Forest Peoples Programme Supporting forest peoples’ rights

Indigenous Peoples' Terra Livre Declaration at Rio +20

23 June, 2012

(non-official translation into English by Earth Peoples) - To read this declaration in Portuguese click here.

PEOPLES’ SUMMIT FOR SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AGAINST COMMERCIALIZATION OF LIFE, IN DEFENSE OF THE COMMONS

LETTER OF RIO DE JANEIRO
FINAL DECLARATION OF FREE LAND CAMP IX – LIVING WELL / HEALTHY FULL LIFE
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 15 to 22 June 2012

We, more than 1,800 leaders, representatives of indigenous peoples and organizations present (APIB – Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – COIAB, APOINME, ARPINSUL, ARPINSUDESTE, indigenous peoples of Mato Grosso do Sul and Guasu ATY), COICA – Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations Amazon Basin, IOTC – Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations, CICA – Indigenous Council of Central America, and CCNAGUA – Guarani Continental Council of the Nation and representatives of other parts of the world, gathered in the parallel space of organizations and social movements, the Free Land Camp IX, at the Peoples Summit, during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio +20).

After intense debates and discussions held during 15-22 June on the various issues that affect us, the violation of our fundamental and collective rights as a peoples, we express as one united voice our cry of indignation and outrage to the governments, corporations and society in the face of severe crises which beset the planet and humanity (financial crises, environmental, energy, food and social) as a result of the predatory neo-development process of the commodification and financialization of life and Mother Nature.

It is thanks to our resilience that we keep our people alive as a (distinct) peoples, with our rich, ancient and complex knowledge systems and our understanding of all live that guarantees existence, with its currently vaunted Brazilian biodiversity, which explains that Brazil is the host two major conferences on the environment. Therefore, the (Indigenous Peoples) “Free Land Camp” is of fundamental importance in the Peoples’ Summit, the space that allows us to reflect, share and build alliances with other peoples, organizations and social movements in Brazil and the world, who like us, believe in other forms of living than the one imposed upon us by the capitalist and neoliberal development model.

We advocate and defend plural and autonomous forms of lives, inspired by the model of Living Well/ Healthy Life, where Mother Earth is respected and cared for, where humans are just another species among all the other compositions of the multi-diversity of the planet. In this model, there is no room for so-called green capitalism, or to new forms of appropriation of our biodiversity and our traditional knowledge.

Considering the importance of the Peoples’ Summit, we elaborated this Declaration, to clarify in it the main problems that affect us today, and to indicate ways on how to establish new relations between States and indigenous peoples, with the vision to construct a new model of society.

Repudiations

In accordance with the discussions at the Peoples Summit, we repudiate the structural causes and false solutions to the crises which beset our planet, including:

  • We reject impunity and violence, imprisonment and murder of indigenous leaders (in Brazil, where Kayowá-Guarani, Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala and Paraguay, among others).
  • We reject major projects in indigenous territories, such as dams – Belo Monte, Jirau and others; transposition of Rio S. Francisco, nuclear power plants; Canal do Sertão, ports, national and international Highways, production of biofuels, the road within TIPNIS in Bolivia, and mining projects throughout Latin America).
  • We condemn the action of financial institutions such as BNDES – National Bank of Economic and Social Development, which finances large projects with public money, but does not respect the right of the affected populations to be consulted, including 400 regions in Brazil, and in all countries that BNDES operates, including Latin America and Africa.
  • We reject REDD contracts, and carbon credits that are false solutions that do not solve environmental problems but seek to commodify nature and ignore the traditional knowledge and ancient wisdom of our peoples.
  • We reject the reduction of indigenous territories.
  • We reject all legislative initiatives that aim to weaken indigenous rights in order to serve the interests of big business, through the relaxation or distortion of indigenous and environmental legislation in several countries, such as the PEC 215 and the Forest Code in the Brazilian Congress and the proposed changes in Ecuador.
  • We condemn the repression suffered by the Bolivian relatives at the Ninth March “Defense of Life and Dignity, Indigenous Territories, Natural Resources, Biodiversity, Environment and Protected Areas, the Compliance of CPE (Political Constitution of the State) and respect for democracy.” We express our solidarity with the relatives killed and arrested in this crackdown by the Bolivian state.
  • We condemn the actions of Marco Terena who presents himself at the international level as a leader and representative of Brazil’s indigenous peoples, since he is not recognized as the legitimate representative of the Terena people according to the Terena leaders present at the Free Land Camp IX.

Proposals

  • We call for the protection of indigenous land rights. In Brazil, more than 60% of Indian territories were not demarcated and ratified. We demand the immediate recognition and demarcation of indigenous lands, including policies to strengthen the demarcated areas, including the removal of farmers and others that are invading other territories.
  • We demand an end to impunity for the murderers and persecutors of the indigenous leaders. Indigenous leaders, women and men are murdered and the criminals continue to be free, and no action has been taken to charge them. We request that the instigators and executors that committed crimes (murder, robbery, rape, torture) against our people and communities are tried and punished.
  • We demand the end to the criminalization of indigenous leaders. That the struggles of our peoples for their land rights are not criminalized by governmental authorities that should instead ensure the protection and implementation of indigenous rights.
  • We demand the guarantee of the right to consultation and free, prior and informed consent of each indigenous people – in accordance with the ILO Convention 169, according to the specificity of each people, strictly following the principles of good faith of this binding Convention. We need to be respected and strengthened in the institutional fabric of each of our peoples, to have our own appropriate mechanisms for deliberation and representation, and to be enabled to participate in consultation processes with states.
  • We call for the expansion of indigenous territories.
  • We call for transparent and independent monitoring of watersheds.
  • We call for the recognition and strengthening the role of indigenous peoples in the protection of biomes.
  • We ask for the urgent demarcation of land for the people without assistance and camped in precarious situations, such as on riverbanks, roadsides and areas without sanitation infrastructure. In Brazil alone, there are hundreds of indigenous camps in this situation. 40% of the population of these camps are children.
  • We call for the improvement of health conditions of indigenous peoples, such as in Brazil, to increase the budget of SESAI – Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health, the implementation of financial administrative and political autonomy of DSEIs (Special Indigenous Health Districts), and to guarantee the rights of indigenous peoples with disabilities.
  • We want an Indigenous Education that respects the diversity of each nation and culture, with special and differential treatment for each language, customs and traditions.
  • We demand that states implement effective policies to guarantee appropriate indigenous education, as etnoeducacionais territories in Brazil.
  • We want an indigenous education with components of environmental education that promotes environmental protection and sustainability of our territories.
  • We demand conditions for the development of our traditions and ancient ways of production.

Finally, it won’t be the false solutions that are proposed by governments – the so-called green economy, that will pay off the debts of States with our people.

We reiterate our commitment to unity of indigenous peoples as demonstrated in our alliance within our communities, with indigenous nations, organizations, the Indigenous Caucus and others.

THE SALVATION OF THE PLANET IS IN THE ANCIENT WISDOM OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
RIO DE JANEIRO, 20 JUNE 2012

APIB – Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, COICA – Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin, IOTC – Andean Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations, CICA – Indigenous Council of Central America, and CCNAGUA – Guarani Continental Council of the Nation