage caused by its failures in this project.
KATHMANDU, May 13: Indigenous communities have lauded the Supreme Court´s (SC) recent order on filling the 26 vacant CA seats with representatives of indigenous communities that have not been represented in the CA. They have expressed hope that the implementation of the decision would make the new Constituent Assembly (CA) to be more inclusive. Of the total CA seats, 575 have already been filled, with only 23 of the total 59 scheduled indigenous communities represented at present.
‘The indigenous women’s voices and “her stories”, as an integral part of the women’s movement and indigenous peoples’ movement, remain faint. This reflects the overall conditions of indigenous women as relatively more marginalized, discriminated against and dis-empowered at all levels. It also illustrates the urgent need to strengthen indigenous women’s organizations and institutions, as well as their leadership and effective participation, in all matters that concern them as women and as indigenous peoples.’ Joan Carling, Secretary General, AIPP.
Tensions ran high on Saturday in Sindhuli district in central Nepal when locals obstructed resumption of physical works of Khimti-Dhalkebar 220 kV Electricity Transmission Line under Nepal Power Development Project funded by World Bank.
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”.
Kathmandu, Nepal, July 10, 2013 – Today, communities in Nepal filed a complaint with the World Bank, demanding accountability for a Bank-funded high-voltage transmission line slated to affect over 100,000 poor and marginalized indigenous villagers.
The contours of “New Nepal” we all dream of cannot be shaped without appropriately addressing the concerns being raised by the indigenous women, who comprise half the female population. Traditionally, these women enjoyed greater degree of freedom and socioeconomic status than those from the so-called high caste Hindu groups such as Bahun, Chhetri, and Thakuri, who were restricted by pervasive patriarchy and religious orthodoxy. Unlike these women of the Indo-Aryan origin, the indigenous women were adept in handicrafts and other enterprises and freely participated in socio-cultural events. They faced no restriction during menstruation and were even free to choose their life partner and to remarry if they became single. They were also less affected by the dowry system.
Projects and programme interventions of multilateral development banks have a record of systematic and widespread human rights violations for indigenous peoples in Asia. In many countries, indigenous peoples have been subjected to widespread displacement and irreversible loss of traditional livelihoods. Behind these human rights violations is the denial of indigenous peoples’ rights to their lands, territories and resources and to their right to give their free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) to projects and programme interventions, including those in the name of sustainable development and human development. Among them, the large infrastructure (dams and highway construction) and environmental “conservation” projects have had the most detrimental adverse impacts on indigenous peoples. There are a good number of examples of such projects that have negatively impacted indigenous peoples’ communities in Asian countries, some of which follow below.
As multiple international agencies adopt and update their social and environmental policies, this special edition Forest Peoples Programme E-Newsletter reviews experiences of communities and civil society with the safeguard policies of various international financial institutions.
In a meeting with World Bank officials today, representatives of indigenous and local communities of Sindhuli district in central Nepal have urged the Bank to take actions for alternatives to the construction of Khimti-Dhalkebar 220 KV Transmission Line in the district under Nepal Power Development Project co-financed by the Bank.
1. Destruction at Dawn: The Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the Republic of Nepal
An in-depth report into the development of the Arun III hydropower project and the challenges it, and projects like it, pose to the Nepali government commitments to protect the rights and interests of indigenous peoples (LAHURNIP, NGO-FONIN and FPP).
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.
An in-depth report by LAHURNIP, NGO-FONIN and Forest Peoples Programme into the development of the Arun III hydropower project and the challenges it, and projects like it, pose to the Nepali government commitments to protect the rights and interests of indigenous peoples.
This submission had been made jointly by the Nepal Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF), the Lawyer’s Association for the Human Rights of Nepal’s Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) and by the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP).
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.
A shadow report to the 49th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), jointly submitted by the National Indigenous Women's Federation (NIWF), the Lawyers' Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP).
In January 2010, the Indigenous Peoples Mega Front, the Lawyers' Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) and the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) submitted a request to the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Indigenous Peoples, following Nepal's failure to comply with UN recommendations regarding the exclusion of indigenous peoples from the revision of Nepal's Constitution. Link to the Request to UN Special Rapporteur