The Forest Peoples Programme is shocked and dismayed at the inclusion of key human rights defenders in the recent Philippines Government petition labelling a large number of individuals in the Philippines as ‘terrorists’. The inclusion of these individuals, and those similarly dedicated to the peaceful realisation of human rights, constitutes an attack on the struggle of indigenous peoples for equitable realisation of their rights, including their rights to lands, resources, cultures and collective futures.
Leaders from the Shipibo community of Santa Clara de Uchunya, Peru, have reported a spike in violent threats and intimidation in the weeks following a court injunction against the palm oil company responsible for appropriating and deforesting more than 7,000 hectares of their ancestral territory.
On the international day of human rights, indigenous federation FAPI issued a statement expressing solidarity with the Jejytymiri community of the Ava Guaraní people, denouncing further abuses committed against the Makutinga indigenous community, of the Mbya Guaraní people.
Human rights defenders, whistle-blowers and witnesses face a huge variety of dangers while fighting to expose human rights abuses and related illegal resource use, land grabs and corruption. Recent reports show that defenders are facing ever higher risks, yet current protection mechanisms are failing to keep up.
Karen representatives today vowed to appeal against the recent Thai court verdict that ruled the authorities did not break the law in burning their properties to forcefully evict them from Kaeng Krachan National Park. Indigenous rights groups have called for effective redress for the affected communities saying that the ruling violated international human rights law.
Decisions are due to be made about the controversial Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) Bill 2015 in India.
The Bill would create a Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF), which means centre and state authorities - with little indigenous representation - would decide how to spend most of the compensatory funds rather than sharing them with forest-dependent communities.
Armed guards from the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) have been burning the homes of the Ogiek in order to forcibly evict them from their lands in west Kenya.
On 12 November 2015, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) and its partner in Paraguay, the Federación por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos Indígenas (FAPI) released a companion set of reports describing the current situation of indigenous people, their lands, resources, and territories in Paraguay, along with the national legal framework that is meant to respect, promote and protect their rights. Many have argued that the last big “land grab” with respect to indigenous lands, resources and territories will not be from large infrastructure projects, but from conservation and resource protection initiatives.
My name is Andres Noningo Sesen, I live in Puerto Galilea, a community in Northern Peruvian amazon. We are Wampis, one of the first peoples. Our ancestral lands cover over 1.3 million hectares of forest in the river basins of the Kanus (river Santiago) and Kanken (river Morona). We Wampis are a forest people, traditionally we lived in small groups, dispersed in the forest, hunting, fishing and gathering. It’s only recently that we have settled in large communities.
The Indigenous Wampis people of the Upper Amazon in Peru are on the verge of establishing their own autonomous self governing body to control and oversee their integralterritory. The Wampis communities reject large dam, road and hydrocarbon projects in their territory, (Statements and resolutions available in Spanish only).
Click here to view the statements
On 4th June, the regional organisation of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon in Venezuela (ORPIA) issued an appeal to President Maduro and the national administration to halt the mining that is destroying the lands and livelihoods of the indigenous peoples of the States of Amazonas and Bolivar.
Due to a series of violent attacks and threats against these two indigenous peoples in the last few years, the Commission decided that the acts and omissions of the State were not adequate and ordered Costa Rica, together with the affected peoples, to take the measures necessary to better protect the lives and physical integrity of the two indigenous peoples and their members. The State has 15 days to respond to the Commission and the Commission will continue to monitor the matter.
In a statement published in a national newspaper, the council of AIDESEP, which represents over 1800 communities in the Peruvian Amazon called for the repeal and shelving of recent legal reforms being pushed through Peru’s parliament that threaten to further weaken indigenous peoples’ rights to land in favour of development projects.
A delegation of indigenous representatives presented a petition to the Venezuela Government’s Ministry of Public Affairs to denounce the continuing of abuse of their rights by the armed forces who have been actively involved in illegal gold-mining on the indigenous peoples’ lands. They note that the commander of the local brigade, who along with several other members of his unit burned down two Ye’kwana houses in February and had then been detained by the Ye’kwana before being handed over to the authorities [who promised to investigate], remains in command of his brigade.
Dear Colloquium Organizers,
The Government of Kenya and the World Bank have invited us and other traditional forest-dependent communities to sit down with them at the International Colloquium Conference at Eldoret next week.
Yanomami from their organization, Horonami, marched through the regional capital in the Venezuelan Amazon on 20th February demanding better health-care and respect for their culture and dignity. Noting the problems they suffer from introduced diseases and lack of consistent health care, they issued a statement demanding a roundtable to address their problems.
On 4 – 6 November, National Human Rights Commissions and civil society organisations of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Lao PDR and Myanmar, congregated in Yangon for the Fourth Regional Conference on Human Rights and Agribusiness in Southeast Asia. This year it was hosted by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, co-organised by Forest Peoples Programme and RECOFTC – The Centre for People and Forests, and supported by the Rights and Resources Initiative, Ford Foundation, the Climate and Land Use Alliance, and the UK Department for International Development.
Two indigenous women’s organisations in the Venezuelan State of Amazonas have denounced the activities of armed groups who identify themselves as Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) and who are working with illegal miners in the Autana area.
In April 2014, in a tragic premonition of what was to come, the leaders of Saweto, an Ashaninka village in the Peruvian Amazon, requested urgent measures from the Peruvian government to ‘prevent any attempt on our lives’. The threat had come from loggers ‘in reprisal’ for the community’s longstanding efforts to document and denounce illegal logging in their territory.
On the 14th May 2014 the trial will begin of 53 of Peru's indigenous leaders who are charged with crimes related to the tragic events at Bagua on the 5th June 2009 where over 20 people died and hundreds were injured after Peruvian forces opened fire on indigenous peoples blockading a road in peaceful protest at the efforts of the Peruvian government to dismantle legal protections for their lands.