LONDON, 12 March 2015: In February 2015, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights met in Banjul, The Gambia, for its 17th Extra-Ordinary Session, to deal with critical matters pending since the cancellation and delay of previous sessions due to the spread of Ebola during 2014.
Forest Peoples Programme has created this toolkit to help indigenous women in Africa to better understand the African human rights system and how to use it effectively to secure their rights.
The burnings of Sengwer homes by the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) resumed last week while at the same time, the Sengwer are expected to sit down tomorrow to discuss constructive ways forward with the same Government whose agencies burn their homes. This is intolerable to the Sengwer who are calling for an urgent meeting today with the organisers of tomorrow's International Colloquium - the World Bank and the Government of Kenya - so that such harassment can be stopped permanently before the talks begin.
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.
There have been some significant gains in recent months in the journey towards securing community forest rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo. On 2nd August 2014, the long-awaited community forestry decree (CFD) was finally signed by the Congolese Prime Minister. This was seen as a notable improvement to the land tenure and forest governance regime in the DRC. Civil society organisations, and indigenous and local communities had been waiting for the decree with high hopes since the Forest Code was adopted in 2002, paving the way for a new forest governance framework.*
Silas Siakor, environmental activist and Goldman Prize Winner, and the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) have been working on community mapping throughout Liberia for many years.
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), local communities, and Indigenous people groups in the Congo Basin have convened to address the emerging challenges of palm oil development in the region. Hosted by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) in Douala, Cameroon, meetings were held from December 2-4, 2014 attended by nearly 40 civil society experts and community leaders from over 25 organizations. Insightful presentations were made, and strategic reflections and discussions took place in order to address communities' challenges related to palm oil expansion in the region.
Tanzania indigenous organisations have written to the World Bank to express their concern at the overall weakening of the policy requirements for indigenous peoples in the draft of the proposed World Bank Environmental and Social Safeguards (ESS). Concerns include implications for the denial of the existence and rights of indigenous peoples under international human rights law, lack of meaningful and effective participation, forced eviction and lack of access to information.
The global forest crisis is worsening and infringements of the rights of indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities are rising, according to a detailed assessment of nine country cases. Climate change mitigation and conservation policies must place community land rights and human rights centre-stage if they are to achieve the goal of sustainably reducing deforestation says the report.
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo: WWF and the DRC government’s protected areas authority have agreed to reconsider the status of a controversial protected area after meeting yesterday with representatives of local communities who were threatened with loss of their lands and access to natural resources on which they depend for their livelihoods and survival.
Thousands of homes belonging to hunter-gatherer Sengwer people living in the Embobut forest in the Cherangani hills were burned down earlier this year by Kenya forest service guards who had been ordered to clear the forest as part of a carbon offset project that aimed to reduce emissions from deforestation.
These resolutions were drafted during a seminar organized by the UK-based NGO Forest Peoples Programme and involving community members from Nguti, Ebanga, Sikam, Babensi II, Fabe, Massaka Bima, Mobenge, Ikoti-Ngolo, Ndiba-Ngolo, Oron-Isangele, Meangwe II Ngolo, Bweme-Ngolo, Lipenja II-Batanga, Toko and Baro, along with community support organisations, including the Centre for Environment and Development, Struggle to Economise Future Environment, Nature Cameroon and Greenpeace, who came to learn about their rights under national and international law with regard to developments on their customary lands.
Published on 10 August 2014, this article by Peter kitelo examines how the Constitution of Kenya 2010 aimed to establish institutions that would promote aspirations of the people, based on integrity, equality, social justice, and people’s democracy.
On 8th February 2013, the Batwa of Uganda submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court of Uganda seeking recognition of their status as indigenous peoples under international law and redress for the historic marginalisation and continuous human rights violations they have experienced as a result of being dispossessed of their ancestral forest lands by the government.
Before their eviction, the Batwa had lived in the forest since immemorial times. The measures taken to remove the Batwa, to create ‘environmentally protected’ areas, and to limit access and use of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Echuya Central Forest Reserve, resulted in the violation of the Batwa’s property rights over their ancestral lands. While colonial protection of the forest started in the 1920s, most Batwa continued to live in the forest and to use its resources until the 1990s; when they were evicted, without consultation, adequate compensation or offer of alternative land.
While focusing in particular on the German financing of rainforest protection in Cameroon, this report also covers the broader issue of how Cameroon’s forest policies are shaped by the REDD process. It takes a case study approach, examining the way such forest protection policies impact on local communities by focusing in on the specific example of those communities whose land has been overlaid by the Takamanda National Park.
The UK-listed company, Equatorial Palm Oil (EPO), which is threatening to seize land owned by Liberians in defiance of commitments by Liberia’s President, will today receive a visit from affected communities. Members of the Jogbahn Clan, together with representatives from Liberian and international NGOs, will deliver a petition with over 90,000 signatures, reminding EPO that it does not have community consent to expand onto their lands, and that doing so could escalate violence. EPO’s past operations in Liberia have triggered allegations of conflict and human rights abuses.
Illegal and corrupt behaviour by foreign-owned companies engaged in establishing large palm oil plantations not only threatens local communities and forested areas throughout west and central Africa, but will seriously undermine legislation being set up between African countries and the European Union to prevent just that says Greenpeace International.
In a new report published today, Greenpeace reveals how one company in Cameroon, has colluded with government officials to illegally obtain a permit to export timber that itself was illegally felled in order to establish a palm oil plantation in the South West region of the country.
Our partners in the Sustainable Development Institute in Liberia are asking for international help to remind the Liberian President of her promise to protect community land from the UK company Equatorial Palm Oil UK. They are asking as many people as possible to sign their petition.