Monday, December 15, 2008

Climate Proceedings Refuse Recognition of Tribal Peoples' Rights to the Forests They Live In

UN talks on climate change exclude tribal peoples

Survival International
12 December 2008

Tribal representatives at the UN conference on climate change in Poznan, Poland, have slammed the proceedings for excluding indigenous voices and refusing to recognise tribal peoples’ rights to the forests they live in and protect.

The United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada acted together to delete all reference to tribal peoples’ rights in a draft agreement prepared for the conference. All four countries also refuse to sign the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and none have ratified the international law for tribal peoples, known as ILO 169.

The Poznan draft agreement sets out how an international scheme to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) could be implemented. It had initially referred to ‘noting the rights and importance of engaging indigenous peoples’, but rights are not mentioned in the amended version.

The REDD scheme, where rich industrialised countries pay less industrialised countries to keep their forests intact, is rapidly becoming a centrepiece for global action on climate change, and is expected to form a large part of whatever agreements replace the Kyoto Protocol when it runs out in 2012.

The scheme risks seriously damaging tribal peoples’ lives and health, unless their rights to the land are recognised and respected at the outset. Research has shown that one of the best ways to protect the rainforest is to protect the rights of the people living in it. 162 million hectares of the Amazon rainforest have been recognized as indigenous territories, and are secured against deforestation.

Davi Yanomami, a Yanomami shaman from Brazil, has said ‘The forest cannot be bought; it is our life and we have always protected it. Without the forest, there is only sickness, and without us, it is dead land. Give us back our lands and our health before it’s too late for us and too late for you.’

The lands of many tribes remain unprotected, and even land which has already been recognised is under threat. The Indians of Raposa Serra do Sol are reaching the end of a battle in the Supreme Court of Brazil to maintain recognition of their land after a powerful consortium of farmers and politicians tried to overturn the demarcation.

Spread the message share this story
Delicious Digg reddit Facebook StumbleUpon


© Survival International, 2008

Native Rights News is making this material from Survival International available in accordance with the Fair Use Doctrine codified at Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107: This article is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information. Distribution of this material is for research and educational purposes that will promote social and economic justice and benefit society.

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites