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Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues For The Week Of July 21 - 28, 2011: Honduras, Canada, Australia, Vietnam, Bangladesh


Honduras: Declaration By COPINH - Impunity And Human Rights Violations Reign In Honduras


The Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) makes the following declaration in view of the sistematic repression and human rights violations which have been manifested recently through the following condemnable acts:


A. The assasination of Nery Orellana, community broadcaster, manager of Joconguera Community Radio and correspondent with Radio Progreso, who was killed by multiple bullet wounds on Thursday, July 14th in the municipality of Cadelaria in the department of Lempira.


B. The assasination of our Luis Alonso Ortiz, president of the Marañones peasent cooperative, and Constantino Morales, director of the Isla I peasent cooperative. Both were leaders of the “Left Bank” (Margen Izquierda) of the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguan (MUCA), and these assasinations bring the total number of murders by hired criminals believed to be connected with business magnate Miguel Facusse and other large landowners in the region to 45.


C. Faced with constant death threats, citizens connected with the popular resistance movement for the refoundation of Honduras continue to leave the country. This list now includes Father Fausto Milla and his assistant Denia Mejía. Read the rest of the declaration by COPINH in Honduras here....


Canada: AFN Seeks Clarification On Reports Of Changes To Specific Land Claims Process


Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo commented today following clarification provided by the federal government on its process and position to deal with specific land claims. A July 25 media report stated that the federal government is planning to halt claim negotiations by presenting "final offers" to First Nations, who would then have access to the Specific Claims Tribunal if the offer was deemed unacceptable. A statement released by the Minister's office today claims the reports contain "inaccuracies".


"Timely and effective resolution of First Nations claims is in the best interest of First Nations and all Canadians," said National Chief Atleo. "Just as we worked with the federal government on the Specific Claims Tribunal Act, we must continue to work together to address matters as raised through the 'Justice at Last' report. We need to immediately advance work on improving negotiations processes and implementation as envisioned in the Joint Action Plan between the AFN and Canada." Read more about the Assembly of First Nations and questions over the land claims process here....


Australia: Native Title Recognition For The Juru People


The Juru People have today been recognised as native title holders of 86 square kilometres of land and waters within Cape Upstart National Park, north of Bowen in North Queensland.


At a Federal Court of Australia hearing in Bowen, Justice Rares made a consent determination* recognising the Juru People’s non-exclusive native title rights and interests to that area.


This consent determination finalises the Juru People’s native title claim lodged in 1997. The non-exclusive rights recognised include the right to be present on the area, conduct ceremonies and carry out cultural activities on the area, and to hunt, fish and gather natural resources on the determination area for personal, domestic and non-commercial communal purposes.


Dr Gaye Sculthorpe, the National Native Tribunal Member who assisted parties to reach agreement, has congratulated all of the negotiation parties on the outcome. “The resolution of this application results in the formal recognition of the Juru People’s ancient ties to this land and water. Read more about the Native Title recognition for the Juru people here....


Vietnam: Vietnamese Civilians Attack Degar Family With Machete And Vietnamese Security Refuses To Even Investigate


On January 8th, 2011, a Montagnard man named A Hling, age 68, and his two children, his son, A Nhong, age 25, and his daughter, Y Nhao, were walking from their village toward their rice field when six Vietnamese civilian men carrying machetes ambushed them. A Hling and his two children attempted to escape but they were surrounded. As A Hling tried to turn, one of the Vietnamese swung and slashed him with a machete on his right leg. His son A Nhong similarly tried to run away but was struck on his left leg. Y Nhao was cut on her left arm when she tried to shield herself from their attack. Their wounds were deep but did not penetrate through the bones.


The family members did not go to the nearby Vietnamese clinic for treatment because Vietnamese medical clinics have a reputation for actively euthanizing montagnards, even when injuries are relatively minor. There have been multiple accounts of Montagnard patients with non life-threatening injuries or illnesses being given injections of supposed medicine and then dying shortly thereafter. We strongly suspect they are being injected with lethal poison. Indeed, it is a well-known fact that many more Degar people die in Vietnamese clinics than those who elect to be treated at home. This is one of the Vietnamese government’s secret schemes of destroying our people. A Hling and his family did not dare to go to the Vietnamese clinic, but their wounds were severe enough to prevent them working in the fields and there is still a danger that they may not survive these injuries. Read more about attacks on Degar families in Vietnam here....


Bangladesh: Government Needs To Take The Necessary Steps To Prevent Indigenous Languages From Extinction, Demanded By Rights Groups


On June 28, 2011 Jum Literature Young Society and Kapaeeng Foundation organised a programme on indigenous language at R C Mojumder Auditorium, Lecture Theatre Building of Dhaka University. More than 200 peoples attended the programme including law makers, Adivasi and Bengali poet, university teachers, political leaders, human rights defenders, indigenous rights activists, women rights activists, development workers, youths and students, academics and researchers. The programme was supported by the International Labour Organisation.


The programme was divided into two parts. The first part was discussion on the indigenous culture, literature and language along with the necessity of the government patronage to protect such culture from extinction and the second part was a recitation programme of indigenous poems. The discussion session was presided by: Sarat Jyoti Chakma, member, Jum Literature Young Society while lawmaker Jyotindra Lal Tripura also chairman of the Task Force on Rehabilitation of Returnee Refugees and the Internally Displaced People was the chief guest in the programme. Teacher of Dhaka University Robaet Ferdous and Muhammad Samad who is also a poet, A K Sheram Adivasi poet and Abhilash Tripura representative of ILO Dhaka branch attended the programme as panel discussants. Read more about Bangladesh and struggle to preserve indigenous languages here....


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

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