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Updated Press Release: Bali Declaration acclaimed at Agribusiness and Human Rights in Southeast Asia Workshop

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 Release: Agribusiness and Human Rights in Southeast Asia Workshop brings together Human Rights Commissioners, indigenous peoples’ representatives, academics and NGOs from across the world. November 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.”

FPP E-Newsletter October 2011 (PDF Version)

Dear Friends,

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.

Conflict and the Importance of Tenure Reform in Indonesia, Ahmad Zazali (Scale Up)

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.

Indigenous women raise their voices at CEDAW

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.

Request for Consideration of the Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Merauke, Papua Province, Indonesia, under the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’s Urgent Action and Early Warning Procedures. 31 July 2011

This request concerns the situation of the Malind and other indigenous peoples of the Merauke District, Papua Province, in the Republic of Indonesia. The Malind and others are presently experiencing and are threatened with additional and imminent irreparable harm due to the massive and non-consensual alienation and conversion of their ancestral lands and forests by the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate project (“MIFEE project”).

The Rights of Indigenous Women in Nepal

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).

Upcoming AIWN & FPP publication: Guide to CEDAW for indigenous women in Asia

Asian Indigenous Women’s Network and Forest Peoples Programme have developed a series of booklets addressing the human rights framework, the rights of indigenous peoples and the rights of women as enshrined in and protected by the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. The booklets have been designed specifically to address the situations of indigenous women in Asia and include a detailed compilation of existing CEDAW jurisprudence related to indigenous women.

UN human rights bodies take note of massive land speculation in Papua New Guinea

Lands held and managed under custom in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are regularly quoted as covering the vast majority of the country’s land mass, 97% is the usually accepted figure. The remaining 3% of lands, no longer governed by tradition and custom, are referred to as ‘alienated lands’ and come under the management of the Department of Lands and Physical Planning.  However these remarkable figures of land tenure security hide a grimmer truth. Over the past 13 months alone almost 10% of the land mass of Papua New Guinea has been issued out as concessions under an arrangement known as ‘Special Agricultural and Business Leases’ (SABL). Under these lease agreements, the government leases customary lands from traditional owners and re-leases the same lands, often to a third party, with customary rights to the lands suspended for the term of the lease.  

Gender and land rights in Asia

29 indigenous women from 10 different countries across the Asia Pacific region met in Manila, Philippines, in November 2010, to discuss the challenges indigenous women and their communities face in relation to their land rights. The workshop was collaboratively held by the Asian Indigenous Women’s Network (AIWN) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP). Land rights across the region, indeed the world, are of central importance in ensuring that indigenous peoples are able to survive as culturally distinct peoples. Asia and the Pacific contain a huge array of circumstances for indigenous peoples, from indigenous majority countries like Fiji in the Pacific to countries in mainland Asia where indigenous peoples are not even recognized by their governments.