Friday, March 14, 2008

Protest New Film Negatively Depicting Indigenous Bushmen People


Human rights group Survival International will be holding a protest outside the premiere of Anthony Minghella and Richard Curtis's latest film The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

The film, adapted from the best-selling book by Alexander McCall Smith, has been written by Richard Curtis, and will be shown on BBC1 this Easter Monday. It was filmed in Botswana.

Botswana's tourism authorities are hoping that the film will encourage a friendly and peaceful image of the country. It is being heavily promoted by the Botswana Tourism Board, whose chief executive has said that it will "provide a platform to promote Botswana diamonds and restore the image tarnished by the CKGR issue". Hundreds of Bushmen have been relocated from their ancestral lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).

The Bushmen - San, Basarwa, Kung or Khwe - are indigenous people of the Kalahari Desert, which spans areas of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. They were traditionally hunter-gatherers, part of the Khoisan group, and are related to the traditionally pastoral Khoikhoi. Starting in the 1950s they were encouraged to switch to farming, and more recently have been relocated away from their ancestral lands.

Although Botswana's High Court ruled that their eviction was unlawful, the Botswana government is doing everything it can to stop them returning home. In particular, it refuses to allow them access to a water borehole in the reserve, meaning they must journey hundreds of kilometres just to get water.

Survival's Director Stephen Corry said, "McCall Smith's books portray Botswana in a very rosy light, but the reality for the Bushmen is very different. Their experience is one of repression, bullying and persecution by a government which seems determined not to let them go home, despite what their courts say."

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

February 26 - March 1, 2008: Five Key Indigenous People's Issues

Five Important Indigenous People's Issues for the Week of February 26 - March 1, 2008.

Indigenous Tribal Healers Featured in Workshop

A 5-day workshop on Tribal Healers of Manipur jointly organised by the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangharalaya (IGRMS), Bhopal and Manipur State Musuem, Imphal was inaugurated today by P Bharat Singh, IAS, commissioner, art and culture.

Speaking at the inaugural function he said that the present workshop on the tribal healers of Manipur was an extension of the vast tradition of indigenous system of medicine in Manipur. Early men would have learnt medicine for the first time from nature and nature with its beautiful flora and fauna has been kind to all living creatures, he observed adding that it provides food, shelter and other life-supporting ingredients necessary for human survival continously for millions of years. Perhaps it is due to this reason that nature is worshiped around the world in different ways by different people. Find out more here...

Ukhrul Conclave Sees Joint Forest Management as a Colonial Agenda

One-Day Workshop on Joint Forest Management (JFM) was today held at TNL Conference Hall, Ukhrul Hqs. This is part of the series of awareness generations launched under the aegis of Working Group on Land & Natural Resources (WGLNR) at the backdrop of the Government of India’s implementation of Joint Forest Management (JFM) programme in the tribal areas of Manipur. Village Headmen from around 70 villages in Ukhrul, including student leaders and NGO representatives participated in the workshop.

In his keynote address, the resource person, Gam A. Shimray, presently the Indigenous Advisor (Asia Region) to the UN Convention on Bio-Diversity while outlining the significance of Indigenous Peoples Rights and its Right to Self-Determination also presented a well-documented political analysis on the various Forest Acts of the Government of India. Terming these various Acts like Indian Forest Act, 1927, Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, Forest Conservation Act, 1980 etc as ‘colonial’ in nature, Gam also equated the subsequent intervention of the Supreme Court vide its Interim Order, 1996 as tantamount to leveling a ‘Death Sentence’ on the indigenous communities. Read the rest of the story here...

National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Stops Philex Mining Operations

THE National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in the Cordillera ordered Philex Mining Corporation to desist from pursuing its mining activities in the 98-hectare Padcal mine in Tuba, Benguet.

The 72-hour temporary restraining order (TRO) issued last February 21 by Regional Hearing Officer Brain Masweng also include the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) in the Cordillera, the Indigenous Peoples Organization of Alang, Pokis, Sta. Fe, Oliba and Loakan (IPO-Apssol) and the NCIP-Cordillera as respondents. Read the rest here...

Costa Rican Indigenous Peoples Protest Free Trade Treaty

Hundreds of Costa Rican indigenous people began a protest against the Free Trade Treaty between Central America, the Dominican Republic and the United States. Women, men and children set up camp in a plaza facing the headquarters of Judicial Power, protested all night and will continue until Thursday afternoon. Read the rest of the story here...

Indigenous Groups Express Concerns On Intellectual Property Protection Of Their Knowledge

Representatives of global indigenous groups were in Geneva last week to exchange views on the role of intellectual property in the protection of indigenous and traditional knowledge and folklore.
Indigenous groups participated an informal meeting held on 22-23 February, and in the weeklong meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) (IPW, Traditional and Indigenous Knowledge, 29 February 2008). Read the rest of the story here...

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

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