On 9 – 11 October 2012, Forest Peoples Programme and Sawit Watch, with the support of Cambodian NGO Community Legal Education Center (CLEC) co-organised a workshop, ‘Making the Bali Declaration Effective: The Phnom Penh Workshop on Human Rights and Agribusiness’, as a follow-up event to the Bali Workshop on Human Rights and Agribusiness of 2011. Hosted by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), the workshop was attended by National Human Rights Commissioners from Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Myanmar, South Korea and Timor-Leste, the Indonesian representative to the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), concerned Southeast Asian NGOs and the UN Special Rapporteurs on the Right to Food and on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
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).
Financial institutions have been warned today to avoid investments in pulp and paper mills associated with deforestation and human rights abuses in Indonesia.
Indonesia’s largest palm oil company, Sinar Mas, ran into trouble recently when communities in Liberia complained about a 33,000 ha.
Concluding a three day meeting in Phnom Penh convened by the Indonesian Human Rights Commission, with the support of Forest Peoples Programme, SawitWatch and the Community Legal Education Center of Cambodia, South East Asian Human Rights Commissions called for action to protect communities and indigenous peoples from the expansion of agribusiness.
During the 4th General Assembly of members, the Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP) has adopted a strong policy on how the organisation will support and encourage work on gender-related issues in all of its working programmes. The policy also addresses internal gender-related processes and possible concerns. The policy will sit alongside the newly adopted strategic plan on women’s rights and forms a coherent and strong commitment to advancing the interests and rights of indigenous women.
Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) is coming under intensifying scrutiny over its renewed promises to bring its giant mills and supply chains into compliance with best practice norms for sustainability and its new promises that it will respect the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples. Recently, Marcus Colchester, as Co-Chair of the High Conservation Values Resource Network and Director of FPP, and Patrick Anderson, FPP's Policy Advisor in Indonesia, met with APP's Head of Sustainability, Aida Greenbury, and her team of advisers and consultants, to clarify the company's commitments.
Two United Nations experts on food and indigenous peoples today urged South-East Asian states not to sideline the human rights of communities across the region who derive their livelihoods, traditions and ways of life directly from their natural environments.
Click here to read the full article from the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (in Norwegian only), which features an interview with FPP's Sophie Chao.
Indigenous Peoples representing 15 organizations from six ASEAN countries and other support organizations under the banner of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force on ASEAN (IPTF-ASEAN) have expressed their disappointment and condemnation for not allowing them to hold a workshop to discuss Indigenous Peoples rights to land, territories and resources and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People at the venue of the ASEAN Civil Society Conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
The following article, by Maurizio Farhan-Ferrari, Coordinator of the FPP's Environmental Governance Programme, has just been published on the Landscapes Blog for People, Food and Nature:
Sophie Chao, FPP, has written the following article for OurWorld 2.0, the United Nations University's web magazine.
To read the article on the OurWorld 2.0 website please click here.
Constructive dialogue and potential synergies between the National Human Rights Commissions and Institutions of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia, reached an important milestone at a four-day workshop in November in Bali, Indonesia. The workshop was convened by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission and organised by Forest Peoples Programme and Indonesian NGO SawitWatch, with the support of the Rights and Resources Initiative, Samdhana Institute and RECOFTC – The Center for People and Forests.
This landmark workshop on “Human Rights and Business: Plural Legal Approaches to Conflict Resolution, Institutional Strengthening and Legal Reform” was attended by 60 participants, including notable academics, indigenous peoples’ representatives and members of supportive national and international NGOs. An opening statement was made by UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, and a presentation was delivered by Raja Devasish Roy, elected Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNFPII) and traditional chief of the Chakma circle in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh.
Since its inception at the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy (CEESP) ‘Sharing Power’ conference in Whakatane, New Zealand, in January 2011, the Whakatane Mechanism has been piloted in two places: at Mount Elgon in Western Kenya and most recently in the Ob Luang National Park in Northern Thailand.
A summary of ADR studies in Riau, West Sumatra, Jambi and South Sumatra, Indonesia, by Ahmad Zazali, Executive Director, Scale Up
An ongoing and heated debate is underway over the neglect of public access rights over forest resources in current modes of forest tenure in Indonesia. The role of local communities and their access to natural resources often overlap with the rights accorded to government/state enterprises and the private sector. The exploitation of forest resources has driven large companies to ignore the interests of these communities who live within and depend on forests for their livelihoods. This situation in turn has triggered the emergence of intra- and inter-community social conflict, conflict between communities and the government, as well as conflict between communities and companies.
Since the reform and the implementation of decentralisation policies, natural resource conflicts have become increasingly prevalent in Indonesia. The National Land Agency (BPN) reports that at least 7,491 natural resource conflicts have been dealt with by BPN and the Indonesian police. The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) recorded 359 forest-related conflicts from January 1997 to June 2003. The highest frequency of conflicts occurred in 2000 with 153 recorded cases, or 43% of the total number of cases recorded over those 6 years. Conflicts in Industrial Plantation Forests (HTI) were the highest at 39%, with conservation areas (including protected forests and national parks) representing 34% of conflict cases, and forest concessions (HPH) representing 27%.
Following high profile cases of police violence and killings of rural people protesting land grabs, a new alliance of rural people - indigenous peoples, farmers, workers and landless people as well as supportive NGOs - is demanding the repeal of laws which allow the State to expropriate people's lands and resources in favour or large businesses. They are also demanding the passing of new laws that secure the people's rights in land and ensure ecological justice, through agrarian reforms and the recognition of indigenous peoples' rights.