Urgent appeal against the forced eviction of Sengwer communities in Kenya

We are deeply concerned by the forced evictions of the 6,000-7,000 Sengwer indigenous people and other communities in Embobut Forest in the Cherangany Hills (Elgeyo Marakwet County, Kenya).

For many years the Government has been trying to move the indigenous inhabitants of Embobut off their land by burning their homes. They have done this in the name of a fortress conservation approach which seeks to remove local people from their lands. As IUCN and all pre-eminent conservation organisations now acknowledge, such an approach only ever makes the environmental situation worse, and adds a human rights disaster to the environmental crisis. The new President has taken what at first appeared to be a new approach: he came in November and promised them a small amount of money to move, however now that it is clear people are refusing to move, this is being followed up with this threat of imminent eviction.

Rampant conflict in the palm oil sector addressed in international civil society organisation strategy meeting

Following the widely publicised launch on 7 November of a landmark study on Free, Prior and Informed Consent in 16 oil palm operations in Southeast Asia and Africa titled ‘Conflict or Consent? The Oil Palm Sector at a Crossroads’, over 40 civil society organisations from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Cameroon, the United Kingdom, the United States and South Africa congregated in Medan, North Sumatra (Indonesia) in a three-day workshop organised by Forest Peoples Programme, Transformasi Untuk Keadilan INDONESIA, ELSAKA and BothENDS on 8 – 10 November.

Palm Oil development, ‘Forest Carbon’ conservation and community rights

The production of palm oil has come under sustained criticism for its destruction of forests, biodiversity and wider environmental values. More lately, the industry has also been targeted to prevent the massive greenhouse gas emissions from its forest clearance and from drainage and planting on peatlands. Under pressure from local and international campaigning groups, the palm oil giant Golden Agri Resources has adopted a new Forest Conservation Policy that promises no clearance of tall forests and no planting on peat. What are the implications of this new policy for forest peoples?

Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Update: Outcomes of recent meetings

Following up on our previous E-news article that looked ahead to the 8th meeting of the CBD Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions (WG8(j)-8) and the 17th meeting of the CBD’s Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-17) held in October 2013 in Montreal, Canada, we now provide a brief update on some main outcomes of relevance and importance to indigenous peoples.

Indonesia: IFC CAO withdraws from mediation process in PT Asiatic Persada oil palm concession

The International Finance Corporation Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (IFC CAO) has formally announced its withdrawal from the case of PT Asiatic Persada, following the sale of the concession by Wilmar in April 2013, and the new management’s decision to continue mediation through a government team instead. This is despite the fact that the affected Batin Sembilan communities and complaint signatory NGOs have repeatedly called on the IFC CAO to continue its role as mediator and to encourage the company to pursue this avenue towards conflict resolution.

Indigenous women call on the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women to recognise indigenous peoples' collective rights

“To address the specific situations faced by indigenous women, the collective rights of indigenous peoples must be recognized as part of protecting the individual rights of indigenous persons. Interpretation and application of human rights treaties concerned with individual rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), should happen with reference to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”

Recommendation made to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Committee) by AIPP, NIWF and FPP

New Protocol developed on Monitoring and Management of High Conservation Values 5 and 6

Recognition of the social and environmental impacts of large-scale land conversion to monoculture plantations such as oil palm has led to numerous voluntary sustainability standards, including the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), to adopt the concept of High Conservation Values (HCVs). These are defined as the critical social and environmental values in ecosystems and landscapes that long-term multi-stakeholder processes have collectively identified as the key values to be conserved and enhanced in the management of natural systems.

Indigenous organisations petition Peruvian government to protect the rights of isolated peoples before the Inter American Commission on Human Rights

On 1 November 2013 indigenous and civil society organisations from Peru including FENAMAD, AIDESEP, Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (DAR), and the National Human Rights Coordinator presented evidence in a hearing before the Inter-American Commission.

The petitioners documented the failure of the Peruvian government to provide effective protection for isolated indigenous peoples in Peru.

Palm oil producers, NGOs launch responsible palm oil initiative at RSPO AGM

Medan, Indonesia, 13 November 2013 – Progressive palm oil companies and environmental and social NGOs today launched the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) at the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) Annual General Assembly. The group is made up of producers and civil society organizations and includes Agropalma, DAABON, New Britain Palm Oil, as well as WWF, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Forest Peoples Programme and Greenpeace.

Statement by indigenous peoples at the REDD+ Partnership Meeting in Warsaw, Poland on 10 November 2013

Thank you co-chairs and distinguished parties delegates, for this opportunity to speak on behalf of indigenous peoples.

We would like to acknowledge last month’s decision of the REDD+ Partnership to allocate funding for the representation of indigenous peoples and local communities at partnership meetings until the end of 2014. This will facilitate the articulation of indigenous peoples’ issues and concerns from the ground. The regional caucuses of indigenous peoples shall undergo the self-selection process and inform about their representatives to the partnership.

Press Release - Sustainable Palm Oil: Marketing Ploy or True Commitment? New Research Questions Effectiveness of RSPO Standards

MEDAN, INDONESIA (7 November, 2013)—Members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) are violating the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities in the forests and peatlands of tropical nations worldwide, according to a new research publication released today. The study details the performance of 16 oil palm operations, many run by RSPO members, reporting on their failure to uphold human rights and environmental standards required.