Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues Every Week - News

Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues For The Week Of April 4 - 12, 2011: Canada, Brazil, Australia, Philippines, Honduras

 

Canada: Draft Land Use Plan Infringes Treaty 8

 

First Nations in Oil Sands Region say that the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan does not protect enough land and resources to sustain their traditional livelihood and creates legal risk for Alberta

 

On April 5, 2011, Alberta Government’s Department of Sustainable Resource Development, headed by Minister Mel Knight, released the draft Lower Athabasca Region Plan (LARP). The draft plan proposes a 16% increase to conservation areas in the oil sands region, which is significantly less than the recommendations from the Regional Advisory Council (RAC), who advised up to 32%, and considerably less than recommendations from First Nations.

 

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, who has aboriginal and treaty Rights throughout the LARP area are left wondering how they will sustain their traditional livelihood and protect their cultural existence on what amounts to scattered, small parcels of land. According to Chief Allan Adam the LARP represents “… an economic assimilation of our people. How can we maintain our culture, protect our livelihood and continue practicing our treaty rights under these conditions. LARP is an infringement of our Rights and the government has a duty and obligation to ensure that we have the ability to practice and maintain those Rights now and into the future.”

 

Chief Adam explained that “Alberta is doing more of the same thing and expecting a different result. The provincial government consistently fails to meet even our basic needs when it comes to air, land and water within the region and fails to meaningfully engage First Nations in land management decisions in accordance with our aboriginal and treaty rights. Until Alberta makes meaningful efforts to protect land, regulate industry and ensure that First Nations are at the table as full partners to develop solutions to the serious environmental challenges that government and industry are creating, they can count on our opposition to further development within the region.” Read more about the violations of Treaty 8 under the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan here....

 

Brazil: Terenas Cachoeirinha Indigenous People Are Under Threat Of Eviction

 

Group has taken over an area belonging to their traditional land yesterday. Since then they are cornered by farmers in the region and threatened with violent eviction

 

Terena indigenous people of the Indigenous Land Cachoeirinha in Miranda (MS), are trapped by farmers. The group held yesterday (4) resumption of farms and Charqueada Petropolis, the latter owned by the former governor, Pedro Pedrossian. Part of the occupied areas are in the land recognized as traditionally occupied by the Terena.

 

According to reports, as soon as they entered the farm Charqueada, the Terena suffered intimidation. "They approached our companions (Terena) and threatened to take the bike from one of them if he did not inform about who was in action. The officers also threatened to invade Charqueada at night," complains Vahelé.

 

Already in Petropolis, 20 gunmen were threatening the Terena giving shots in the air, despite the presence of the Military Police. It is the third time that the Terena retake the area. In May 2010, after staying for seven months on the farm, the community was violently evicted by the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and dogs. Read more about the Terenas Cachoeirinha and disputes over land here....

 

Australia: Shadow Report - On Australian Governments’ Progress Towards Closing The Gap In Life Expectancy Between Indigenous And Non-Indigenous Australians

 

We call on the Australian Government to honour its commitments to an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equality plan supported by a health partnership.

 

Almost four years ago, in December 2007, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) set itself a target to close the 10 to 17 year life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation.

 

This raised hopes that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health inequality would come to an end within our lifetime. Significant gains in the life expectancy of population groups in short periods of time at home and overseas demonstrated that such a target was achievable, and not simply an aspiration.

 

The signing of the Close the Gap Statement of Intent in March 2008 signalled that the Australian Government was committed to delivering on the COAG targets and providing the leadership for doing so. It was a concrete demonstration of the Government’s political will. Read more about the shadow report on Closing the Gap in Australia here....

 

Philippines: Indigenous Peoples Assert Their Role In Peace Process

 

Some 200 indigenous peoples (IPs) from 56 ethno-linguistic groups all over the country have urged the government to support their policy agenda and action plan, which includes the recognition of the IPs role in the peace process.

 

In the 2011 National Indigenous Peoples Summit held recently at the Seameo Innotech in Commonwealth, Quezon City, participants came up with a resolution declaring recommendations on five issues: (1) respect of IPs’ rights to self-determination; (2) review of the implementation of Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and reform of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP); (3) delivery of basic social services to the communities; (4) protection from development aggression, human rights violations, and militarization; and (5) recognition of the role of IPs in the peace process.

 

The resolution said that as the ongoing peace negotiations of the government with the National Democratic Front (NDF) and with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) develop, the IPs should assert on all parties their collective rights and aspirations.

 

“The recognition of rights of the indigenous peoples should be tackled and taken as one of the major agenda in the peace talks,” it stated.

 

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos-Deles, who is also the official cabinet oversight for NCIP, assured the summit participants that she will sit down with the Commission to review all the points that were raised in the three-day IP gathering. Read more about the peace process and indigenous peoples' role here....

 

Honduras: Alert - Eviction In The Garifuna Community Of Punta Gorda, Roatan

 

ALERT: Eviction in the Garifuna community of Punta Gorda, Roatan.

 

At the request of the Military Social Security Institute [Instituto de Prevision Militar, IPM, which owns several businesses], agents from the Ministry of Security are right now carrying out an eviction in the island community of Punta Gorda, Roatan.

 

The more than 40 families that are being violently evicted live in the neighbourhood known as Punta Gorda, located in the community of the same name. It is outrageous that that while the State of Honduras boasts about a policy of inclusion and makes an ostentatious show of its celebration of the International Year of Afro-Descendants, the armed forces order the Ministry of Security to carry out an eviction.

 

As Garifuna, we find ourselves suffering a second expulsion from the Caribbean. In just a few days, on April 12th, the arrival of our People to Honduras will be commemorated, specifically marking our arrival to the island of Roatan, after our forced displacement by the British from the island of Saint Vincent in 1797.

 

The pressures on our territory that our People suffer are rooted in the speculation by the tourism industry. Projects such as Banana Coast, Laguna de Micos, and in a not-so-distant future the so-called Model City have precipitated an onslaught of evictions in Punta Gorda and in the majority of coastal communities, which are the aim of businesspeople, politicians and armed forces, taking advantage of the vast judicial void that exists in Honduras. Read more about the Garifuna of Punta Gorda, Roatan here....

 

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




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