Information on the Communication Procedure of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

[Note: We received the information below from the Secretariat of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights on the communication procedure of the said working group. This will be very helpful to us Indigenous Peoples and others affected by destructive and harmful practices of corporations, as we can send information on alleged human rights abuses or violations and, where deemed appropriate, the said working group intervene directly with States, business enterprises and others on such allegations.]

Dear all,

We would like to seek your assistance in raising awareness about one important aspect of the mandate of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, namely the communication procedure.

Like other Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council, the Working Group can receive information on alleged human rights abuses or violations and, where deemed appropriate, intervene directly with States, business enterprises and others on such allegations.

Such intervention can relate to a human rights abuse or violation affecting one or more individuals, or groups, or to concerns of a broader, structural nature (such as laws and policies). The process involves sending a letter to the concerned States and business enterprises to draw their attention to the facts of the allegations made and the applicable international human rights norms and standards, in particular the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The dialogue established with Governments and business enterprises through communications does not constitute a statement of facts on the part of the Working Group; it rather aims to encourage the Governments and business enterprises concerned to investigate the situation and take all necessary steps to provide redress, within their respective areas of obligations and responsibilities.

You can find more information on the communications procedure, as well as details on how and where to send information, at the following updated webpage: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/Submittingcomplaints.aspx

We’d be very grateful if you could help raise awareness about the communication procedure amongst your partners. The Working Group intends to increase the number of communications it sends to States and business enterprises and for this needs more information from affected individuals and supporting organizations. Your assistance is greatly appreciated in this regard.

We look forward to our continued cooperation with you on this and other aspects of the Working Group’s mandate.

Many thanks and best regards.

The Secretariat of the Working Group

Street Address: Palais Wilson, 52 Rue des Pâquis

Mailing Address: UNOG-OHCHR, CH-1211 Geneva 10

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When you click the link provided above (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/Submittingcomplaints.aspx), this is what it contains:

Submitting complaints

Submitting information on alleged human rights abuses or violations to the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

In the framework of its mandate, the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises receive information on alleged human rights abuses or violations and, where deemed appropriate, intervene directly with States, business enterprises and others on such allegations. Such intervention can relate to a human rights abuse or violation which has already occurred, is ongoing, or which has a high risk of occurring. The process involves sending a letter to the concerned States and business enterprises to draw their attention to the facts of the allegations made and the applicable international human rights norms and standards, in particular the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Communications sent and replies received remain confidential until they are published in joint communications reports submitted to each regular session of the Human Rights Council (in March, June and September). In certain situations, including those of grave concern, the Working Group may issue a public statement earlier.

The Human Rights Council, in its resolution 26/22 encourages all States, relevant United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, treaty bodies and civil society actors, including non-governmental organizations, as well as public and private businesses to cooperate fully with the Working Group by responding to communications transmitted.

Communications of the Working Group deal with allegations in relation to cases involving or impacting on one or more individuals or a particular group. The Working Group also receives information related to concerns of a broader, structural nature, including related to laws, draft laws, or policies that may impact a large number of individuals.

Communications of the Working Group can take various forms including:

  1. a) Urgent appeals which are used in cases where the alleged abuses or violations are time-sensitive in terms of involving loss of life, life-threatening situations or either imminent or ongoing damage of a very grave nature to victims that cannot be addressed in a timely manner by the procedure of allegation letters.
  1. b) Allegation letters which are used to communicate information about abuses or violations that are said to have already occurred or in cases not covered by urgent appeals.

The dialogue established with Governments and business enterprises through communications does not constitute a statement of facts on the part of the Working Group; it rather aims to encourage the Governments and business enterprises concerned to investigate the situation and take all necessary steps to provide redress, within their respective areas of obligations and responsibilities.

The information provided to the Working Group may well reflect cross-cutting issues and it might therefore send communications jointly with other Special Procedures mandate holders.

Guidelines for submitting allegations to the Working Group

Information can be submitted in English, French or Spanish by any person or group of persons claiming to be the victim or having reliable knowledge of the situation. The Working Group is open to receiving communications under any format. However communications should describe the facts and the relevant details clearly and concisely. As a general rule, communications that contain abusive language or that are obviously politically motivated will not be considered.

Confidentiality

The identity of a victim will always be included in any correspondence between the Working Group and State authorities. The Working Group cannot intervene without revealing the victim’s identity. The source of the information provided or the victim may request that the victim’s name is not included in public reports.

The identity of the source of information on the alleged violation is always kept confidential. When submitting information, the source may indicate whether there are any other information which should remain confidential.

Information to provide

For cases involving individuals or groups, the information should include, where applicable:

Who is submitting the information? (This information will be kept confidential). Please provide clear contact details and mention any affiliation to national/regional/international NGOs or human rights networks.

Who is the alleged victim(s) (individual(s), community, group, etc.)?

Whether the consent of the victim(s) has been obtained. Are victims informed that if the Working Group or other UN special procedures take up the case, a letter concerning the alleged facts with the names of the alleged victims will be sent to the authorities?

Who is the alleged perpetrator(s) of the violation? Please provide substantiated information on all the actors involved, including non-state actors if relevant.

Where, what and how the alleged abuse(s) /violation(s) took place (date, place and detailed description of the circumstances); the information submitted can refer to abuses or violations that are said to have already occurred, that are ongoing or about to occur. Information should include the legal remedies, if any, taken at the national level or regional level, and any other relevant information on the various aspects of the case.

For cases involving laws and policies concerning business and human rights issues, the information should include, where applicable:

A summary of the draft law, law, or policy. With regard to draft or existing legislation, please list the problematic provisions in a clear manner. If possible, please provide a copy of the legislative text in the original language as well as in English, French or Spanish (if not the original language).

Submitting the Information — contact information

Anyone who wishes to submit information to the Working Group may do so in one of the following ways:

Email (preferred method):
wg-business@ohchr.org or urgent-action@ohchr.org
the Subject Line of the email should refer to the mandate of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises

Mail:
Working Group on the issue of on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
c/o OHCHR-UNOG
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais Wilson
1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Fax:
+41 22 917 90 06

Follow-up

Communications sent by the Working Group to Governments remain initially confidential until when these and the answers from Governments are included in the Communications Report of Special Procedures submitted three times a year to the Human Rights Council.

It is important for the Working Group to receive updated and relevant information on the situations referred to in the complaints submitted to enable it to continue to follow-up on the issue through its dialogue with the involved Parties. Person(s) or organization(s) that have submitted information and complaints are urged to examine the response made by the Government and to submit their comments, if necessary, to the Working Group.

Also note that several other individual complaint mechanisms have been established as part of the international human rights system. For more information please visit the Special Procedures page and the Human Rights Bodies-Complaints Procedures page.

Joint intervention of CRAM, LIL, CSCHR and CORE on Intervention on Future Works of Permanent Forum during UNPFII 2015

14TH SESSION OF THE UN PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES, 20 APRL – 1 MAY 2015, UN HQ, NEW YORK

Agenda Item 8:  Intervention on Future Works of Permanent Forum 

 

Madame Chair, I am Pushpa Koijam of the Meitei people of Manipur intervening on behalf of the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur (CRAM), Land is Life (LIL), CSO Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and at the UN (CSCHR) and Center for Organization Research and Education (CORE), Inter Tribal Committee.

Madame Chair, the provision on right to self determination, a fundamental right that transcends all provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other major International Human Rights agreements, is increasingly being arbitrated in indigenous peoples’ territories. Indigenous peoples efforts for greater defense of their land, rights and future and self determination is also increasingly being responded with brute use of force and arbitrary use of power.

In Manipur in India’s North East, the self determination efforts of indigenous peoples are responded militarily with brute forms of extensive militarization, with promulgation of emergency laws such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958.  Militarization processes in Manipur led to wide controversy in Manipur, ranging from direct civilian casualties to land grabbing to facilitating development onslaught in Manipur, all converging to reinforce undermining right to self determination of indigenous peoples. Several UN human rights bodies had urged upon the Government of India to repeal emergency laws and to stop all forms of human rights violations.

One of the most direct impacts of militarization is on women and children. The infamous rape and murder of Miss Thangjam Manorama on 11 July 2004 by personnel of the 17th Assam Rifles and the countless victims of rape and other forms of sexual harassment is an obvious reality in Manipur. There are countless victims of rapes and sexual harassment committed by Indian security forces. The denial of justice, failure to prosecute and punish armed forces personnel involved in violations led to impunity.

Militarization can also led to impact on peoples economic means as several times, villagers residing in and around the Loktak Lake complained of military restrictions on their normal daily fishing activities at Loktak Lake and also the destruction of their fishing gears during military operations and due to military deployment all around Loktak Lake. Indigenous communities protested the restrictions of movements in their village by Assam Rifles personnel in Tengoupal village in January 2015.

Militarization is also associated with introduction of unsustainable development projects, as evident by the militarization of Mapithel Dam site, Loktak Project site, Khuga Dam etc. Usually, any call for sustainable, participatory and human rights based development would immediately lead to militarization of those specific project sites. Indeed the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples Rights, Mr. James Anaya expressed strong condemnation with the Mapithel dam construction and the militarization process and application of emergency legislations in 2008.

The militarization process already hastened the fast worsening food sovereignty of Manipur as scores of acres of prime agricultural land, which community depend for growing food, is increasingly converted into non productive assets, including setting up military camps and firing ranges. Land grabbing is also carried out for militarization purposes in the region, where huge tract of prime agriculture land and forest are acquired for military and allied activities, which are deployed to counter indigenous resistance groups, struggling for their for right to self determination, to protect mega development infrastructures[1].

Besides confiscation of ancestral land, the militarization process also targets educational complexes and historical sites. There has been a longstanding demand from the students of Manipur University to shift the Assam Rifles currently occupying the Langthabal Hills, an important historical and cultural heritage site, located within the university premises. The Chinga Hills and the Langjing Hills etc, where the Meitei people worship their ancestral deities, has been occupied by Assam Rifles and Central Reserve Police Force, representing a desecration of indigenous peoples cultural and sacred sites.

One may recall that the village authorities of Khunkhu village, located near Leimakhong Army base in Manipur, complained that the Army authorities continuously used the area in the vicinity of the village as a field firing range since 1938 without compensation for damages caused to the village, constituting a direct violation of the Maneuvers, Field Firing and Artillery Practice Act, 1938 and UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007.

Militarization and impacts on civilians in indigenous territories has for long been overlooked. It is increasing evident that militarization process has disturbed the profound relationships of Indigenous peoples in Manipur with their lands and territories. Confiscation of prime agricultural land and resources without the consent of the communities has led to considerable social and cultural impacts, and also posing a threat to the physical integrity and survival as peoples. Militarization in residential areas has far wider and serious implications with the local economy and livelihood and survival issues.

Recommendations:   I would like to urge upon the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to kindly recommend to

  • Undertake a study on multifaceted and holistic impacts of militarization, such as physical and psychological impacts.
  • Consider the “Impacts of Militarization on Indigenous peoples land and territories”, as the special themes of the Fifteenth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
  • Urge upon Member States of the UN and especially the Government of India to end all forms of militarization in Indigenous Peoples territories and land and towards this,
  • To recognize the political rights and self determined rights of all indigenous peoples as outlined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007.

*(Note: The above mentioned organizations are member organizations of IPMSDL )

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Here are the other two interventions on item #3 (a) and (b) which were not read during the UNPFII 2015 but were submitted to the secretariat.
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Intervention on Agenda Item 3(a): Outcome of the high-level plenary meeting of the General Assembly known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

14th UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

20 April -1 May 2015, UNHQ, New York

20 April 2015

Madame Chair, I am Ms. Pushpa Koijam, a Meitei from Manipur, presenting a statement on behalf of the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur, Land is Life, Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and at the UN and Centre for Organization Research and Education. One of the most outstanding outcome of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples is call on all members States of the United Nations to fully implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 (UNDRIP). Indigenous peoples continues to confront challenges in the implementation of UNDRIP despite these emphasis in the WCIP outcome document.

The Government of India denied presence of indigenous peoples in its territories while also claiming all its one billion plus population in India as indigenous.  Such ambiguous positions hinders implementation of the UNDRIP and led to targeting indigenous peoples to human rights violations.

The provision on right to self determination, that transcends all provisions of UNDRIP is arbitrated in an aggressive form. In Manipur, self determination efforts of indigenous peoples are crushed with brute forms of extensive militarization, with promulgation of emergency laws, such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, which confers with wide powers and immunity to Indian Armed Forces, resulting in extensive human rights violations in Manipur.  More than 1500 fully confirmed cases of Extra Judicial Executions has been documented in Manipur from 1980’s till 2012, as documented by the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and the UN.

The violation of indigenous peoples free, prior and informed consent and right to self determined development, as emphasized in the WCIP declaration, is a serious concern in Manipur. The violation of right to self determination of indigenous peoples in Manipur is lucid clear in the pattern of aggressive push of corporate led development and associated militarism. The ongoing Mapithel dam construction in Manipur, with heavy militarization despite the recommendation of UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples to the Government of India to stop construction is a clear signs of discrimination against indigenous peoples. The proposed 1500 MW Tipaimukh Multipurpose Hydroelectric Power Project has been pursued without the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities. The Tipaimukh dam will submerge more than 27,000 hectares of forest land and will destroy livelihood sources of indigenous communities of Manipur.

There is limited process to ensure accountability of corporate bodies involved in the destruction of peoples land, territories and resources. The National Hydroelectric Power Corporation continues to remain unaccountable for the violations and devastation of Loktak Wetlands in Manipur. The Loktak Project submerged more than 80,000 acres of prime agricultural land and displaced several thousands of indigenous peoples, who still remain without resettlement and rehabilitation.

The ongoing oil and gas exploration and drilling move by Jubilant Energy, a multinational company based in Holland, clearly violates the right to free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples of Manipur. The Government of India granted license to Jubilant Oil and Gas Private Limited, a Dutch company, for exploration and drilling works2 in two oil blocks in Manipur without informing and taking consent of the people of Manipur. Innocent villagers of Tamenglong, Churachandpur, and Jiribam are being duped to sign no-objections letters or NOC for Seismic surveys by Alpha Geo Company, without the people being informed on the impacts.

A serious challenge with such developmental processes in Manipur is the failure to recognize the right to self determination and self determined development of indigenous peoples over their land and resources. Development processes which are purely extractive, destructive and driven by profit motives for corporate bodies and political elites are introduced and exert tremendous pressures on the peoples land, resources, rights and survival. Development processes, incompatible to the traditional values and wishes, aspirations of indigenous communities are aggressively introduced.

The series of policy deregulations and formulation to serve corporate interest is another key concern. The Manipur Loktak Lake Protection, Act, 2006, the Manipur Hydroelectric Policy, 2012, the Manipur Industrial policy 2013, the Manipur State Climate Change Action Plan of 2010, the Manipur Tourism Policy, 2011, the New Land Use Policy, 2014 re some of the recent policies framed to advance corporate interest in Manipur.  The enactment of the Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006 has led to the widespread violence in Loktak wetlands and merciless eviction of indigenous fishing communities.

The extensive militarization associated with aggressive development process in Manipur is part of larger Government move to subdue the right to self determination of indigenous peoples.

Recommendations: I would like to take this privilege to request members of the Permanent Forum to urge upon the Government of India to initiate urgent actions to:

  • Implement the outcome provisions of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples in 2014. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should be fully implemented.
  • To recognize indigenous peoples’ right to self determined development with full recognition of communities’ rights over their land and resources.
  • Enforce moratorium on all mega development projects which failed to take the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous communities of Manipur.
  • End all forms of militarization in Manipur. In particular, the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 should be repealed as a matter of urgency for its facilitation of development aggression.
  • Repeal all policies and acts that foster privatization and corporatization of communities land such as Manipur Hydro Policy, 2012, the Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006
  • Decommission Ithai Barrage of the 105 MW Loktak HEP should be decommissioned as per the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams, 2000.
  • Stop Oil Exploration and Drilling by Jubilant Energy in Manipur.
  • Stop construction of Mapithel dam, the proposed 1500 MW Tipaimukh Dam, Chakpi dam etc.

Thank you very much, Madame Chair.
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14TH SESSION OF UN PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES

Agenda Item 3(b): Comprehensive dialogue with UN Agencies and Funds on Post 2015

UN Headquarter, New York City, 21 April 2015

Dear Madame Chair, I am Pushpa Koijam of the Meitei people of Manipur intervening on behalf of the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur, Land is Life, CSO Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and at the UN and the Center for Organization Research and Education.

The ongoing international process to define sustainable development Goals, financing for development and related indicators, has already caused deep concerns with indigenous peoples worldwide. We would like to express our serious concern that the Seventeen Goals and targets as outlined in the current SDG Working Documents for the post- 2015 Development Agenda has limited reference to indigenous peoples. This is inconsistent to the objectives of current development process to “leave no one behind”.

The overwhelming focus on private sector financing and public private partnership in the pursuance of aggressive development amidst extensive militarization of indigenous territories is a matter of serious concerns. The Mapithel Dam construction, proposed construction of the 1500 MW Tipaimukh Dam and series of mega dams and extractive industries planned in Public Private partnership (PPP) mode in Manipur in India’s North East has already led to violation of indigenous peoples human rights.

Development fostered under the current development architecture has already ruined lives, destroyed futures of many indigenous communities, displaced fisher folks, small scale farmers and women from their survival sources not only in Manipur, but also across communities worldwide. Pursuance of development aggression with intensified militarism will never lead to sustainable development. Manipur witnessed series of development policies formed in the last decade, interestingly in the last few years, to promote corporatization and privatization of community resources, peoples live and future, such as the Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act, 2006, the Manipur Hydroelectric Power Policy 2012 which will ruin indigenous peoples’ lives and future.

In Manipur, the definition of development priorities by International Financial Institutions with State facilitation led to promotion of an enabling environment for private sector/business rather than communities in an atmosphere of exclusivity and lack of transparency and accountability. Such process lacks a full scale impact appraisal, denial of information, misinformation, upsetting the fragile ecological integrity and destroying cultures. The adherence to human rights standards, such as, UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples, 2007, is absent.  These financial institutions and corporate bodies remains unaccountable as states continues to provide full support and protection.

The post 2015 shall include indigenous peoples as a clear target for sustainable development in accordance to their wishes and needs. Indigenous conceptions and framework of ‘Development’ is based on Indigenous values that are broader than financial frameworks and includes decision making, spiritual health, cultural values, and role as ecosystem custodians. The core factors of Indigenous model of development is founded on the principle of self-determination as outlined in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples., where Indigenous peoples determine their own development processes.

The definition of SDGs and means of implementation should ensure recognition of indigenous peoples self determined development over their land and territories, with advancement of their traditional wisdom and knowledge of sustainable management and development of their land and resources.

An overwhelming emphasis on finance as means of implementation may not be appropriate for indigenous communities, which possess myriad survival activities (hunting, gathering, agriculture etc) but yet classified as non economic without realizing its viability and sustainability.

The means of implementation should advance harmony with people and nature and rather than a mechanism to reinforce profits for corporate bodies at the expense of nature and people’s survival.   A sustainable development goals financing need be guided clearly by principles of human rights. All efforts to implement and fund the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must extend beyond a focus purely on money or technology transfer and instead, focus on people led approaches.

The definition of global indicators should include the security of land rights of indigenous peoples, protection of their sustainable livelihoods and traditional knowledge, respect for the free prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples, special measures in addressing the particular needs and circumstances of indigenous peoples such as on health, education, poverty alleviation. A rightful engagement of indigenous peoples with the UN Statistics Commission and the Inter-Agency Expert Group on Indicators in the formulation of global indicators appropriate for indigenous peoples is crucial.

The Private sector financing and public-private partnerships for sustainable development should be accompanied by mandatory transparency and accountability safeguards in accordance with human rights norms putting people’s rights before profit.

Sustainable Development in indigenous peoples territories and land can be best ensured if all development processes is rooted in their wishes and aspirations and towards sustaining their health and sustenance of our mother earth. For indigenous peoples, recognizing their inherent rights over their land and resources and respecting their right to free, prior and informed consent for any development decisions affecting their land and territories, as key indicator, is prerequisite for meaningful sustainable development in their land and territories.

Thank you, Madame Chair

Statement by Cathy Eatock of ARC on Future Work of the Permanent Forum during the 14th session of UNPFII 2015

Statement by Cathy Eatock

Aboriginal Rights Coalition[1]

Fourteenth Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Agenda item 8: Future work of the Permanent Forum

April 29, 2014, New York City (USA)

Madam Chair,

Distinguished members of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and representatives of Indigenous Peoples and Member States.

Firstly, I’d like to congratulate you on your appointment as Chair of the Forum and acknowledge the recent efforts from Forum to better respond to address the critical issues raised at this forum.

Madam Chair,

  • We recommend that the Permanent Forum undertake a study on contemporary Indigenous dispossession within the Pacific region , with reference to Article 10 of the Declaration and broader international legal developments in other regions; and
  • That the Forum consider how Governments may be held to account, as conferred in Article 8.1 and 8.2 a, b, c, d, and e, of the Declaration, through the access of fair judicial mechanisms, to prevent the forced removal of Indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands and to provide adequate redress for current cases of dispossession.

Aboriginal connection to land in Australia has been continuous for millennia, where our lands hold our cultural knowledge and obligations[2].   With that connection comes a duty to care for country as custodians, for our ancestors and for future generations.  As Gingiya Guyula, a Yolgnu Elder says, ‘Strong discipline comes through the spirits of our fathers talking through the lands’.[3]

In 2014 the Federal Government in Australia attempted to transfer responsibility for remote Aboriginal communities to State Governments.  This prompted the Western Australian Premier to threaten to close Aboriginal communities that were not viable financially and where he alleged social dysfunction.[4]  Within remote Australia, there are about 500 Homeland communities with approximately 10,000 people living on country and a further 40,000 people linked to these regions[5].

While health is a key indicator for the Government’s closing the gap strategy in Aboriginal affairs, there is irrefutable evidence that remote Aboriginal homeland communities have significantly superior health outcomes for its residents compared to Aboriginal people living in larger townships[6].  A study in the Northern Territory found the death rate in Homeland communities is 40-50% lower for Aboriginal adults.[7]

These improved health outcomes are attributed to increased cultural practice, social and family support, increased physical activity and a healthier diet that is more reliant on traditional bush foods and reflects lower rates of substance abuse.  Rather a costs benefit analysis suggests that the continuance of homelands may actually save governments money.[8]

 

Aboriginal Homelands have been shown to have lower levels of family violence and substance abuse.  Homelands also provide respite and are used for rehabilitation addressing petrol and alcohol additions and offenders from larger communities.  Homelands also provide economic opportunities  through a thriving traditional art market providing $775.78 million per year or 5.8% to the Northern Territory economy, eco-tourism and natural resource management programs[9], including work in fire management, biodiversity maintenance and environmental protection.[10]

Contemporary dispossession is an issue of concern across the Pacific region.  Across Melanesia Customary land enjoys special protection under Papuan New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Island law.  The vast majority of land remains under customary title, controlled by clans and families and cannot be sold, leased, mortgaged or disposed of except in accordance with custom. [11]

However under pressure from foreign aid donors Melanesian Islands land development and donor programs that enforce land registrations breaking communal title are at odds with Indigenous communities’ interests and their customary systems of land and the traditional economy[12].  The registration of lands, opens them up to leasing, initially enticing, the land is however undervalued and requires compensation to the leaseholder for any improvements to the land at the end of a lease. With low financial incomes these leases effectively revert to the leaseholder, with the customary owner loosing title.[13] Analysis has shown the leasing of lands for cash crops leaves communities financially worse off, compared to their traditional hybrid crops[14].

Further, for customary lands to access Australian and other international and national loan funds they are required to register their lands[15].  Rents are found to cover only 1% of subsistence value and between 1-2% of the value of market gardens.[16] With over 90 percent of land owner businesses failing, the banks then foreclose on registered lands and are able to break up these lands and to sell[17].  Given the high level of illiteracy many people don’t understand formal land titles and are often exploited in mineral rich resource development areas.[18]   The high level of contemporary Dispossession occurring warrants a study to provide clearer direction to governments, aid agencies and Indigenous peoples.

[1] ARC is a member organization of IPMSDL

[2] Pyle, April, (2015) There’s no place like homelands, Amnesty, p2.

[3]  Korff, Jens, (2015) Aboriginal homelands and Outstations, Creative Spirits, p3

[4] Korff, Jens, (2015) Aboriginal homelands and Outstations, Creative Spirits, p8

[5] Mooney, Gavin, (2009) Health and Homelands: Good Value for Money?, Institute for Cultural Survival, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) , MITWATJ Health Aboriginal Corporation, p8

[6] Pyle, April, (2015) There’s no place like homelands, Amnesty, p3.

[7] Korff, Jens, (2015) Aboriginal homelands and Outstations, Creative Spirits, p5

[8] Mooney, Gavin, (2009) Health and Homelands: Good Value for Money?, Institute for Cultural Survival, Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT) , MITWATJ Health Aboriginal Corporation, p3 & p17.

[9]Pyle, April, (2015) There’s no place like homelands, Amnesty, p3.

[10] Korff, Jens, (2015) Aboriginal homelands and Outstations, Creative Spirits, p5

[11] Anderson, Tim, Melanesian land the Impact of Markets and mechanization, Journal of Australian Political Economy, No 68 December 2011, p86.

[12] Anderson, Tim & Lee, Gary, (2009) Understanding Melanesian Customary Land, Chapter 1 in ‘In Defence of Melanesian Customary Land’, Aid-Watch, p3.

[13] Anderson, Tim & Lee, Gary, (2009) Understanding Melanesian Customary Land, Chapter 1 in ‘In Defence of Melanesian Customary Land’, Aid-Watch, p4.

[14] Anderson, Tim, Melanesian land the Impact of Markets and mechanization, Journal of Australian Political Economy, No 68 December 2011, p92.

[15] Anderson, Tim, Melanesian land the Impact of Markets and mechanization, Journal of Australian Political Economy, No 68 December 2011, p90.

[16] Anderson, Tim, Melanesian land the Impact of Markets and mechanization, Journal of Australian Political Economy, No 68 December 2011, p96.

[17] [17] Anderson, Tim & Lee, Gary, (2009) Understanding Melanesian Customary Land, Chapter 1 in ‘In Defence of Melanesian Customary Land’, Aid-Watch, p6.

[18] Anderson, Tim, Melanesian land the Impact of Markets and mechanization, Journal of Australian Political Economy, No 68 December 2011, p89.

Announcement on the 4th National Congress of KAMP

Dear Partners and Friends,

We successfully concluded our 4th National Congress last March 3-5, 2015, with the theme “Intensify our struggle for our ancestral land and resources. Strengthen KAMP as the national alliance of indigenous peoples.” We would want to share with you the highlights of our congress:

1.)    New name, from KAMP to KATRIBU

The Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, also known as KAMP, has changed its name to KATRIBU Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas or KATRIBU (National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines).

The KAMP congress has united to change its name to KATRIBU for the following reasons:

  • The IPs and communities can easily associate with KATRIBU, a Filipino term which means a fellow member of the tribe; and
  • The general public can easily identify this name as an indigenous group

2.)    New Set of Officers

The congress selected a new set of officers, and united on the need for every member to take part in the program of the alliance. The new set of officers accepted the challenge of their appointment and mandate.

  1. National Convenors:

– Mr. Dulphing Ogan, Secretary General of KALUMARAN (Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao or Strength of the Lumad in Mindanao), and

– Mr. Windel Bolinget, Chairperson of CPA (Cordillera People’s Alliance)

  1. Secretary General:

Ms. Pya Macliing Malayao

  1. International Solidarity Officer

Ms. Beverly Longid

  1. The newly-constituted National Council of Leaders (NCOL) is composed of 20 leaders representing the allied organizations, which are 10 regional organizations, 1 provincial organization, 1 island-wide organization and 1 sectoral women’s network.

3.)    Highlights:

The 4th Congress started with a colorful and militant protest at the Mendiola gate (near the President’s Office) on the 20th anniversary of the Philippine Mining Act of 1995.

The issues and situation of the indigenous peoples and the Philippine society were discussed and analyzed. Reports from the allied organizations were received and discussed.

The history of KAMP was presented and valuable lessons were drawn. A continuing challenge to practice these lessons was accepted by the delegates. The synthesis of the reports presented that KATRIBU is the most consolidated and widest alliance of indigenous peoples in the Philippines. To adapt to the current situation of the communities and the IP organizations, the alliance’s constitution was amended and ratified. The congress affirmed on the thrust and the direction of the alliance for the next three years. Resolutions on different issues that the communities encounter as indigenous peoples and as Filipino people were made.

Based on these, the congress has set a 3-year general program and steps to further strengthen and place KATRIBU in the national political arena.

On the last day, the IPs and IP rights advocates gathered through the Sandugo (Blood Pact) Solidarity Camp to seal and re-affirm the commitment for the defense of the collective rights to ancestral lands and self-determination.

KATRIBU remains steadfast in its mandate to defend indigenous peoples’ rights to land, life and self-determination. The success of the Congress is testament to our commitment. We hope that you are with us as we strengthen the organization towards furthering the struggle.

For KATRIBU,

Pya Macliing Malayao

Secretary General

Kalipunan ng Mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU)
National Alliance of Indigenous Peoples Organizations in the Philippines
Room 304 NCCP Building, 879 EDSA, West Triangle, Quezon City
(02) 412-5340
www.katutubongmamamayan.org

KATRIBU is the largest alliance of indigenous peoples in the Philippines advancing the rights of indigenous peoples to ancestral lands and to self-determination.

*(Katribu is a member-organization of IPMSDL and AIPNEE)

IPMSDL side events on UNPFII 2015

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Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) in partnership with the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness (CPDE) held a two-part series open workshop on “Forming a Rights-Based Policy on Indigenous Peoples’ Self-Determined and Sustainable Development.” The first part on Friday, April 24th from 1:15pm to 2:45pm at the Amartya Sen Room, 10th floor UNDP Building, 304 45th Street, while the second part on Saturday, April 25th from 10:00am to 12:00nn at UN Church Center, 8th floor.

These formed part of the side events in the recently held 14th Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) in New York from 20 April to 01 May, 2015.

The said side-event was an open workshop to gather inputs (ideas, proposals, comments, etc.) to the development of a Policy Paper on Indigenous Peoples and Development. The general program of the side event was an introduction and rationale of the open workshop and the said policy paper, discussion of 3-5 questions in breakout groups that elicited inputs from the participants, synthesis of the breakout groups and an introduction to the IPMSDL.

Participants to the workshops asserted that indigenous concept of development is founded on the principle of self-determination, as asserted in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), where Indigenous Peoples “freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” They also raised common issues and concerns on control and ownership over Indigenous Peoples lands and territories, on physical violence and rape of women and girls, on threats to life and security, and on health arising from corporate activities such as mining, energy, tourism and other corporate schemes.

side event pic

The IPMSDL shall further develop the Policy paper through a series of regional and global consultative workshops within the year.

In solidarity, while in New York, it also joined the global protests to stop the execution of Mary Jane Veloso, a former Filipino overseas worker that an Indonesia court sentenced to death by firing squad because of drug smuggling. The IPMSDL calls for a Stop to Human Trafficking. Indigenous Peoples are also victims of this global crime. On April 29, President Widodo of Indonesia granted a temporary reprieve to allow a reinvestigation of the case.

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Statement by Neingulo Krome, Secretary General of NPMHR during the 14th Session of the UNPFII

Statement made by Neingulo Krome, Secretary General of the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights during the 14th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues held at the United Nations Headquarters at New York on April 30, 2015.

 

Madam Chair, distinguished members of the Permanent Forum, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

I bring warm greetings from Kohima, the capital city of Nagaland, where the last battle of World War II was fought and which was followed by the formation of the United Nations to save humankind from the “scourge of war”. I make this reference as a reminder because there is still something worse than war that is prevailing in this part of the world which the United Nations is aware of, but unable to do much to correct the situation. When I say this, I am talking about the prevalence of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which was mentioned a couple of time last Friday by some delegates. This Act gives sweeping powers to the Security Forces to “shoot to kill” any person and “arrest without warrant” any person, with full impunity in the North Eastern states of India and Jammu & Kashmir which is also now one of the most debated issues amongst various sections of people in India for several years now.

Against the backdrop of the imposition of this AFSPA in 1958 and the subsequent rampant and heinous violations of human rights committed on Nagas by Indian Security Forces with full impunity, the Naga Peoples Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR) filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court of India in 1982, challenging the very Constitutional validity of this act which the Supreme Court took up for hearing only after 15 years in July 1997. However, after hearing the petition and arguing over the appeal for the repealing of this Act for two full weeks, the Supreme Court of India upheld the Act, saying “the Act in itself is good”.

Madam Chair, the debate has now gone far beyond the confines of the Court of Laws and people from all walks of life in India are now debating over this including in the print and electronic media. Some State Governments have also openly sounded their serious concerns and have suggested the lifting of this Draconian law. Even some of the Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations have visited some of the AFSPA affected areas and strongly recommended for the repeal of this laws which has already been highlighted in this forum during the 11th Session in May 2012. In fact, owing to many compelling reasons from every angle, the Government of India too set up an Inquiry Committee called the Jeevan Reddy Committee in 2004 which submitted its report in 2005, strongly recommending for the repealing of this Act with a conclusion that the Act “for whatever reason, has become a symbol of oppression, an object of hate and an instrument of discrimination and high-handedness. It added that a procedure “established by Law” that claims to be fair, just and reasonable should not have become a symbol of oppression”.

Therefore, without much more Ado, I take this opportunity to urge the Permanent Forum to take cognizance of this issue and prevail upon the Government of India to repeal this Act to make this world more humane, which is already under such a mess when we look at the level of violence and intolerance that is strangulating this Global Village. By doing this, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will be doing a great favour to India in particular as it is caught in between choosing the popular demand for lifting this Act which will be going by the dictates of its own conscience and the resistance of a powerful few to remove the Act. And I wish to conclude this statement by quoting the writings on the epitaph of the fallen soldiers of   World War II at the Kohima War Cemetery which says; “When you go home tell them of us and say for your tomorrow. We gave our today” and to say let us at least honour their prayer and give our present and upcoming generation a better world to live in and not like the ones we and the elder generations had to live through.

            Thank You Madam Chair.

*(Note: NPMHR is a member organization of IPMSDL)

Joint intervention of CPA, BAI, APIYN, CRAM, CHCRM and the UN, IPMSDL, and Land is Life on Intervention on Future Work of the Permanent Forum

14TH SESSION OF THE UN PERMANENT FORUM ON INDIGENOUS ISSUES

20 APRL – 1 MAY 2015, UN HQ, NEW YORK

Agenda Item 8:  Intervention on Future Work of the Permanent Forum

 

Presented by: Sarah Dekdeken, Cordillera Peoples Alliance

 

Thank you Madame Chair. This is a joint intervention of the Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network, Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Centre for Research and Advocacy – Manipur, Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and the UN, Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation, and Land is Life.

Indigenous people’s right to self determination, a fundamental right that transcends all provisions of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other major International Human Rights agreements, is increasingly being arbitrated in an aggressive form. In the case of Manipur and the Cordillera, Philippines, self determination efforts of indigenous peoples are crushed with brute forms of extensive militarization, sanctioned by the promulgation of State laws and policies such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 in Manipur and the counter-insurgency policy Operation Plan Bayanihan in the Philippines, which derogate the fundamental non-derogable human rights of indigenous peoples.

Indigenous communities especially in Asia have long been suffering from the impact of militarization, which ranges from direct civilian killings to land grabbing, facilitating development onslaught, economic dislocation and other forms of human rights violations and violations to our collective rights, all converging in reinforcing the denial of our right to self determination as indigenous peoples.

States militarize our communities to subdue self-determination movements and to implement extractive industries and other unsustainable development projects that are all resulting in worsening land conflicts and numerous human rights violations. Indigenous territories are being used for military activities which constitutes direct violations of State laws and the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Land grabbing is carried out also for militarization purposes. Women, youth and children are not spared, with the countless indigenous women and children who fell victim of rape and other sexual abuses by State military members.

Militarization also continues to threaten our economic survival. Last year (2014), militarization resulted in the forcible evacuation of 1,238 families of Lumad indigenous peoples in the Philippines. The continuing military operations in the Cordillera region disrupts indigenous people’s economic activities. In January this year, Manipur communities protested the restrictions imposed by Assam Rifles on the daily economic activities of villagers around the Loktak Lake in Manipur.

Militarization also targets educational facilities, and desecrate cultural and historical sites. From 2011-2014, 146 schools were under attack by State military and paramilitary groups in the Lumad communities in the Philippines. In Manipur, there has been a longstanding demand from the students of Manipur University to shift the Assam Rifles currently occupying the Langthabal Hills, an important historical and cultural heritage site, located within the university premises.

Militarization has disturbed the profound relationships of Indigenous peoples with their lands and territories, and military activities are taking place without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of indigenous communities. This has enourmous social and cultural impacts, and also posing threats to the physical integrity, identity and survival of indigenous peoples.

State Sponsored Infusion of Non Indigenous Population in Indigenous Peoples Territories, and Paramilitary Groups

One of the serious challenges confronting indigenous peoples worldwide is the State sponsored infusion of non indigenous population in indigenous territories, which has far reaching implications to their survival and existence as peoples. In Manipur, unregulated entry of non-indigenous populations has led to land alienation, economic subjugation, political repression, loss of indigenous culture and traditional, conflict and other social impacts. Deliberate transfer of non indigenous population is also deliberately facilitated to weaken indigenous peoples’ movement for their rights.

In the Philippines, further exacerbating the problems of militarization within indigenous areas are operations of the government’s paramilitary group, and tribal paramilitary groups that are organized by the State military among indigenous peoples. Thirteen cases of extrajudicial killings from July 2010 up to December 2014 are attributed to the operations of paramilitary groups.

We have been raising our concerns on militarization of indigenous communities to our respective governments, intergovernmental agencies, and UN bodies and mechanisms including the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. However, instead of being addressed, the militarization of indigenous communities is worsening. We feel that the issue of militarization of indigenous communities must be given further attention in the future work of the Permanent Forum. Hence, we forward the following recommendations to the Permanent Forum:

  • For the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to undertake a study on multifaceted and holistic impacts of militarization, such as physical and psychological impacts
  • Consider Militarization in indigenous peoples land and territories as one of the Themes of the Fifteenth (15th) Session of PFII
  • Commission a study on the impacts of the infusion of non indigenous peoples and the role of State paramilitary groups in indigenous people’s territories

Thank you for your attention.

*(The above mentioned organizations are partner-member organizations of IPMSDL)

Joint intervention of CPA, BAI, APIYN, CRAM, CHCRM and the UN, IPMSDL, and Land is Life, Bhaiya Ram Munda Foundation on Human Rights: Implementation of the UNDRIP during the 14th session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Fourteenth Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

20 April – 1 May 2015, UN Headquarters, New York City

Agenda 7 (c) Human Rights: Implementation of the UNDRIP

Presented by: Sarah Dekdeken, Cordillera Peoples Alliance

 

Thank you madame Chair. Good morning everyone! This is a joint statement of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance, BAI national alliance of indigenous women in the Philippines, Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network, Centre for Research and Advocacy – Manipur, Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights in Manipur and the UN, Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation, and Land is Life. Bhaiya Ram Munda Foundation, Jhrakhand. India

Subjecting indigenous peoples to extreme forms of human rights violations and violation of our right to self determination constitute a direct violation of  the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Indigenous communities specifically in the Cordillera, Philippines and Manipur, Jharkhand, India continue to be afflicted with human rights  violations of  our right to self determination by our respective governments. Despite being signatories to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, our governments are implementing State laws and policies that are inconsistent with the Declaration, thereby worsening the non-recognition and lack of respect to our inherent right as Indigenous Peoples.

In the Philippines, the implementation of the State counter-insurgency policy Operation Plan Bayanihan  worsens the current  militarization of our communities, political repression and vilification of indigenous activists and organizations, extrajudicial killings and other forms of human rights violations, with impunity. One indigenous human rights defender and leader is  extrajudicially killed every month since Benigno Aquino III assumed Presidency in 2010. Justice has not been served to any of these cases. Early this year (2015), more leaders and members of the Ifugao Peasant Movement in the Cordillera are facing threats through political vilification and harassment, which may lead to more cases of extrajudicial killings.

In Manipur, the imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA) and other emergency security legislations has blatantly violated non-derogable rights, primarily the “Right to Life” as provided for by article 4 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Instead of respecting indigenous peoples’ prolonged call for the repeal of this law, the government of India resorted to further promulgation of the controversial piece of legislations in the Arunachal Pradesh, by an order dated 27 March 2015.

We also continue to suffer from countless violations of our collective human rights over our lands, territories and resources, and to our right to self determination due to worsening development aggression. Governments and corporations pursue large infrastructure projects, corporate mining, mega-dams and other energy projects  without respecting indigenous peoples’ rights as enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other international declarations and agreements.

In the Cordillera, more than 66% of our total land area remains covered with various applications for mining and energy projects, often approved in violation of our right to free, prior and informed consent. Chevron pursues its geothermal energy projects in the Cordillera, Philippines despite the affected communities’ non-consent to the project. The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) of the Philippines continues to manipulate the Free Prior and Informed Consent process in its projects in the region, including the Freeport McMoran Makilala mining project in Kalinga province. More mining and energy projects will only lead to our ethnocide.

The pursuance of India’s Look East Policy, infrastructure developments by Asian Development Bank and the World Bank for trade facilitation also led to forced conscription of indigenous peoples land. This policy only strengthens Indian corporate control over the markets in Southeast Asia.

In this light, we  reiterate the following recommendations to the Permanent Forum:

 

  • Urge the Philippine and Indian governments for the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through a clear national program formulated with our full ad effective participation. Such national program should respect indigenous people’s right to self-determination and to Free Prior and Informed Consent; recognize our inherent rights to development that address the particular needs, situation and aspirations of Indigenous Peoples. Any forced and arbitrary development goes against the principles of rights and sustainability.
  • Call on the governments of the Philippines and India to review State laws and policies, and repeal those that are inconsistent with the Declaration such as the Philippine Mining Act and the Manipur Loktak Lake Protection Act, including Operation Plan Bayanihan and the 1958 Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
  • Support the call of Indigenous Peoples to stop the involvement of state military and police forces in the implementation and operation of development projects; and stop using state security forces to protect the interest of large-scale extractive industries.

Thank you.

*(The above mentioned organizations are partner and member organizations of IPMSDL)

Statement by IOSDE on “Dialogue on an optional protocol to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Fourteenth Session
New York, 20 April – 1 May 2015

Item 5: Half-day discussion on the expert group meeting on the theme “Dialogue on an optional protocol to the
United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”
28 April 2015

Statement made by India Reed Bowers for International Organization for Self-Determination and Equality
(IOSDE)
IOSDE honors the traditional territories of the Lenape Nation, Onondaga Peoples and all Indigenous Peoples here today.

IOSDE is concerned that over the many years of submissions and interventions at the UNPFII from Indigenous Peoples concerning mass atrocities against their Peoples, families and communities and thus humanity through
State- and business-initiated torture, murder, militarization, criminalization and systematic devastation the
Permanent Forum and UN system still refer to such horrors as human rights violations only. The concern is that
Indigenous victims’ submissions are not being outwardly identified as reporting atrocities also in the context of
international crimes and violations of international criminal law from a legal and/or victim-based advocacy
perspective and analysis.

Yes, the United Nations is a Human Rights institution- however, the UN was founded with the primary goal and commitment of the world community stop genocide from ever happening again after the holocaust and WW2. In
the context of Indigenous Peoples, is the UN actually doing this, and can we have this discussion if we are going
to talk about a rights violation mechanism for Indigenous Peoples and the UNDRIP? What is the plan for how a
UNDRIP complaint or review mechanism will address serious crimes against humanity and other crimes against
peoples such as genocide, such as those we hear testimonials of here every year at the UNPFII, if reporting to the
Human Rights Council? And in such a mechanism, where will claims of right to decolonize as a form of self-
determination go within the UN system?

UNDRIP Article 7(2) reads: “Indigenous peoples have the collective right to live in freedom, peace and security as distinct peoples and shall not be subjected to any act of genocide”. As someone trained at the Master’s level
in both international human rights law and international criminal law with the purpose of furthering Indigenous
Rights and participating in ending the atrocities happening to Indigenous Peoples, I am concerned by the lack of
presence, analysis, accessibility to and participation at the Permanent Forum and all other UN Indigenous events,
procedures and mechanisms of the UN agency of the Office of the Special Advisers of the Prevention of
Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect.

IOSDE welcomes the initiative of the Permanent Forum to have sent the WCIP follow-up questionnaire to UN agencies as a way to create dialogue with said agencies on follow-up to, in general, implementation of
Indigenous Rights. IOSDE also gratefully welcomes the transparency and willingness of the Office of the
Prevention of Genocide to have completed such a questionnaire. However, upon reviewing the Office of
Genocide’s responses, it is clear that the Office of the Prevention of Genocide must not only urgently and
drastically build its capacity to immediately and thoroughly analyze the situations of Indigenous Peoples around
the world collectively and per-peoples in the context of genocide. It is also clear to all of us who have been in
this movement for decades living and breathing the struggle that such an analysis needs to happen both in
accordance with current international criminal law, including restorative justice, and the testimonials of the
victims themselves, including within the context of testimonials concerning cultural genocide and statements
delivered at the UN at mechanisms such as the Permanent Forum, which, essentially, could have been, say, a
tribunal, including in the form of restorative justice, concerning the crimes of humanity and genocide occurring
against Indigenous Peoples.

Why are we being led to believe somehow that the legal agenda of the United Nations was and thus should now be business and “development”, and not the prevention of genocide and the obtaining of the right of self-
determination of Peoples, as it was at its founding as an institution?

IOSDE welcomes and further recommends the submission given to the forum by the UN agency the IDLO,
concerning development within UN of rule of law, speaking of informal and legal justice systems of Indigenous
Peoples working on the ground and incorporating Indigenous justice systems. IOSDE recommends the Forum
firmly engage the Trusteeship Council (via ECOSOC), in the context of Indigenous Peoples rights to
decolonization and self-determination, and Office of the Prevention of Genocide in incorporating Indigenous
voice and analysis of the world-wide Indigenous situation, with a particular eye to the protection of traditional
Indigenous religions, healing, lands and leadership as well as human life security itself and living culture in these
regards.

IOSDE recommends the Forum members and additional persons with an eye for criminal law as well as spiritual and traditional elders and leaders focus together on the massive database of victims testimonials in what
is called the UNPFII Papersmart and UN archives, and processes these testimonials with the seriousness that they
deserve with an eye to both criminal and human rights law, empowering the content and contributors of the
statements themselves rather treating them as means to dialogues and thus money flow and empowerment for a
few universities, states or designated experts.

In the spirit of the UNDRIP and participating in the ending of cultural genocide, IOSDE recommends the Forum also ask Indigenous community-based spiritual leaders and elders how to develop the UN system, and not just those who attend these sessions or have UN access, and allow those leaders to be deemed experts and
governance if they are such in their communities and amongst their Peoples.

IOSDE also recommends, in the spirit of the UNDRIP, that UN positions concerning Indigenous Peoples are effective and inclusive in prioritizing the voice and complaints of the Peoples themselves as well as their due
space in space and time at the UN, and undergo processes of selection that are fair, transparent and open,
maintaining also representation from spiritual leaders and elders who hold the sacred goals this movement was
built upon and professes. In this way, perhaps even the UN can itself not participate in the cultural genocide of
Indigenous Peoples, including cultures of traditional Indigenous values and religions.

*(Note: IOSDE is a member organization of IPMSDL)

Appeal for Support for Indigenous Peoples Affected by the Earthquake in Nepal

NEPAL: Urgent Appeal for Support for Indigenous Peoples Affected by the Earthquake

28 April 2015

A magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday has caused more than 5,000 deaths and more than 10,000 people injured, as per the country’s Emergency Operation Centre on Tuesday.  The death toll is rising exponentially by the day as the government rescue efforts are reaching slowly to the areas hardest hit by the earthquake.

The United Nations estimates that as many as eight million people have had their lives disrupted by the earthquake, adding that more than 1.4 million people need food assistance, including 750,000 who live near the quake’s epicentre in poor quality housing. Tens of thousands are thought to have been left homeless.

Millions continue to wait for help while relief efforts have begun to reach the most affected areas – mostly indigenous populated – sluggishly where the earthquake has flattened many villages entirely. Food and medical supplies are running low while risks loom large for health epidemic as a result of lack of clean drinking water and sanitation in temporary open shelters.

Many of those who lost their loved ones, homes and livelihoods are indigenous peoples. It is with this that Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) in close coordination with its members and partners in Nepal is issuing this urgent appeal for support for the affected indigenous peoples in Nepal.

AIPP expresses its concern to the adoption of one door policy by the Government of Nepal which directs all the funds to Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund since it may restrict the outreach of the relief assistance to the affected Indigenous Groups in the country.

The Indigenous Peoples Campaign for the Earthquake Victims was recently launched by the members and partners in Nepal for relief and rehabilitation support for affected indigenous communities. This campaign is coordinated by the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) in collaboration with various indigenous peoples organizations in Nepal.

The Lawyers Association for the Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) is also launching a similar campaign to support affected indigenous communities they are working with.

 

For cash contributions:

  • To support the Indigenous Peoples Campaign for the Earthquake Victims

Bank Account Name: Nagendra /Kushum/Naresh/Gyanendra

Account Number: 00210062171019

Bank Name and Branch Address: Civil Bank Limited

Swift Code: CIVLNPKA

For material support, we seek the following:

  • Food supplies (rice, canned goods preferably sardines or tuna, biscuits, sugar,
    salt, spices, cooking oil, boiled eggs, dried fish)
  • Bottled drinking water and water purifiers
  • Gas for generators, Fuel for vehicles
  • Clothing
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping mats
  • New underwear and new/used clothes
  • Toiletries (soap)
  • Cooking pot
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Tents
  • Laundry soap
  • Medicines (Paracetamol, pain relievers, anti worm (mebendazole), antacid, antibiotics such as amoxicillin, Cotrimoxazole andcloxaxillin;  elastic bandages, gauze,  hydrogen peroxide and betadine)

Food supplies will also be used for food-for-work programmes in road clearing and in the repair and rehabilitation of communities and damaged livelihood.

 

Thank you very much and we look forward to your support not only in this trying times that our indigenous brothers and sisters in Nepal are experiencing but also in our continuing struggle for the recognition, respect and protection of indigenous peoples rights and welfare in the region.

Sincerely,

Ms. Joan Carling

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Brief note on the 25 April 2015 earthquake in Nepal and its effect on Indigenous Population

Information sourced out from various sources, Ministry of Home Affairs, daily situation reports of un.org.np, newspaper, websites, etc.

Out of 75 districts, 30 districts in Nepal have been affected with the earthquake on 25 April 2015.  The hard hit districts are Gorkha (epicenter of the earthquake), Lamjung (initially reported as the epicenter), Dhadhing, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk, Kavre, Nuwakot, Dolakha, Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur and Ramechhap.  All of these districts are populated by various indigenous groups.

There has been no verified information received so far on the actual number of casualties and the situation in Lamjung despite of it being the epicenter of the earthquake. Lamjung has a high population of Gurungs.

Two villages of Gorkha, Barpark and Larpark have been totally flattened out.  While the initiatives for Barpark seem to have started, nothing has been possible for Larpark since the relief helicopters could not land.  The pictures shared in tweets show totally flattened out entire village and the badly damaged hills. Larpark is notably a Gurung village.  Baburam Bhattarai, former PM of Nepal has pointed out for the need of small helicopters to operate in this area to that of large ones currently deployed by the Indian Army.

Very less is known about Rasuwa and Lamjung.  The helicopter survey shows all washed out village and completely ruined Langtang National park where the number of trekkers are either stranded or not have survived.  Exact number of casualties is not verified and known. This district is home to Tamang, Gurungs and Sherpa indigenous community.

As of 4 May afternoon, the official information on the death as twitted by the Earthquake-Nepal (twitter handle of Ministry of Home Affairs) is reported to be 7365 dead and 14366 injured.  Disaggregated data is unavailable since 28 April 2015.  Till then the available district wise data has ben as follows:

875 deaths and 279 injured in Sindhupalchowk.  Sindhupalchowk has population of Tamang, Majhi, Sherpa, Thami, Hyolmo, and Newars. In Dolakha, 808 deaths and 2400.  Around 300 yarshagumba pickers are reportedly missing in the upper Dolakha valley.  Dolakha has the population of Surel, Jirel, Thami groups.  Kathmandu has 808 deaths and 2400 injuries, while in Bhaktapur  there has been equal number of 232 deaths and injuries.

There has been no information on the death/injuries or the situation report on other districts.  The media and the citizens-led relief initiatives seem to be concentrating on Kathmandu and Gorkha.

The earthquake has destroyed the four important UNESCO cultural heritage sites of Nepal which was important historical record of the Indigenous population in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur.  They used to hold significant role in the practice of cultural rituals too.

Nepal Government has announced the relief of NPR40,000/- per dead member to the family.