Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues Every Week - News

Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues For The Week Of August 18 - 24, 2011: Peru, Canada, Bangladesh, Burma, United States


Peru: Congress Approves Historic Law On Consultation With Indigenous People


The plenary Congress, chaired by the head of the legislature, Daniel Abugattás Majluf, unanimously adopted this evening the historic law to prior consultation with indigenous or native peoples recognized by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169. It is the first rule passed in the legislative period 2011-2012.


The unanimous adoption, which ended in applause, was by 113 votes in favour, zero against, with zero abstentions. It was exonerated from second round of voting by 111 votes. It was also agreed to include a third supplementary provision relating to the repeal of a supreme decree was opposed to this law related to regulation of the consultation process.


It was after the discussion of the text alternative that was supported by the President of the Commission on Constitution, Congressman Fredy Otárola (NSG), who stated that the contributions of the five projects (three of the nationalist bench, one of the parliamentary Alliance and multiparty character) collected. He said that the peoples should be consulted on the laws that affect their rights and "never is it should govern behind the backs of the people". Read more about Peru's Congress and the approval of Law on Consultation with indigenous peoples here....


Canada: Landmark Legal Victory Could End Clearcut Logging In Grassy Narrows Territory


Yesterday the Grassy Narrows First Nation (Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek) won a major victory in their more than decade long battle to stop clearcut logging in Grassy Narrows’ traditional territory. Grassy Narrows Chief and Council welcome the decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to protect the rights promised to the Anishinaabe from interference by Ontario. Madam Justice Mary-Anne Sanderson’s decision, over 300 pages in length, finds that the Government of Ontario does not have the power to take away the rights in Treaty 3 by authorizing development including logging and mining.


This decision will set the stage for proper recognition and protection of those rights and, even more importantly, will help protect the Anishinaabe way of life in Northwestern Ontario. Grassy Narrows hopes that this will be a turning point in this battle. We expect that real protection for the endangered boreal forest and our way of life will be put in place immediately.


Joseph Fobister, one of the trappers who were plaintiffs in this case said, “this is a victory for our people. We have struggled for many years to save our way of life in the face of uncontrolled clearcutting, which has contaminated our waters and destroyed our lands.” Mr. Fobister also thanked the people of Grassy Narrows and the supporters who have stood by the community in the fight against clearcut logging. Read more about Grassy Narrows First Nation's landmark victory concerning logging here....


Bangladesh: The Term ‘Adivasi’ To Be Removed From All The Governmental Documents


The decision at inter-ministerial meeting


It is reported that the Government of Bangladesh has decided to erase the term ‘indigenous’ from all the laws, policies, documents and publications of Bangladesh Government. Even this term will be rubbed out from all the textbooks and curriculums. The term ‘Adivasi’ (indigenous peoples) will be replaced by the term ‘Khudro Nritattik Jonogosthi’ (ethnic minorities) according to the 15th amendment of the Constitution of Bangladesh.


The decision was taken at inter-ministry meeting held on last 21 July 2011 where representatives from Prime Minister’s office, Foreign Ministry, Ministry for CHT Affairs, Military Headquarters and Intelligence Departments were present in the meeting.


It is learnt that the proposal of replacement of the term ‘Adivasi’ would be submitted to the Cabinet. When the approval from the Cabinet would be received, the term ‘ethnic minorities’ would be installed erasing the term ‘indigenous peoples’ from all the papers of ministries and institutions of the government. In addition, there was a decision in the meeting that instead of accepting any foreign-funded NGO projects titling ‘development of indigenous peoples’ such projects can be accepted under the title of ‘development of ethnic minorities’ through the Ministry for CHT Affairs, Economic Relation Division and Bureau of NGOs. Read more about the Government of Bangladesh and plans to remove the term Adivasi/Indigenous from government documents here....


Burma: Over 30,000 Displaced By Burma Army Attacks Face Humanitarian Crisis In Northern Shan State


Numbers of villagers fleeing Burma Army atrocities have soared to over 30,000 during recent intensified attacks against the Shan State Army North (SSA-N), causing a dire humanitarian crisis in northern Shan State.


Over 4,000 Burmese troops from 42 battalions were deployed during July to seize the SSA-N headquarters of Wan Hai in Ke See township, backed up by jet fighter planes. Advancing through surrounding villages, troops have been scaling up atrocities against civilians, including killing, rape and mutilation. One dead villager was found with his leg and hand cut off. Read more about the displaced Shan people in Burma due to military attacks here....


United States: Hopi Tribe Initiates Litigation Against The City Of Flagstaff To Enjoin The Illegal Contract For The Sale Of Reclaimed Wastewater To The Snowbowl


On Friday, August 19, 2011, the Hopi Tribe filed a lawsuit against the City of Flagstaff in Arizona Superior Court in Coconino County challenging the City’s decision in September 2010 not to amend or cancel the contract for the sale of reclaimed wastewater to the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort (“Snowbowl”) for snowmaking.


The lawsuit states that the City’s contract to sell 1.5 million gallons of reclaimed wastewater per day to Snowbowl is illegal because it violates several Arizona laws that govern the proper use of reclaimed wastewater. The contract provides for the use of reclaimed wastewater in a mountain setting where runoff and overspray cannot be prevented, as Arizona law requires. Additionally, restrictions on limiting human contact with wastewater cannot be met, and harm to the unique alpine environment in the area, including rare animals and plants, cannot be prevented. The contract is also illegal under Arizona law because it will result in unreasonable environmental degradation and will further deplete limited drinking water resources. As stated in the complaint, the use of reclaimed wastewater for snowmaking will unreasonably harm the environment, create a public nuisance, and infringe upon the public’s, including the Hopi Tribe’s, use and enjoyment of the area around Snowbowl as well as infringe on the Hopi Tribe’s reserved water rights. Read more about the Hopi Tribe and litigation against the City of Flagstaff here....


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

Tags: Peru  Canada  Bangladesh  Burma  United States  

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