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Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues For The Week Of March 21 - 27, 2011: Canada, Peru, Australia, Belize, Malaysia


Canada: Declaration For An Action Plan To Fight Against Racism Towards Aboriginal Peoples


At the conclusion of the Symposium "For a Quebec Proud of its relationship with the First Nations: Anti-racism Policy and Action Plan", held at l'Université du Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), the Organizing Committee and the participants adopted a Declaration asking the government of Quebec "to initiate the necessary steps for the adoption of a policy to fight against racism and discrimination, and an action plan which is peculiar to the First Nations".


This policy and action plan should take into consideration, amongst others, the following dimensions:

  • The systemic discrimination and discrimination between citizens, the dimensions linked to rights already established by treaties relating to the exploitation and utilization of lands and its natural resources;
  • The social problems linked to education, health, social services, housing, eldercare, and seniors;
  • The history of the First Nations.
Read more about the declaration against racism towards Aboriginal peoples here....


Peru: FENAMAD Calls For Transparency In The Process Of Approval Of Forestry And Wildlife Law, And Supports The Complaint Of AIDESEP In Denouncing Adulteration Of Agreements By The Agricultural Committee Of Congress


Such a thing could not be ignored. In Peru, has opened the way for the Andean and Amazonian peoples involved, for the first time, in making government decisions. Should be a model which in itself reflects its virtues so that future governments continue this process. However, news like this tarnish the work so far has been doing.


It turns out that the Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon, AIDESEP, has complained that the signature of one of its top leaders had been forged on a document recently issued by the Land Commission of the Congress. This Commission is responsible precisely to carry forward a standard agreed with the social sector of the Peruvian population (Bill No. 4141/2009/PE) just when the Government refuses to approve the Framework Act prior consultation. That is, if confidence was at a critical point, already, you do not see that the relations between the Government and the Indian national AIDESEP, enter into an impasse at least in a short time.


The bottom line is that indigenous organizations do not consider this process a prior consultation, as the Land Commission says the document of yore, and as has come to immediately deny Saul Puerta Peña, who has left open the possibility of prosecuting Aníbal Huerta, president of the commission, and advisors involved in the act of bad faith, but rather from previous meetings of informative nature are intended to pave the way for this to happen. Read more about how Peru forged indigenous signatures concerning the Forestry and Wildlife Law here....


Australia: FMG Tries To Strong-Arm Traditional Yindjibarndi Community Into Signing An Agreement


An agreement which allows Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) to do anything, anytime, anywhere it wants, on the traditional country of the Yindjibarndi People - but which prohibits the Yindjibarndi from ever claiming compensation, if FMG’s future activities prevent them exercising their legally determined land rights - was the subject of an extraordinary meeting held in Roebourne on 16 March 2010.


Michael Woodley, CEO of Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC), the corporate Trustee which holds previously determined land rights for the Yindjibarndi People, described the meeting as a “sham, organised and paid for by FMG”. Mr Woodley said FMG orchestrated the meeting “to try to force Yindjibarndi to sign the agreement”.


Mr Woodley said the agreement would “give the go ahead to the development of FMG’s so-called ‘Solomon Hub Project’ - on vacant Crown land where the Yindjibarndi People are seeking to have their traditional right of exclusive possession legally recognised by the Federal Court”. He said FMG negotiated the terms of the agreement last year, with a small group of Yindjibarndi members, who were “enticed by FMG’s offers of personal gain to break away from the previously united Yindjibarndi community [comprising more than 1200 members], and to establish the “Wirlu-Murra Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation”.1


The meeting on 16 March was attended by a large number of “unknown” Aboriginal people, who were “bussed in from Carnarvon and elsewhere” and who had “never before attended Yindjibarndi meetings”, Mr Woodley said. He was unable to say whether many of those who did attend “were even Yindjibarndi” - since “no procedure was put in place by FMG to determine whether or not they were Yindjibarndi”. Read more about how FMG tried to strong-arm the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal community in Western Australia here....


Belize: Message From The Maya Leaders Alliance And The Toledo Alcaldes Association To The Nation Of Belize


“Whatever might be is simply not there: only murmurs, ripples, in the dark, in the night.” This is how the beginning of creation is described by the sacred book of my grandparents, the Popul Hu. But more importantly, it tells us that out of this the creators were able to create the world by joining their minds, thoughts and spirits teaching us that the power to create and transform the world lies in coming together in all our diversity and engaging in collective action. My fellow brothers and sisters, today, Belize confronts tremendous challenges, “whatever might be is simply not there: only murmurs, ripples, in the dark, in the night”; our homes and families in Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize, Cayo, Stann Creek and Toledo Districts are enduring challenging times. It is clear that our country needs to be transformed and that it requires the creative power of all Belizeans united in their diversity. We as Maya people are committed to this transformation.


On September 21st, 1981 Belize celebrated the end of tyranny, slavery and rejoiced for freedom, equality, justice and independence. We joined our minds, thoughts and spirit and affirmed that our Belize shall be grounded on principles which acknowledge the supremacy of God, the dignity of every human person, faith in human rights and fundamental freedoms, the position of the family in a society of free men and free institutions, the dignity of the human person and the equal and inalienable rights with which all members of the human family are endowed by their Creator. This is the promise that our nation made to all Belizeans through the Belize Constitution and a promise we are responsible to deliver for our children and their children’s children. Only then can we claim an Independent Belize! Read more of the message from the Maya Leaders Alliance and the Toledo Alcaldes Association here....


Malaysia: Precedent-Setting Land Deal In Palm Oil Expansion Zone In Borneo


A new oil palm plantation being developed in Indonesian Borneo (West Kalimantan) has relinquished community lands to which it had gained a government permit. The company PT Agro Wiratama, a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and subsidiary of the giant Musim Mas group, agreed to relinquish more than 1,000 hectares of its 9,000 hectare concession back to the community, following interventions by community representatives and NGOs.


In the context of a pattern of development whereby millions of hectares of large-scale oil palm plantations have been established without consent on indigenous peoples’ land, this is a breakthrough, said Marcus Colchester, Director of the international human rights group, Forest Peoples Programme. We spotted PT Agro Wiratama’s plans to open up this area on the RSPO website and were able to alert our partners in Borneo.


RSPO’s ‘New Plantings Procedure’ requires member companies to publicly announce plans to expand their operations. The aim of the new procedure is to ensure that the social and environmental requirements of RSPO are taken into account before new operations get going. In this case, the local Indonesian NGO Gemawan was able to alert the local people to what was being proposed, open up discussions with the local government, the company and the RSPO and then assist the community in its negotiations.


We are very pleased that our land is secure now, because we’ve now got a chance to make choices about our lives. We now ask all the other parties involved in this decision to respect our choice, said Kamarudin, one of the community leaders of the Kuayan community. Read more about the land deal in the palm oil expansion zone of Borneo here....


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

Tags: Canada  Peru  Australia  Belize  Malaysia  

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