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Indonesia’s forest and peatland fires have flared up again this season, sending smoke and haze from the island of Sumatra north across the Malacca Strait to Malaysia. The fires are now an annual consequence of the mismanagement of Indonesia’s forests. With the removal of a single word from the country’s constitution, however, that may change for the better.
The 64 participants of this workshop drawn from South East Asian National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) from the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Timor Leste and Myanmar and from supportive civil society organisations from these countries as well as Cambodia, met in Bangkok between the 7th and 9th August 2013, to develop an action plan for the effective observance of human rights in the agribusiness sector. The meeting was convened by the Thai Human Rights Commission, with the support of the Forest Peoples Programme and the Rights and Resources Initiative.
The Indonesian government has issued an industrial timber plantation licence for use on the Zanegi community’s customary lands to timber company PT Selaras Inti Semesta, a subsidiary of the Medco Group, whose concession extends over 169,400 ha, and which is one of over 80 companies operating as part of the government-sponsored Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) agro-industrial mega-project.
The subject of this request is the extreme harm caused to indigenous Papuans by the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate project (the MIFEE project), a State-initiated, agro-industrial mega-project implemented by a variety of corporate entities that, to-date, encompasses around 2.5 million hectares of traditional indigenous lands in Merauke. The affected indigenous peoples have already lost a considerable area of their lands due to acquisition by these companies and conversion to plantations of one kind or another. The irreparable harm they have already experienced continues to expand and intensify as more companies commence operations.
"GENEVA (07 August 2013) –States need to do more to honour and strengthen their treaties with indigenous peoples, no matter how long ago they were signed, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay has said in a statement to mark International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on 9 August.
“Even when signed or otherwise agreed more than a century ago, many treaties remain the cornerstone for the protection of the identity, land and customs of indigenous peoples, determining the relationship they have with the State. They are thus of major significance to human rights today,” she said.
Today, we commemorate the world’s indigenous peoples day with our fellow indigenous brothers and sisters across the globe. We gather in different places to celebrate the gains and achievements that we have had in the course of our struggles for the recognition, respect and protection of our rights as distinct peoples with collective rights. At the same time, we continue to address the challenges and emerging issues that seriously impact on our rights and well being.
"KUALA LUMPUR: A special task force will be set up to look into the outcome of the National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low.
The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) conducted the inquiry following numerous complaints as well as memorandum from the orang asli community on the violation of their human rights, especially on customary land rights.
"The annual thematic report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, which he will present to the Human Rights Council in September 2013, addresses issues related to extractive industries and implications that they have for the rights of indigenous peoples.
This series of studies provides updated information about large-scale land acquisitions in the region, with the aim of identifying trends, common threats, divergences and possible solutions. As well as summarising trends in investment, trade, crop development and land tenure arrangements, the studies focus on the land tenure and human rights challenges.
Malaysia's National Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) completed its National Inquiry into the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples in April 2013. The report has yet to be officially made public but the English language version can be patched together by downloading the leaked text from CSO websites.
Kathmandu, Nepal, July 10, 2013 – Today, communities in Nepal filed a complaint with the World Bank, demanding accountability for a Bank-funded high-voltage transmission line slated to affect over 100,000 poor and marginalized indigenous villagers.
The Asia Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP) is proud to offer this community guide as a response to the continuing need to produce resource materials useful for advocacy work and community actions. In addition, the materials can contribute in strengthening the capacity of member-organizations for local, national and regional engagements. The Guide also hopes to contribute in building a fully-informed network of indigenous communities and advocates that actively addresses the multi-faceted challenges confronting the world’s indigenous peoples, particularly in Asia where majority of indigenous communities are found.
Mutual recognition, mutual respect and mutual benefit are among the desirable attributes of all human relationships. Indigenous peoples and other forest peoples also expect these qualities in their relationships with others – be they governments, private corporations, NGOs or other indigenous peoples’ organisations and communities. This issue of Forest Peoples Programme’s E-Newsletter reports on the state of various relationships between forest peoples and different institutions – as these are forged, tested or broken –in the course of assertions for upholding basic human rights, social justice and solidarity.
Oil palm giant and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) member, Wilmar, has agreed the sale of its oil palm concession PT Asiatic Persada, without prior consultation or respect for the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of indigenous Batin Sembilan communities already engaged in a land conflict mediation process.
This briefing note, published by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and Forest Peoples Programme, is intended to develop discussion and thought about the complexity of the challenges of violence against indigenous women and girls. Work being done by indigenous women’s organisations in Asia and around the world has increasingly drawn attention to the need for specific analysis and understanding to be established of the nature and forms of such violence. This note also intends to shed light on the need to respect rights in totality, to simultaneously respect and protect the individual and collective rights of indigenous women.
By Abdon Nababan and Betanio Chiquidama
Source: The Jakarta Post
Though one of us lives in Central America and the other in Indonesia — nearly half the Earth’s circumference away from each other — we have the same urgent message for the decision makers who are gathered in Indonesia this week to discuss how best to slow climate change.
The contours of “New Nepal” we all dream of cannot be shaped without appropriately addressing the concerns being raised by the indigenous women, who comprise half the female population. Traditionally, these women enjoyed greater degree of freedom and socioeconomic status than those from the so-called high caste Hindu groups such as Bahun, Chhetri, and Thakuri, who were restricted by pervasive patriarchy and religious orthodoxy. Unlike these women of the Indo-Aryan origin, the indigenous women were adept in handicrafts and other enterprises and freely participated in socio-cultural events. They faced no restriction during menstruation and were even free to choose their life partner and to remarry if they became single. They were also less affected by the dowry system.
In an important statement to an international meeting of some of the world's largest buyers of Indonesia's palm oil and paper-pulp, Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, announced new steps to curb deforestation.