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Press Release: Amerindian Peoples Association calls for Government of Guyana to secure full extent of traditional lands

GEORGETOWN, May 13, 2016: The Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) held its 9th General Assembly on 10-12 May 2016 in the village of Pakuri, Region 4. The main issues discussed during the assembly included land rights, climate change, and the various social and environmental issues affecting indigenous communities throughout the country. The assembly also highlighted the proactive measures communities are engaged in to build a stronger, greener, and more just Guyana.

Indigenous peoples in Guyana call for strong protections for customary land rights and application of FPIC in timber trade agreement with the EU

In two newly released reports, indigenous leaders point out that the current concession allocations system in Guyana is unjust, severely flawed and facilitated by a national legal framework that does not fully respect their internationally protected rights to their customary lands and resources.

The foreign companies come and they have legal rights and we the people who have been living here all the time do not have legal rights.” [Resident, Kwebanna village]

Action on land rights and FPIC are key to effective forest and climate initiatives - finds new APA and FPP special report on Guyana

Guyana has been a major proponent of international funding for avoided deforestation in tropical countries. In 2009 the government signed an MOU with the Kingdom of Norway under an agreement to reduce deforestation, pursue low carbon (non-fossil fuel) development and enter into negotiations with the EU on a trade treaty under the Forest Law Enforcement Governance and Trade (FLEGT) initiative. Almost five years after the signing of this bilateral agreement, how are indigenous peoples’ rights and local benefit sharing issues being addressed in Guyana’s land use, forest and climate policies?

Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) Press Release: Concerns with Amerindian Land Titling Project under the Guyana/Norway Guyana REDD Investment Fund (GRIF)

On Monday October 21, 2013 the Government of Guyana and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a contract for the Amerindian Land Titling Project under the Guyana/Norway Guyana REDD Investment Fund (GRIF) arrangement. This signing took place during the opening session of the Seventh Annual Meeting of the National Toshaos Council and is heralded by President Donald Ramotar as fulfilling a promise made to the Amerindian people in the PPP’s manifesto. Campaigning? According to another government official Minister of Finance Ashni Singh, the project will give Amerindians control over the lands that belong to them. The project, according to the government is to facilitate the titling and demarcation of Amerindian lands. 

Indigenous peoples’ organisations and international NGOs call for slowdown of Guyana-EU FLEGT process

In April and May 2013 the Amerindian Peoples’ Association (APA) of Guyana and a consortium of European NGOs, including Forest Peoples Programme, sent letters to the Guyana Forestry Commission (GFC) and the European Commission (EU) respectively, expressing concerns about rushed consultation processes and a lack of meaningful participation by forest dependent communities in the FLEGT process. 

Una organización de pueblos indígenas y varias ONG internacionales piden que se frene el proceso FLEGT de Guyana y la UE

En abril y mayo de 2013 la Asociación de Pueblos Amerindios (APA) de Guyana y un consorcio de ONG europeas, entre las que se incluye el Forest Peoples Programme, enviaron sendas cartas a la Comisión Forestal de Guyana (GFC por sus siglas en inglés) y la Comisión Europea (CE) expresando su inquietud ante los acelerados procesos de consulta y la falta de participación significativa de comunidades que dependen de los bosques en el proceso FLEGT. 

AMERINDIAN PEOPLES ASSOCIATION (APA) PRESS RELEASE: The APA Has Never Called for a “State within a State” but Instead Respect for Indigenous Rights

Recently and even more than before there has been a spate of letters appearing in the Guyana Chronicle leveled at criticizing the work of the Amerindian Peoples Association (APA) and making totally false and malicious statements and assertions about the organisation and its Vice President Tony James. These include ones written by Noel Antone (June 6), Patrick Austin (June 9) and Peter Persaud (June 12). Letters such as those above have been given ready publication by the Chronicle but when the APA has responded to provide the truth, our letters or releases are never published by the paper.

Indigenous peoples’ rights violated and traditional lands in Guyana threatened by mining

At the beginning of 2013, indigenous peoples in Guyana are becoming increasingly alarmed over continuing and growing disregard for their legitimate rights by miners and government agencies and gross rights violations which have been endorsed by the judiciary in two recent cases. In 2012, the mining lobby publicly attacked indigenous peoples’ land rights in the Guyanese press and pledged to oppose recognition of customary lands. Meanwhile, the government agency responsible for regulating the mining sector appears to be accelerating the issuance of mining permits and concessions on Amerindian customary lands, despite the fact that these same lands are the subject of legal actions in the courts seeking recognition of traditional ownership rights and/or unresolved village applications for land title and title extensions.

Derechos de los pueblos indígenas violados y tierras tradicionales amenazadas por la minería en Guyana

Al comienzo de 2013 los pueblos indígenas de Guyana se encuentran cada vez más alarmados por el continuo y creciente desprecio de sus derechos legítimos por parte de los mineros y las agencias gubernamentales, y por las flagrantes violaciones de derechos que han sido respaldadas por el poder judicial en dos casos recientes. En 2012, el grupo de presión de la minería atacó públicamente los derechos territoriales de los pueblos indígenas en la prensa guyanesa y prometió oponerse al reconocimiento de las tierras consuetudinarias. Mientras tanto, la agencia gubernamental responsable de regular el sector minero parece estar acelerando la expedición de permisos y la aprobación de concesiones mineras en tierras consuetudinarias amerindias, a pesar de que dichas tierras son objeto de acciones judiciales en los tribunales para que se reconozcan los derechos de propiedad tradicionales y/o de solicitudes pendientes de títulos de propiedad o extensiones de títulos de las comunidades en esas tierras.

Comunicado de Prensa: Un fallo judicial en Guyana viola los derechos de los pueblos indígenas

COMUNICADO DE PRENSA - Para divulgación inmediata

Una decisión judicial controvertida favorece a los mineros por encima de los pueblos indígenas, en momentos en los que el país desciende a niveles aún más bajos de doble estándares en materia de derechos humanos y desarrollo

El 17 de enero de 2013, la Corte Superior de Guyana falló a favor de un minero que tiene una concesión minera en tierras indígenas tituladas. La sentencia dictamina que los mineros que obtuvieron los permisos de minería antes de la Ley Amerindia de 2006 no están sujetos a sus disposiciones. Por consiguiente, no tienen que obtener un permiso de las comunidades indígenas antes de realizar sus operaciones en las tierras de la comunidad.

Views of FPP partners on Rio+20 summit

Forest Peoples Programme and a delegation of indigenous peoples’ leaders from Guyana, Suriname, Peru, Panama and Kenya attended the Rio+20 Indigenous Peoples’ International Conference on Self-Sustainable Development and Self-Determination from 17-19 June and the formal Rio+20 intergovernmental meeting from 20-22 June 2012.

Comentarios de los socios del FPP sobre la Cumbre de Río+20

El programa para los Pueblos de los Bosques (FPP) y una delegación de líderes de los pueblos indígenas de Guyana, Surinam, Perú, Panamá y Kenia, asistieron a la “Conferencia Internacional de los Pueblos Indígenas Río+20  sobre el Desarrollo Sostenible y la Libre-determinación”, del 17 al 19 de junio, y a la reunión intergubernamental oficial de Río+20, del 20 al 22 de junio de 2012.  Los delegados tomaron parte además en la reunión Carioca II y la Cumbre de los Pueblos, y participaron en el Día de Acción Global el 20 de junio.Luego de una semana ajetreada de conferencias de prensa, presentaciones públicas, marchas y asistencia a reuniones oficiales y eventos paralelos, el FPP les pidió a los delegados que comentaran acerca de la experiencia Río+20 y las cuestiones conexas. Abajo se presentan algunos extractos de estas entrevistas.

Press Release: Indigenous peoples insist on rights-based approaches and respect for traditional knowledge and practices in Rio+20 outcomes

As government representatives start formal negotiations in Brazil to seek agreements on so-called ‘green economy’ policies and to assess progress in fulfilling commitments on environment and development made at the Rio Earth Summit twenty years ago, indigenous peoples from all over the world have come together at the Rio+20 global summit to put forward their own solutions for sustainable development and to flag serious risks associated with government ‘green’ proposals.