Resources

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.

Indigenous Peoples in Paraguay seek solid guarantees for the protection of their collective rights in national REDD planning processes

Indigenous Peoples and indigenous organisations in Paraguay have worked hard in 2010 to obtain guarantees from the government and the United Nations that any policy, decision or initiative relating to REDD readiness will respect their collective rights, including rights to land and the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC). Through its participation in the national REDD Committee, for example, the Coordinadora por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos Indígenas (CAPI) has stressed that the UN-REDD programme must comply fully with its own Operational Guidance on Indigenous Peoples. At the same time, CAPI has insisted that the government must fulfil its obligations under international and regional human rights treaties that the country has ratified. 

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.

Indigenous peoples strive for recognition of their rights as international agencies scramble for REDD+ deal

While inter-governmental climate negotiations (UNFCCC) still face major stumbling blocks to achieving a global agreement on climate change finance, independent initiatives on REDD+ have multiplied in the past few months. At the same time, indigenous peoples continue to express concerns that insufficient measures are being taken to respect their rights. The Governments leading the ‘Interim REDD+ Partnership’, for example, have held meetings in recent months that have not given enough space for indigenous peoples’ participation. Meanwhile the key donor agencies in the ‘Partnership’ are seeking to harmonize their REDD-related activities and finance: the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) has responsibility for ‘readiness planning’ and preparation activities (the so-called ‘first’ phase’) and then a ‘third phase’ of actual REDD actions; the World  Bank’s Forest Investment Programme (FIP) has funds for a ‘second phase’ of  implementing the ‘readiness plan’; and UN-REDD, which deals with measuring, reporting and verification (MRV), stakeholder engagement and indigenous peoples’ participation.

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. 

‘Unsafeguarded’ Norwegian money for REDD triggers controversy

The dismally slow progress in the intergovernmental negotiations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases prompted the Norwegian government, in May, to fast track its own money through a parallel ad hoc financing mechanism to pay developing countries for reducing their emissions from deforestation. The process was initially set up with minimal participation but, in response to protests, the Norwegian Government insisted that it would require respect for indigenous peoples’ rights and sound governance. These claims are beginning to seem increasingly hollow.