Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Weeks of July 15 - July 21, 2008
Colombia: New Homes For Displaced Indigenous People
IOM Colombia has handed over the keys of 42 new homes to 184 displaced and vulnerable members of the Pasto indigenous group in Nariño department following a traditional ceremony.
The handover of the homes, which were built with technical support from IOM and funding from USAID, the Resguardo Indígena de Males and the mayor's office of Cordoba (Nariño), was presided over by Colombian First Lady Lina Moreno de Uribe.
The homes, built according to a traditional design, are round, which to the Pastos symbolizes the sun's presence, as well as God's divinity. They include stoves, which in Pasto tradition, families can gather around and which help them to stay together.
At the handover ceremony the group conducted a "sacado de la vieja" ritual to rid the homes of possible evil spirits and ensure the good health of the new owners.
Seventy-one per cent of the families that received the new homes were previously living with relatives or friends, 24 per cent were living in sub-standard makeshift dwellings, and 5 per cent were paying rent. Read more about homes for Columbian indigenous peoples here....
Australian Indigenous Government Body Must Be Credible
A new indigenous representative body must maintain a credible reputation with indigenous people, the public and the government, Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said.
Ms Macklin said the promised new body would not be another Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), which ran from 1990 until abolished by the former government in 2005.
She welcomed a new discussion paper, saying it raised some critical issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to consider about the role, composition and structure of the new body.
Ms Macklin said the government had already stated some broad principles for a new body, including that it have urban, regional and remote representation.
"We must all learn from mistakes of the past," she said in a statement. Read more about the Australian Indigenous Body here....
Badjao: A Vanishing Tribe
Officials of the Human Rights Commission in New Zealand visited Zamboanga City Friday and met with the Sama Dilaut tribe or the Badjao communities.
The New Zealand Agency for International Development is assisting indigenous groups in the country through literacy improvement and poverty reduction.
Zamboanga City houses three Badjao resettlement areas. But most of the Badjao women, children, and the old no longer engage in traditional livelihood such as fishing. Instead, begging from motorists and pedestrians has become their source of living.
National Project Manager for Community Development for Indigenous People Jenny Dandan says the fact that Badjaos roam the streets indicates a cultural breakdown due to economic difficulties.
"But did anybody ask why are these happening to them? Did anybody try to understand what are the reasons behind their migration to the urban cities, particularly to the streets?" Dandan says.
Last Saturday, the Philippines' Commission on Human Rights invited tribal leaders of the Sama Dilaut for a consultation with the visiting New Zealand officials. They discussed literacy, discrimination, miscommunication among the indigenous peoples sector and the local government.
The consultation sought to get suggestions on how the Badjaos should be dealt with in an urban city like Zamboanga. Read more about Badjao: A Vanishing Tribe here....
Manipulating Social Tragedies For Political Gain
A key element in the Howard government’s preparations for its long-planned NT intervention was a series of sensationalized news reports in 2006 about child sex abuse in Aboriginal communities. Indigenous affairs minister Mal Brough, working with the corporate media and programs such as ABC television’s “Lateline”, claimed that pedophiles were running rampant in Aboriginal communities.
None of these allegations was ever substantiated. In fact the “evidence” for one lurid story came from Greg Andrews, a senior official in Mal Brough’s department of indigenous affairs, who appeared on “Lateline” in May 2006 claiming to be a social worker. Andrews, whose face was blacked out during the interview, insisted he had hard evidence of organized pedophile activity in Mutitjulu, a remote community adjoining Uluru (Ayers Rock). His “evidence”, it appears, was not presented to police, nor was anyone charged.
Right-wing academics and Aboriginal leaders, such as Kimberly Land Council director Peter Yu, also got into the act, whipping up public outrage and demanding immediate government action. Yu, who has recently been appointed to the Rudd government’s intervention review board, called for a military style intervention in Aboriginal communities to deal with the alleged crisis. Read more about manipulating social tragedies for political gain here....
Report Highlights Humanitarian Concerns In Colombia's Putumayo Region
Forced displacement remains a major problem in southern Colombia's volatile Putumayo department, according to a report by six local and international non-governmental organizations. But the UN refugee agency says continuing opposition to the violence gives some room for hope in the border region.
The report released in Bogotá last Thursday was based on the findings of a recent monitoring mission to the Putumayo region, in which the UN refugee agency took part as an international observer.
The report authors identified forced displacement, along with the "absence of clear mechanisms to guarantee the enjoyment of various civil and human rights and the singling out and persecution of community leaders and human rights defenders," as the main humanitarian concerns in Putumayo.
The region is one of the epicentres of Colombia's internal conflict, with a strong presence of irregular armed groups and a militarization of the area. It is one of 15 priority regions for UNHCR in Colombia because of the high incidence of forced displacement, both internal and across the border to Ecuador.
The report identified several highly vulnerable groups, including children at risk of forced recruitment by irregular armed groups; indigenous groups; and females at risk of violence and sexual exploitation. It also said that communal leaders, both indigenous and others, are at high risk of being stigmatized and persecuted. Read more about Humanitarian Concerns In Colombia's Putumayo Region here....
Last weeks Five Key Indigenous People's Issues can be found here.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Weeks of July 15 - July 21, 2008
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