Wednesday, April 1, 2009

March 25-31, 2009: Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues

Five Key Indigenous Peoples Issues for the Week of March 25 - 31, 2009

International: Declaration of the International Conference on Extractive Industries and Indigenous Peoples

Indigenous Peoples and support organisations from 35 countries around the world and representing many more Indigenous Nations have gathered together for the International Conference on Extractive Industries and Indigenous Peoples. Read the Declaration here....

Paraguay: Paraguay's Indigenous Peoples In Peril

The Paraguayan state is failing to adequately protect the rights of its Indigenous Peoples, forcing many to live in misery and effectively condemning some to death, Amnesty International has said.

The Yakye Axa and Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous communities have been displaced from their traditional lands and have been living at the side of the Pozo Colorado-ConcepciĆ³n highway for more than 10 years. Without access to their land they live in precarious conditions, unable to source water and food for themselves and with inadequate provision of health and education.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled in 2005 and 2006 that the Paraguayan authorities must return the land to each community, in light of their desperate situation.

“In these conditions, the very survival of the Yakye Axa and Sawhoyamaxa is at risk,” said Louise Finer, Paraguay researcher at Amnesty International. “But the government has the power to show its commitment to Indigenous Peoples’ rights by fully complying with the Court's rulings. These two communities have waited long enough.” Read more about Paraguay's indigenous peoples here....

Cameroon: Live Around Ngovayang Forest

Environmental experts have started implementing field level micro-projects aimed at improving the livelihood of people living in and around the Ngovayang Forest in the South Region. The initiative to conserve and sustainably manage the biodiversity of the Ngovayang Forest was officially launched in November 2008 at a workshop organised under the auspices of the Cameroon Biodiversity Conservation Society (CBCS)- an affiliate of Birdlife International. The launching ceremony brought together representatives of relevant government Ministries, community-based organisations and traditional institutions in the area.

The Ngovayang Forest constitutes an important source of livelihood for the local people derived from the use of non-timber-forest products. The management and sustainable harvest of these products necessitate a better understanding of the collection, processing and marketing of the products.

The indigenous people of the area are the Bagneli and Bakola living alongside their Bantou neighbours who often claim ownership of all natural resources in the region. Read more about the indigenous people of Ngovayang Forest here....

Australia: Tribunal Resolves Flinders Ranges Claim

South Australia's biggest native title claim has been resolved, giving traditional owners non-exclusive rights over a large section of the state's mid-north.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland described the decision as practical and sustainable, recognising the coexistence of Aborigines, pastoralists and mining companies.

The ruling will ensure the Adnyamathanha people, who lodged the claim more than a decade ago, have access to 41,000 square kilometres of land for ceremonial and cultural activities such as hunting, camping and gathering bush tucker.

This includes access to the 918 sq km Flinders Ranges National Park and partially resolves a claim relating to the 367 square kilometre Angepena pastoral lease contained within the full title.

"(The outcome) demonstrates that native title need not operate as a technical legal process or an adversarial contest creating winners and losers," Mr McClelland said. Read more about the tribunal here....

International: Neglect Of Tuberculosis Control Among Indigenous Communities Unethical

The need to include indigenous people in the Global Plan to Stop TB was echoed by many participants at the 3rd Stop TB Partners’ Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (23-25 March 2009).

“We demand inclusion of indigenous peoples in the Global Plan to Stop TB strategy and have launched a strategic framework aimed at addressing tuberculosis among indigenous peoples. The Stop TB Strategy builds on the successes of directly observed treatment shortcourse (DOTS) while also explicitly addressing the key challenges facing TB. Its goal is to dramatically reduce the global burden of tuberculosis by 2015″ said Wilton Littlechild, Regional Chief, Assembly of First Nations.

There are approximately 370 million indigenous peoples globally in more than 70 countries. Although programmes have been designed to combat TB, indigenous populations globally have been left out of such efforts due to cultural barriers, language differences, geographic remoteness, and economic disadvantage. TB rates among indigenous people are consistently higher than general public. During the five year period 2002-2006, the first nations TB rate was 29 times higher than others born in Canada - for the Inuit, it was 90 times higher. Pacific islanders and Maoris are 10 times more likely to contract TB than other people living in New Zealand. In Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland, residents have a risk rate more than 45 times greater than Danish born citizens. Read more about tuberculosis and indigenous people here....

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

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