Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues Every Week - News

Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues For The Week Of June 2 - 8, 2011: Canada, Brazil, Australia, Bangladesh, Philippines


Canada: Ontario Steamrolls First Nation Calls For Consultation


The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians (AIAI) expressed its strong disappointment with the passage of Bill 186, Supporting Smoke-Free Ontario by Reducing Contraband Tobacco Act, 2011 through the Ontario Legislature. Despite clear appeals by AIAI and the Chiefs of Ontario to halt the legislation until consultations and negotiations with First Nations were conducted, Ontario rushed the Bill through the Legislative Assembly in a process that took less than six weeks.


"This is the clearest indication yet that the Government of Ontario does not fully accept its responsibility to consult with First Nations when new laws impact on their rights," said Grand Chief Randall Phillips.


AIAI was first notified of the legislation the morning of April 21, 2011 by the Ministry of Revenue. Yet once AIAI voiced its objections to the Bill, Ontario simply ignored its concerns. As a result, First Nation tobacco manufacturers that currently hold federal licenses and are in compliance with the federal Tobacco Act have been lumped together with organized crime and people that sell cigarettes to teenagers. Read more about Ontario and First Nation's demands for consultation here....


Brazil: Brazil Green Lights Controversial Amazon Dam, Steamrolling Environmental Laws And Human Rights


IBAMA authorizes installation of Belo Monte Dam Complex despite escalating local, national and international opposition


The Brazilian government has issued the full installation license allowing the Belo Monte Dam Complex to break ground on the Amazon's Xingu River despite egregious disregard for human rights and environmental legislation, the unwavering protests of civil society, condemnations by its Federal Public Prosecutor's Office (MPF) and the request for precautionary measures by the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The license was granted by Brazil's environmental agency IBAMA despite overwhelming evidence that the dam-building consortium Norte Energia (NESA) has failed to comply with dozens of social and environmental conditions required for an installation license.


The risky $17 billion Belo Monte Dam Complex will divert nearly the entire flow of the Xingu River along a 62-mile stretch. Its reservoirs will flood more than 120,000 acres of rainforest and local settlements, displace more than 40,000 people and generate vast quantities of methane – a greenhouse gas at least 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Read more about the Belo Monte dam and indigenous rights here....


Australia: Dhurli Nation Considers Court Action, While Prime Minister Celebrates Historic Agreement In Gove Peninsula, NT


The Dhurili Nation, comprising the Datiwuy, Golumala, Marrakulu and Marrangu clans have previously confirmed to the Northern Land Council and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs that they are lawful traditional owners of some areas of land that are affected by a new mining lease and agreement with Rio Tinto Alcan in the Gove Peninsula in the Northern Territory.


"We feel very sad because our rights under Madayin Law have been pushed aside and much pain and division has been created. This shows that colonisation is still happening today creating disharmony, by people ignoring due process. Again the failures of the Australian Government and the NLC to work with Yolngu people through a proper process of law has created division between the clans of Arnhem Land. We will not be celebrating along with others the signing of this agreement" said Dr Gondarra.


The Northern Land Council and the Minister have allowed a new lease to be signed, despite the Dhurili Nation raising its concerns about a lack of lawful consultation and a failure to seek the consent of its members in line with the requirements of traditional Madayin law and the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. Read more about the Dhurili Nation and fight against mining in Gove Peninsula here....


Bangladesh: Land Grabbing, Raping Of Indigenous Women And Religious Persecution In CHT Continues


Human rights violation including land grabbing, raping of indigenous women and religious persecution continue in CHT unabated. For instances-


Attempt to grab land belonging to Marma community in Manikchari


On 8 May 2011 Bengali settlers attempted to grab land belonging to Marma community at Warkchari of Luklukya area under Hafchari union in Manikchari upazila of Khagrachari district.


It is learnt that on that day in the morning around 10 am a group of Bengali settlers went Warkchari of Luklukya area and started to clean jungle to erect houses. Tension was mount while indigenous villagers opposed them.


Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Manikchari upazila and a group of military forces rushed there and stopped Bengali settlers from land grabbing. Read more about land grabbing and violations of indigenous rights in Bangladesh here....


Philippines: Indigenous Peoples Of Palawan Against Mining Corporations


Last week 30 “fake” tribal leaders, so-called Tribal Chieftains, went to Manila (Philippines’ Capital City) in order to show support for MacroAsia Mining Corporation (MAC), despite opposite views from the majority of the Indigenous Peoples of Palawan. These so call Tribal Chieftains have been appointed by NCIP to favour multi-billionaire Lucio Tan’s owned MacroAsia Corporation.


If this process of manipulation is not adequately counteracted, MAC may end up acquiring the required ‘social-consensus documents’ (Certificate of Precondition), which are needed in order to start mining operations in the territory of indigenous communities, some of which are still isolated and have limited contacts with the outside world.


By creating ‘ad-hoc’ “tribal leaders” NCIP and MacroAsia have bluntly disregarded local decision-making processes that are customarily facilitated by elders and so called ‘panglima’ (traditional leaders). Read more about indigenous people of Palawan and fight against mining companies here....


Last Weeks Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues can be found here.

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