Wednesday, April 9, 2008

March 24 - April 1, 2008: Five Key Indigenous People's Issues

Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Week of March 24 - April 1, 2008

Big Dams Harm Indigenous Peoples

Joining in the opposition of the Tipaimukh multipurpose Hydroelectric Project in Manipur, the Sinlung Indigenous People Human Rights Organisation (SIPHRO) today declared the construction of the proposed Tipaimukh dam as immature and made its stand clear that ‘big dams’ is not the solution to mitigate the lives of the people.

A press statement issued by the SIPHRO Secretary, Lalremlien Neitham, while terming the construction of the Tipaimukh dam as immature, said that ‘the process for choosing it ignored both the indigenous people and the recommendations of the WCD (World Commission on Dams)’. “SIPHRO is convinced that there are better ways towards development and helping the poor compartments get water and electricity. It urged the State actors as well as non-state actors to identify them,” it stated.

Asserting that construction of big dams is not the solution to mitigate the lives of the people, the organisation expressed strong feeling on the urgent need to provide education, policy support, technical assistance and funds to the indigenous people in Tipaimukh to undertake their own mitigation measures in the areas of building small-scale energy systems, biodiversity conservation, managing streams and rivers, improving livelihood, etc. Through it the people can be benefited from the environmental services derived from their land and resources. Read the rest of the story here...

Indigenous Forest People Want To Be Heard At UN Debate On Climate And Deforestation

From the silent victims of climate change, rain forest peoples in Latin America are preparing themselves to have an active voice in international decision-making on climate issues. A major landmark in preparing for the dialogue with authorities of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place from April 1-4 in Manaus, Brazil, when forest leaders from 13 countries and experts will be participating in the workshop "Climate Change and the Peoples of the Forest: Advancing in the Discussion on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) and the Rights of Indigenous and Traditional Peoples", promoted by the Forest Peoples' Alliance.

The emergence of the global climate issue and the effective participation of forest communities in the conservation of the environment was one of the reasons for the re-launching of the Forest Peoples' Alliance, in September last year. The Alliance had been first established in 1989, shortly after the murder of leader Chico Mendes and represents the interests of indigenous peoples, extractive producers, riverine populations and other traditional communities who keep a mutual pact of survival with the forest. Read the rest of the story here....

Indigenous Inuits Losing Lives To Climate Change

An Indigenous member of the Inuit people has told a United Nations meeting in Darwin how hunters have lost their lives because of the melting polar cap. Sixty-five delegates are in Darwin discussing how climate change is affecting Indigenous people world wide. Joe Morrison from the North Australian Indigenous Sea Management Alliance says the stories have been harrowing. "Hunters have gone out hunting and they have fallen through ice and so forth and people have lost their lives," he said. Read the rest of the story here...

Indigenous Peoples: Forgetting the "Fair" in "Free Trade"

With Congress back in session, the Bush Administration is pushing hard to pass another trade agreement based on the failed NAFTA model, this time with Colombia. The Administration is in a race against public opinion, which is quickly turning against the kind of neoliberal trade deals that have worsened poverty and inequality in every country where they have been implemented and led to a massive loss of jobs in the United States. The proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Colombia promises more of the same. The deal will also strengthen Colombia's government, which is responsible for severe human rights violations.

With more and more people—in Latin America and in the US—becoming aware of the repercussions of unfair trade rules, MADRE has urged its members to take action and to let their Congressional representatives know that a vote for this trade agreement is a vote for. Read the rest here....

Indigenous Aboriginal Radio Holds Its Own

When the Brisbane Indigenous Media Association (BIMA) applied for a community radio license 15 years ago they had to compete with a Christian group which argued that there were more Christians than aborigines in Brisbane and thus merited a license first.

But BIMA was able to convince Australian broadcasting authorities that though there were more Christians than aborigines here, the latter had a greater right to get their voice heard because the Christians were well represented in the rest of the media. BIMA was thus given the license and started broadcast on Apr. 5, 1993.

Started as Radio 4AAA-FM, but popularly known as 98.9 FM, it is the first Australian aboriginal-run community radio station in a major city. Today, as it celebrates its 15th anniversary, 98.9 FM is more a mainstream radio here rather than a fringe community station. Read the rest here....

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

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