FPP and signatory organisations from around the world have sent an Open Letter to WWF International, calling for thorough, fair and transparent investigations into serious allegations of abuses in WWF projects in Cameroon, Nepal, India and elsewhere.
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.
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.
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.
Para os povos indígenas da Ásia, os projetos e intervenções dos bancos multilaterais de desenvolvimento têm um histórico de violações sistemáticas e generalizadas dos direitos humanos. Em muitos países, os povos indígenas são sujeitos a deslocamentos generalizados e perdas irreversíveis dos seus modos de subsistência tradicionais. Por trás destas violações de direitos humanos está a negação dos direitos dos povos indígenas às suas terras, territórios e recursos, e ao seu direito ao consentimento prévio, livre e informado (FPIC na sigla em inglês) em projetos e intervenções, inclusive os que levam a bandeira de desenvolvimento humano e sustentável. Entre eles, os grandes projetos de “conservação” ambiental e de infraestrutura (represas e construção de rodovias) tiveram os piores impactos prejudiciais nos povos indígenas. Existe um bom número de exemplos de projetos que tiveram um impacto negativo nas comunidades indígenas nos países asiáticos, alguns dos quais encontram-se abaixo.
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).
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.
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