Wednesday, April 23, 2008

April 8 - 14, 2008: Five Key Indigenous People's Issues

Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Week of April 8 - April 14, 2008

Two Radio Reporters Murdered in Oaxaca

On April 7, two radio reporters from a recently installed community radio were ambushed in Putla de Guerrero, Oaxaca, and shot to death. Teresa Bautista Flores, 24, and Felicitas Martínez, 20, two women journalists working for La Voz que Rompe el Silencio (“The Voice that Breaks the Silence”), were murdered allegedly by paramilitary forces. Three other people were wounded in the shooting: Jaciel Vázquez, aged 3, and his parents.

In an interview with Radio Bemba in Sonora, Mexico, Jorge Albino, coordinator of La Voz que Rompe el Silencio said that the radio station had been receiving death threats since its inception. The station was inagurated on January 20 to serve the Trique indigenous community in San Juan Copala, a year after the locality was granted administrative autonomy. Read the rest of the story here....

Canadian Mining Company Threatens Indigenous People's Ancestral Lands

The Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the Binongan indigenous peoples in Baay-Licuan, Abra Philippines, was grossly violated by Canadian mining company Olympus Pacific Minerals for not securing such prior to exploration and drilling in the indigenous peoples’ ancestral domain at Capcapo mountain [...] Olympus only stopped its operations in August 2007 when the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-CAR told them to defer all exploration activities. Also, there was no FPIC process conducted with the communities as they had no prior knowledge that there was a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) approved and issued to the local subsidiaries in April 1998.

Even the NCIP-CAR and NCIP-Abra’s investigation findings state that indeed, Olympus Mines has “grossly violated the rights of the indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples over their ancestral domain (Capcapo) and failed to comply with the requirements under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and NCIP AO No.1, S. 2006.” The affected communities are stepping up their opposition with the continuing submission of petitions since March 2007 to the NCIP regional and provincial offices and local government units. As a result of the community complaints, Olympus is now making haste to comply with the FPIC requirements through consultations with the concerned barangays from April 1-19, 2008. Read the rest of the story here....

Oil Enriching Indigenous Nenets Peoples; Bankrupting Cultural Traditions

NARYAN-MAR, Nenets Autonomous District -- When an airplane carrying LUKoil workers crashed in the far north of this Arctic region three years ago, killing 29 of 52 people on board, many blamed the weather. When, one year later, in March 2006, a helicopter carrying victims' relatives to a commemoration ceremony at the crash site also fell, killing another person, the indigenous people thought something else was at play. The land, they said, was cursed.

One of Russia's newest oil-producing regions, the Nenets autonomous district is home to lucrative projects for LUKoil and Rosneft. It is also home to a population of 7,000 indigenous Nenets, whose livelihood and seminomadic way of life is being increasingly threatened by the region's growing oil industry. "They defied the energy of the land," said Kolya, a Nenets shaman who, at 39, looks at least 20 years older, speaking of the crashes. Squatting in his tent (called a choom) 5 kilometers from Naryan-Mar in the snow-covered tundra one recent evening, he spoke slowly, slurring his words through wide gaps of missing teeth after one beer too many. Read the rest of the story here....

Australian Treaty Tops Indigenous 2020 Agenda

An indigenous treaty has topped the priorities of Australia 2020 summit delegates examining Aboriginal issues. About 100 of Australia's top indigenous leaders, thinkers and experts came together as part of the summit to discuss their ideas to improve indigenous people's lives.

The creation of a treaty proved the most popular suggestion, followed by the re-establishment of a national representative body, and the setting up of an indigenous future fund and a watchdog to oversee government action on indigenous issues. Read the rest of the story here....

Maine Endorses United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Maine's General Assembly has passed a resolution supporting the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, setting a precedent for other states to follow.

The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives voted unanimously April 15 on a joint resolution in support of the declaration, which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly Sept. 13, 2007, in a historic vote of 143 states in favor to 4 against, with 11 abstentions. The U.S. joined Canada, Australia and New Zealand as the only nations opposing the declaration. Significantly, all four countries have substantial indigenous populations that can claim large areas of land. Read the rest of the story here....

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

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