Monday, April 28, 2008

April 15 - 21, 2008: Five Key Indigenous People's Issues

Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Week of April 15 - April 21, 2008

United Nations Indigenous Peoples Forum Opens

Bolivian President Evo Morales, ministers from that country, Ecuador, Nepal, and some 30 parliamentarians are attending Monday the opening ceremony of the Seventh Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

The meeting, to be run until May 2, is the first one since the creation in September of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which had been negotiated for 20 years. The main issue this time is the impact of the climate change in native peoples. Read the rest of the story here....

Attacks on Indigenous Jumma Peoples of Bangladesh

On 20th April 2008 as the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues gathered in New York to hold its seventh session, hundreds of illegal plain settlers attacked seven indigenous Jumma villages in the Chittagtong Hill Tracts (CHTs) of Bangladesh. These villages - Nursery Para, Baibachara, Purba Para, Nangal Mura, Retkaba, Simana para and Gangaram Mukh of Sajek union under Baghaichari upazila (sub-district) in Rangamati district were attacked for 4 hours from 9.30 pm to 1.30 am on 20 April 2008.

According to the reports of four journalists from Khagrachari who visited the area on 21 April 2008 with local government officials, at least 500 houses in the 4 kilometer stretch from Baghaihat to Gangaram were burnt down. Several indigenous Jummas were wounded and an unknown number of women were raped by the perpetrators. Reports of the mayhem are still coming. Read the rest of the story here....

Sediq Indigenous People Officially Recognized as 14th Indigenous Tribe in Taiwan

The Cabinet officially recognized the Sediq yesterday, the 14th indigenous tribe in Taiwan to gain formal status. Commenting on the issue during a weekly Cabinet meeting in which the recognition was granted, Premier Chang Chun-hsiung noted that the Sediq had been previously grouped by the government as a member of the Atayal, although the Sediq considers itself a different tribe from the Atayal.

"The recognition of the Sediq as an individual tribe is a show of respect for the will of the ethnic group and is consistent with the principle of fairness underlying our ethnic policy," Chang said. To honor the self-identities of indigenous peoples,the government has since 2001 recognized four other indigenous tribes, namely the Thao, Kavalan, Truku and Sakizaya, in addition to the Sediq, the premier pointed out. According to data from the Council of Indigenous Peoples, the Sediq population totals 6,000 to 7,000 people and is mainly distributed in areas along the border separating Nantou and Hualien counties. Read the rest of the story here....

Land Reform Agents Try to Free Indians from Servitude in Bolivia:
Interview with INRA Secretary General Juan de Dios Fernández

Alto Parapetí, a rural area in the eastern Bolivian province of Santa Cruz, is caught up in a dispute between large landowners and the government, which is trying to free more than 2,700 Guaraní Indians from a state of servitude.

Forty inspectors from the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA) are attempting to draw up a land registry in the area and restore the land rights of 19 indigenous communities in the area.

Alto Parapetí, in the province of Cordillera, is located 1,200 km southeast of the administrative capital, La Paz.

The inspectors’ access to the disputed land, where Guaraní families are living in a state of servitude and forced labour on remote estates, according to the ombudsman’s office and human rights groups, has been blocked by local landowners.

The medium and large landholders have the backing of the local government and the pro-business Santa Cruz Civic Committee, who are staunch opponents of the leftwing government of indigenous President Evo Morales. Read the rest of the story here....

Higher Cancer Mortality in Maori, Hawaiian, and Pacific Indigenous People

Indigenous people from New Zealand and Hawaii have higher mortality rates for many cancers than Europeans in those countries according to a publication from the University of Otago, Christchurch. Culturally appropriate education on screening programmes, diet, and smoking might help reduce these mortality rates.

The findings are detailed in the first of a series of literature reviews on worldwide cancer disparities in the latest issue of the prestigious British medical journal ‘The Lancet Oncology’. University of Otago Christchurch researcher, Dr Gabi Dachs and colleagues reviewed studies of cancer incidence and mortality, as well as cancer management and risk factors, across Polynesian island populations. Read the rest of the story here....

Last weeks Five Key Indigenous People's Issues can be found here.

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