The international meeting of South East Asian Regional Human Rights Commissions on ‘Human Rights and Business: Plural Legal Approaches to Conflict Resolution, Institutional Strengthening and Legal Reform’ hosted by the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (KOMNASHAM), in conjunction with Sawit Watch and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) was held in Bali, Indonesia, from 28th November to 1st December 2011.
PRESS INFORMATION – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A landmark workshop, “Human Rights and Business: Plural Legal Approaches to Conflict Resolution, Institutional Strengthening and Legal Reform”, is taking place at the Santika Hotel, Kuta, Bali, from today until 1 December 2011, convened by the Indonesian National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and supporting NGOs SawitWatch and Forest Peoples Programme. The event will be attended by over 60 participants, from the National Human Rights Commissions of the Southeast Asian region, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Human Rights Commission, notable academics, representatives of indigenous peoples, as well as members of supportive national and international NGOs.
Nur Kholis, Deputy Chairperson of the Indonesian National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM), said,
“We are taking this initiative in collaboration with the other human rights commissioners of South East Asia as a way of ensuring a more balanced approach to development based on respect for peoples’ rights, with an emphasis on the need to secure livelihoods and the right to food.”
In Africa, Asia and Latin America alike, forest peoples are speaking out against the continuing violations of their rights imposed by development and conservation plans that ignore their interests and deny them a voice. They go beyond resistance, insisting on their own ways of managing their lives, lands and forests.
Scale Up, an Indonesian partner of Forest Peoples Programme, has been monitoring the evolution of social conflict in Indonesian oil palm plantations over recent years. Studies on conflict over natural resources in Riau province conducted by this partner over the last four years have shown a trend towards an increase in frequency and extent of disputed land each year, with a slight decline in 2010. Based on Scale Up’s annual report of 2007, 111,745 hectares of land in the Riau area were subject to conflicting claims to natural resources, an area which increased to 200,586 hectares in 2008 and to 345,619 hectares in 2009. In 2010, the disputed land area decreased slightly to 342,571 hectares, compared to 2009. This was largely due to the fact that a large number of disputed areas and ensuing conflicts in that year were not identified or documented.
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.
This request concerns the situation of the Malind and other indigenous peoples of the Merauke District, Papua Province, in the Republic of Indonesia. The Malind and others are presently experiencing and are threatened with additional and imminent irreparable harm due to the massive and non-consensual alienation and conversion of their ancestral lands and forests by the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate project (“MIFEE project”).
A shadow report to the 49th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), jointly submitted by the National Indigenous Women's Federation (NIWF), the Lawyers' Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) and Forest Peoples Programme (FPP).
Asian Indigenous Women’s Network and Forest Peoples Programme have developed a series of booklets addressing the human rights framework, the rights of indigenous peoples and the rights of women as enshrined in and protected by the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. The booklets have been designed specifically to address the situations of indigenous women in Asia and include a detailed compilation of existing CEDAW jurisprudence related to indigenous women.
Lands held and managed under custom in Papua New Guinea (PNG) are regularly quoted as covering the vast majority of the country’s land mass, 97% is the usually accepted figure. The remaining 3% of lands, no longer governed by tradition and custom, are referred to as ‘alienated lands’ and come under the management of the Department of Lands and Physical Planning. However these remarkable figures of land tenure security hide a grimmer truth. Over the past 13 months alone almost 10% of the land mass of Papua New Guinea has been issued out as concessions under an arrangement known as ‘Special Agricultural and Business Leases’ (SABL). Under these lease agreements, the government leases customary lands from traditional owners and re-leases the same lands, often to a third party, with customary rights to the lands suspended for the term of the lease.
The 9th RRI Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change, co-organized with Forest Peoples Programme, Tebtebba and Forest Trends, took place in London, UK on 8 February 2011. The Dialogue drew together a number of key actors involved in REDD, including representatives from Indigenous Peoples organizations, governments of UK Mexico and Norway, the banking sector, NGOs and researchers.
The consensus emerging from the discussion was that REDD should not proceed before clear safeguards are put in place. Gregory Barker, British minister of State, Department for Energy and Climate Change outlined that before REDD projects take place, it is crucial to assess drivers of deforestation, secure clarity of land tenure and ensure equitable benefit-sharing for Indigenous Peoples. To that end, he assured that the UK government will apply safeguards in bilateral REDD agreements with Indigenous Peoples and local communities. Despite this commitment he avoided mentioning whether the UK would push for stronger safeguards in the readiness processes of the World Bank’s FCPF initiative.