Amazonian Women urge China not to explore oil in Ecuador

The Curaray River and other locations in the state of Pastaza are threatened by oil exploitation

The Curaray River and other locations in the state of Pastaza are threatened by oil exploitation

 

As part of the 15th Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, Land is Life and our allies will alert the UN to denounce the threat on human rights in Indigenous territories due to the oil contracts signed in January between the Ecuadorian government and Chinese oil corporation Andes Petroleum.

In a letter to the Permanente Representative of China to United Nations, Liu Jieyi, Land is Lifeallies Gloria Ushigua (President of Ashiñwaka) and Alicia Cahuiya (Vice-president of NAWE) urge China’s ambassador to recommend to the state-run Chinese company Andes Petroleum not to enter their ancestral territories, as the communities have not been properly consulted nor given formal agreement.

The two Indigenous leaders will also present evidences of the multiple official Indigenous declarations that testify the rejection of extractive industries like oil exploitation in their territories.

Land is Life is organizing an event to raise awareness on the current situation of the Amazonian Women against extractive industries in Ecuador that will be led by Gloria Ushigua and Alicia Cahuiya with the support of Indigenous leaders from Asia, Africa and North America on

You can find a copy of the letter to the Permanente Representative of China to United Nations in here in EnglishSpanish and Chinese.

Date and Time: Wednesday 11 May from 1:15 pm - 2:30 pm

Location: Conference Room D, UNHQ building

Amazonian Women of Ecuador Defend their Rights

Puyo, Ecuador — International Women's Day was celebrated with cultural diversity and the struggle for Indigenous peoples’ self-determination. 

Hundreds of Indigenous women, as representatives of Indigenous peoples from the Amazon, staged a demonstration in defense of their culture and their territories.  The Sapara, Waorani, Sarayaku, Pacayaku, Kichwa, Shuar, Achuar, Shiwiar peoples were present in the streets of the city of Puyo on the occasion of a march being carried out by Amazonian women where they reclaimed their right to self-determination and rejected oil and mining operations.

Most of the women came from faraway places, traveling for days in canoes and in the rain. However, their decision to bring the message from their communities to the rest of the world led to the organization of an event to celebrate women’s participation in the struggle to maintain their culture and territory.

Alicia Cahuiya, a Waorani peoples' representative said:

Governments have not respected our territory or our consent.  We do not agree with the extraction of oil in the Yasuni. They continue to open roads and oil wells that destroy and pollute our territory.  Many indigenous Waorani are affected, and are changing their way of life because of the presence of companies.  We have said many times that we do not want any more oil, respect our traditional life in the forest.  But they never listen to us.  Today we are here to tell the world that we are going to defend ourselves as our grandparents did.

Women from the Sapara nation echoed this sentiment, saying that:

The territory we have is what our parents and grandparents left us, they defended themselves with their struggle and now it is our time to do it….We will not allow anyone to negotiate with our lands, we are not going to allow oil activities.

It was a March 8th in favor of cultural diversity, self-determination, the right to territory and to indigenous peoples’ human rights. 

Land is Life Convenes in Otavalo, Ecuador

Kichwa leaders Carmen Lozano and Josefina Lema share current Opportunities and challenges facing their communities 

Kichwa leaders Carmen Lozano and Josefina Lema share current Opportunities and challenges facing their communities 

In January 2016, through generous support from the Wallace Global Fund along with Rainforest Action Network, Swift Foundation and The Christensen Fund, Land is Life completed the first ever convening of our global staff and grassroots Indigenous partners. This was an intense three-day working session in Otavalo, Ecuador designed to reflect on Land is Life's mission and milestones, discuss programmatic priorities and challenges and set a strategic course that will guide and inspire its progress towards Indigenous approaches to protecting rights, the environment, biodiversity and traditional knowledge and cultures.

REgional Coordinator Piya Malayao from the philippines and Waorani leader Alicia Cahuiya at the land is life summit in otavalo, ecuador

REgional Coordinator Piya Malayao from the philippines and Waorani leader Alicia Cahuiya at the land is life summit in otavalo, ecuador

The timing for this meeting was long overdue: for the past 25 years, Land is Life has built a broad, trusted network of Indigenous leaders, organizations, and communities that is defined by solidarity, transparency and a shared vision of the future. Despite this powerful and unique achievement, and the hundreds of grassroots causes that we have supported, the overall health and sustainability of the organization has at times been threatened. Since our leadership transition in late 2013, we have worked to assemble a small support team in New York to build institutional systems, financial controls and programming protocols required for a healthy and sustainable organization. Four part-time Regional Coordinators also joined the team to facilitate a new approach to Indigenous-led grassroots support that responds nimbly to the ever changing needs and opportunities of Indigenous communities. This growth was essential to not only maintain our broad, trusted network, but also to grow and utilize its full potential.

The Summit in Otavalo was a timely and invaluable opportunity to review these recent organizational changes, strengthen and formalize roles of team members and grassroots partners and generate momentum to move Land is Life towards a sustainable and effective future. Possibly the most important theme that arose in Otavalo is that Land is Life is much more than a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization; it is a global movement whose mission and mandate go well beyond those of traditional charitable organizations. The lessons learned and strategy decisions represented the collective vision of Land is Life’s global team and partners and will be used as a key guide for organization in the coming months and years.

For more photos, please visit the portfolio of Scott Fitzmorris, our funding partner from Wallace Global Fund who helped support the summit.

 

URGENT APPEAL FOR SUPPORT FOR THE VICTIMS OF TYPHOON LANDO

SITUATION

Typhoon Lando (international name Koppu) made landfall in the Province of Aurora on October 18 and packed maximum sustained winds of up to 175 kph. It is the latest strong typhoon to hit the northern part of the Philippines which is still recovering from the impacts of Typhoon Ineng (Goni) last August 2015. The typhoon crossed the regions of Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Ilocos and portions of Cental Luzon, sweeping across towns and leaving widespread destruction in its wake.

In the Cordillera Region, the typhoon brought strong winds and heavy rains. In Baguio City and Benguet alone, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) recorded a total of 736 millimeters (mm) of rains during the 24-hour period from 8 AM Monday to 8 AM Tuesday which is equivalent to the rainfall measurement of one month. The winds and rains triggered floods and landslides, and left 19 persons dead, 25 injured and 5 persons still missing as of October 21, 2015. Lando also wreaked havoc on livelihood, properties, infrastructures, and agriculture, with damages amounting to billions of pesos and affecting approximately 300,000 persons.

Read the full report here.

Dialogues for Justice, the Public Interest, and the Common Good: From the Margins and the Frontlines

Following the fanfare of the past week’s global leaders’ summit on development, Land is Life collaborated with the CSO Partnership for Development Effectiveness, IBON International, International Migrants Alliance, NGO Mining Working Group, The General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, and The Migrant Center at the Church of Saint Francis of Assissi in hosting the “Dialogues for Justice, the Public Interest, and the Common Good: From the Margins and the Frontlines” event.


The event was a place for those most marginalized worldwide to voice their experience suffering from the effects of the current unjust and unsustainable global mode of development. The need for such a space was clearly evident even during the opening session; Eni Lestari, an Indonesian migrant domestic worker in Hong Kong, underlined the powerlessness many of those on the frontlines experience with high-level talks and processes. As a representative with the International Migrants Alliance, she had hoped to share her story at the United Nations but was unable to do so.

Octo Mote, West Papuan leader and Land is Life partner, discusses the harsh realities faced by West Papuans due to extractive activities and illegal land grabs.  

Octo Mote, West Papuan leader and Land is Life partner, discusses the harsh realities faced by West Papuans due to extractive activities and illegal land grabs.  

The Dialogues event following the summit provided an area for those most vulnerable to explain how the current system has affected them, and propose effective solutions. Land is Life Indigenous leaders and partners from around the world joined us in New York City to discuss major issues threatening the livelihoods of those most threatened around the world. West Papuan leader Octo Mote spoke of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what such goals signal for those on the ground. He emphasized the weak protection for West Papuans under current Indonesian laws and the threats faced by the West Papuan populations due to mining, extractive activities, and land-grabs.  Furthermore, he described how the language and approach of the talks and activity (such as the touted public-private partnerships) surrounding the Sustainable Development Goals do not serve to address such situations.

The event also involved different breakout sessions on various topics related to the newly formed Sustainable Development Goals. Jiten Yumnan, a Meitei of Manipur, India, the South Asia Regional Coordinator for Land is Life and Secretary of the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur, led a session on land, water, and resource grabbing. Case studies from around the world demonstrated the negative impacts due to government and corporate activities surrounding illegal grabbing of land, water, and natural resources, and the subsequent pattern of resource commodification.


Furthermore, the discussion addressed how to achieve constructive action given the current global context. Such solutions included collaborative bottom-up implementation efforts, along with the need for continued and increased pressure on leaders around the world representing those most vulnerable and marginalized. Other proposed solutions involved social media as a tool to give amplified voice to those on the frontlines.

Jiten Yuman leads a break-out session on land, water, and resource grabbing. 

Jiten Yuman leads a break-out session on land, water, and resource grabbing. 

Along with these efforts, it was also determined as vital to improve access to education – and not just mainstreamed education – especially for the global youth, as their potential to contribute to broader social justice and international solidarity movements is great. Education enables more people to understand and begin to actively defend their rights, consequently promoting self-determination of all peoples, especially Indigenous peoples.

As we continue pushing for a shift in economic and development models, it is fundamental that we maintain local and traditional knowledge at the heart of our efforts and vision.

Environmental activist and anti-globalization author Vandana Shiva delivering her keynote message for Dialogues for Justice, Public Interest, and the Common Good, scheduled for Monday, September 28, 2015, 10am-6pm at St. Francis of Assisi Church (135 West 31st Street in Manhattan).

Un Llamado de las Mujeres Saparas

Para todo el pueblo ecuatoriano,

Presente,

Mi nombre es Jauneka Ushigua, vengo de la comunidad sápara de Llanchamacocha ubicada en la Provincia de Pastaza, en el interior de la selva amazónica. Para llegar aquí, con mi hijo de cinco años y mi esposo, tuvimos que esperar durante tres días que haya pequeños espacios en avionetas, sino serían tres días de caminata por el interior de la selva para llegar al Puyo.

Yo estoy aquí en Quito para defender mi territorio, que este gobierno quiere explotar en petróleo. No vamos a permitir. Como mujeres tenemos derecho de que el gobierno nos respete. Los sápara somos declarados Patrimonio de la Humanidad en el año 2001, y lo que dice de eso la UNESCO es que el estado debe  “adoptar las medidas necesarias para garantizar la salvaguardia del patrimonio cultural inmaterial presente en su territorio” (Texto de la convención para la salvaguardia del Patrimonio Cultural Inmaterial, vigente desde octubre del 2003). Para nosotros la cultura es la misma cosa que el territorio, porque nuestros conocimientos dependen la naturaleza. Si nuestro territorio se contamina, se pierde nuestra cultura, nuestras medicinas y nuestros espíritus de la naturaleza, todo se pierde.

Para nosotros no es igual la idea de desarrollo que la que tiene este gobierno. El gobierno quiere decir que nosotros somos pobres porque nos ve caminando llucho pie, pero nosotros no somos pobres. En nuestro territorio tenemos todo lo que necesitamos para vivir y también somos capaces de organizarnos para desarrollarnos como pueblo y ayudar a los demás pueblos. Nosotros tenemos capacidad para progresar y asegurar el futuro de nuestros hijos, no necesitamos del petróleo para desarrollarnos.  Todo lo que hemos logrado, la escuela, la pista, el proyecto eco turístico, ha sido gestión propia nuestra de hombres y mujeres, y de nuestras organizaciones que ahora el gobierno quiere acabar, más bien hemos recibido apoyo externo.

Los pueblos de la Amazonía protegen el patrimonio de todos. Si el gobierno ataca esos territorios, ataca el patrimonio del mundo. El gobierno quiere ponernos en contra como pueblos indígenas. Si el se preocupa de nosotros, primero debería asegurar que vivamos en paz y no hacernos pelear entre nosotros. En las protestas ha habido maltrato a las mujeres y los niños. Mi hijo de cinco años casi se asfixia por las bombas lacrimógenas en el Puyo y a eso llaman el Buen Vivir.

Pero como mujeres no tenemos miedo. Nuestra lucha es muy justa y muy digna porque salimos a proteger el futuro de nuestros hijos y no una “protesta sin sentido” como quiere hacer ver el gobierno. Por eso nos solidarizamos con la lucha de todos los pueblos que buscan proteger su territorio y todos los movimientos sociales que luchan por. El agua, la tierra, las plantas y los animales no son sólo para nosotros, son para todo el mundo. Y cuando un poder es prepotente y no quiere escuchar nosotros no vamos a permitir que nos callen.

Invitamos a las mujeres quiteñas que nos apoyen y nos acompañen en esta lucha.

Urgent Appeal: Stop Forced Eviction of Indigenous Communities for Construction of National Sports University and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Financed Asian Highway 1 In Manipur

Urgent Appeal: Stop Forced Eviction of Indigenous Communities for Construction of National Sports University and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Financed Asian Highway 1 In Manipur

Urgent appeal to the Government of India and the Government of Manipur to desist from forced acquisition of more than 600 Acres of agriculture and forest land in Yaithibi Loukon, a prime agriculture and forest land covering Five Villages in Thoubal District of Manipur for setting up the National Sports University and the Asian Highway 1 to be funded by the Asian Development Bank.

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Message of Solidarity to Victims of Earthquake In Nepal

Land is Life (LiL), an indigenous peoples organization based in the USA, would like to express our heartfelt grief to all victims of the massive Earthquake that rocked Nepal and surrounding areas on 25th April 2015. LiL would like to share our grief condolence to all the victims who lost their lives in the earth quake and to all those injured and rendered homeless by one of the strongest earthquake that rocked Nepal in Eighty years.

Land is Life extends our solidarity in this difficult moment for utmost safety of all people of Nepal and especially the most marginalized indigenous communities. Land is Life is concerned with the plight and situation of several indigenous communities of Nepal, especially in interior parts, who are also seriously and adversely impacted by the massive earthquake and further. LiL further expresses our solidarity to the countless number of indigenous communities in all endeavors to overcome the difficult moments and in providing all necessary support for them.

LiL would like to express our certainty that the Government of Nepal, in particular and other countries would extend all necessary humanitarian assistance and relief measures to provide all necessary physical and emotional support for those affected by the Earthquake.  

With massive attention and focus on the capital, Kathmandu, Land is Life is extremely concerned that countless number of indigenous communities affected in interior and mountainous areas would be excluded from the basic humanitarian assistance, health and sanitary facilities etc. Land is Life also express our certainty that the Government will also accord special attention and appropriate focus to respond to the plight of indigenous communities in far flung and interior areas of Nepal, affected by the Earth quake, in a manner appropriate to their cultures and also with due consideration of their right to free, prior and informed consent.  

Land is Life wishes all people and indigenous peoples of Nepal to muster all courage, strength and solidarity to overcome the adverse situation successfully and in rebuilding the integrity of their land and country.

CONAIE Prepares for the "Cumbre de Los Pueblos"

The "Cumbre de Los Pueblos" to take place March 5-6 in Quito, Ecuador

The "Cumbre de Los Pueblos" to take place March 5-6 in Quito, Ecuador

Our allies CONAIE released this updated in anticipation of their upcoming gathering. It has been translated into English

***

The Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, CONAIE, working together alongside national workers’ organizations and social movements of campesinos and indigenous peoples, sent out the call for the Cumbre de los Pueblos (People’s Summit) to be held on March 5th and 6th in Quito, on the campus of the Central University of Ecuador.

The summit is an opportunity to strengthen unity among the social sector, create a plan of action and mobilization and defense of the CONAIE headquarters., since this is the deadline announced by the government for the analysis of our request to stop eviction.

The Cumbre de los Pueblos will begin with mobilization towards the National Assembly to submit proposals for the Law of the Lands and then to the Constitutional Court to demand answers to Decree 16, which limits the political participation of civil society organizations.

The opening on Thursday at 7:00pm will be a tribute to those fighting in defense of their territories and human rights, with the participation of Javier Ramírez de Intag, relatives of the Shuar indigenous brothers killed José Tendetza and Freddy Taish, among others.

On Friday, working groups will discuss the central issues on the agenda of social organizations (land, food sovereignty, labor rights, free trade agreement with the European Community, education, women’s rights) among others that will be decided upon in the Popular Assembly.

Lastly, the leaders reject the statements of President Correa last Saturday, when he said that CONAIE charged the rural social security funds, which is absolutely false.

CONAIE Update: Delegation of Kichwa Peoples from Otavalo Show Solidarity in Quito

Kichwa Delegates from Otavalo at the CONAIE Offices in Quito

Kichwa Delegates from Otavalo at the CONAIE Offices in Quito

QUITO, ECUADOR -- From February 9th - 13th, the delegates from the Kichwa Peoples of Otavalo and Puruwa, along with the Shuar Peoples of Ecuador's Andean highlands, took their turns to travel to Quito in support of the national leadership of CONAIE.

The indigenous leaders' aim was to participate in political trainings and make their presence felt at CONAIE's headquarters, which has been is still under threat of eviction by Ecuador's federal government since December 2014. The Kichwa delegates from Otavalo, specifically those from the community Mojandita, performed spiritual ceremonies throughout the week.

The Indigenous movement's leaders held meetings with judges and other officials in Quito to deliver new documents, demonstrating the need for CONAIE's current site to remain definitively in the hands of the country's Indigenous peoples.

They also aimed to clarify the legal situation of another house that CONAIE's indigenous leaders occupy during their term in the capital. The leaders of CONAIE, elected Indigenous leaders from around the country, hold office for a period of three years during which they must live in the capital. While they have historically used this house in question as their residence in Quito during their time in office, the government is also threatening to repossess this property.

Urgent Appeal from Manipur: Stop filling Mapithel Dam Reservoir, Forced Eviction in Mapithel Range

Filling up Mapithel dam Reservoir

Filling up Mapithel dam Reservoir

 

INCIDENT:  Displacement and survival threats due to filling up of Mapithel Dam Reservoir by blocking Thoubal River by IFCD, Government of Manipur    

PERPETRATOR:  Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Government of Manipur

IDENTIFICATION OF VICTIMS:  Tangkhul Naga, Kuki and Meitei people of Manipur

DATE/TIME OF INCIDENT:      January 2015 and continuing        

SOURCE OF INFORMATION:  Mapithel Dam Affected Villages Organization, Citizens Concern for Dams and Development, Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur

EVENT DESCRIPTION:  The Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Government of Manipur commenced blocking the Thoubal River and filing up of the Mapithel Dam Reservoir from January 2015 onwards in a forceful attempt to commission the Mapithel dam of the Thoubal Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project, tentatively scheduled at March 2015. The filling up of Mapithel dam reservoir already submerged an extensive portion of the agriculture land, grazing ground, forest areas of Louphong and Chadong villages respectively. The entire Chadong Village, Lamlai Khunnou and other villages along Mapithel Hill range will be submerged once the water level rises. The filling of the dam reservoir without addressing the plights of affected communities and in an absence of holistic impact assessment of the Mapithel dam has already led to mental harassment and insecurity over the livelihood and survival of affected communities, belonging to the Tangkhul Naga and Kuki people, who will lose their agriculture land and survival sources.

The blocking of Thoubal River for filling up of Mapithel dam already led to drying up of Thoubal river in immediate downstream of Mapithel dam, such as Tumukhong, Itham, Moirangpurel and further down in Thoubal District. The villagers of immediate downstream villages, belonging to the Meitei people, are worried of extreme water shortage, for basic household communities. The villagers can no longer fish and collect sand stone brought down by the Thoubal River both in upstream and downstream portion of the River, which has been their main economic mainstay. Collection of firewood and seasonable food sources from nearby hills is disturbed as the forest areas has been destroyed for filling up the Mapithel dam and also due militarization. The Mapithel dam site is located in high seismic area and villagers in downstream areas of worried of dam break.

The ongoing filling up of the Mapithel dam reservoir is accompanied with full scale deployment of security forces of Government of India while subduing all affected peoples’ call and resistance against the blocking of the Thoubal River. Villagers strongly opposed the forceful filling up of Mapithel dam reservoir as a clear instance of undemocratic and anti indigenous peoples of development and has created a fear psychosis among the affected villagers.     

The ongoing effort to finalize Mapithel dam construction is despite the fact that the National Green Tribunal is still considering the violation of Forest Rights under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 and the Forest Rights Act, 2006.In clear procedural violations, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), Government of India accorded final Stage II Forest Clearance for Mapithel Dam only on 31st December 2013 after more than thirty years of project approval in 1980 without conducting any site visits into affected areas.

The ongoing move to complete Mapithel dam construction is amidst controversial and manipulative rehabilitation and resettlement process that has caused confusion, division and violation of affected indigenous communities' rights. The Rehabilitation and Resettlement is being carried out in a piecemeal and divisive approach and already caused much controversy and human rights violations.

Due to the failure of the agreement on RR in 1993 and also due to the acknowledgement of the lapses and failure, the Government of Manipur constituted the Expert Review Committee (ERC) in 18 January 2008. However, the Government withdrew from the ERC process after seven rounds of talks, the last talk held in February 2011. The Government of Manipur forcefully began verification at Lamlai Khunou and Chadong Village from 29th October 2012 with security despite community objections. The verification based on Ukhrul District DC’s order dated 28 September 2012 and 26 March 2013 is a direct violation of the stay order of the Gauhati High Court on 25 April 2012.

The construction of Mapithel Dam is still fraught with the absence of a detailed impact assessment on communities with their rightful participation, especially impacts on forest land and other livelihood sources and further down in the downstream portion of Thoubal River. The Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is preparing to finance a Water Supply scheme for Imphal Town from the Mapithel dam. JICA’s support will only facilitate causing more inconveniences, harassment and human rights violations on communities affected by Mapithel dam.

The plight of the affected communities continues to remain uncertain as the project authorities continue to fill the Dam Reservoir with militarization of their land and suppression of their democratic rights. Mapithel dam today, represents a clear symbol of development injustice.   

Background:  Manipur witnesses series of mega dams commissioned in 1980’s and 1990’s which are either failed or seriously underperforming. The Khuga Dam, the Singda Dam, the Khoupum and the Loktak Project have all failed to fulfil its objectives. Indeed, some of the dams like Khoupum dam failed to provide irrigation and power.  The Singda dam failed to generate a single unit of its intended 750 KW of power. Similar is the case with Khuga Dam, which failed to generate single unit of power, despite its component to generate 4.5 MW of power. The Government of Manipur instead pursued for construction of more hydroelectric power projects under the controversial Manipur Hydroelectric Power Policy, 2012. Of late, International Financial Institutions like the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation etc are financing energy and allied infrastructure projects, and thus facilitating development injustice.  

Demands: The Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers Organization, the Citizens Concern for Dams and Development and the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur would like to request your good office to kindly intervene in the following demands to urge upon the Government of Manipur and the Government of India to:

1)    Stop blocking the Thoubal River and filling up of the Mapithel Dam reservoir

2)    To stop Mapithel dam construction till all rehabilitation process acceptable to affected communities and their free, prior and informed consent is taken with.  

3)    Resume the Expert Review Committee set up in the year 2008 by Government of Manipur

4)    All militarization process that support Mapithel dam construction should halt immediately. 

5)    Stop all forms of involuntary displacement of indigenous peoples affected by Mapithel Dam in Manipur as per UN Declaration on Indigenous Peoples Rights, 2007 and recommendations of the World Commission on Dams, 2000     

6)    Further, to urge the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) not to finance the Integrated Water Supply Scheme, to draw water from Mapithel dam for Imphal Town.

 

Please write to the following officials of the Government of India, Government of Manipur and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

1)    Honorable Prime Minister

South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011

Phone +91-11-23012312/+91-11-23012312

Fax +91-11-23019545/23016857


2)    Mr. Okram Ibobi Singh

Chief Minister of Manipur

New Secretariat Building

Bapupara, Imphal, Manipur INDIA

Fax + 91 385 2451398

E-mail: cmmani@hub.nic.in


3)    Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission

Faridkot House, Copernicus Marg,

New Delhi – 110001.

Fax: + 91 11 2338 4863

Email: chairnhrc@nic.in


4)    Governor of Manipur, Raj Bhawan,

Imphal 795001, India

Fax: +913852441812

Email: govmani@hub.nic.in


5)    The Minister,

Ministry of Home Affairs,

New Delhi, Government of India

Fax: 011- 23070577, 24625800


6)    The President, 

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Nibancho Centre Building 5-25

Niban-Cho, Chiyoda – KU

Tokyo, Japan 102 8022

Tel – 81 3 5226 6660 / 61 / 62/63 

Kuna Yala Prepares for Revolution's 90th Anniversary

Ustupu, Kuna Yala

Ustupu, Kuna Yala

This February marks the 90th anniversary of the Kuna Revolution of 1925. The Kuna are set to commemorate their freedom with festivities on the island of Ustupu and throughout Kuna Yala. The events surrounding the February 25th anniversary will celebrate Kuna culture, which, thanks in large part to the revolution, has persisted through colonialism and continues to thrive today.

The Kuna people originally lived in what is today northern Colombia and eastern Panama, but moved west to the San Blas islands following the Spanish invasion. While there were many earlier revolts and struggles to maintain cultural identity, the 1925 revolution was by far the most monumental. Directed by chief Nele Kantule, the Kuna led a swift revolution in response to government policies seeking to forcibly suppress Kuna customs and assimilate indigenous peoples with Hispanic culture; no Kuna lives were lost.

Shortly thereafter, the Kuna people reached an agreement with the Panamanian government to become a semi-autonomous territory. The revolution marked a critical step towards the revitalization and preservation of Kuna language, art, and way of life. Today, the Kuna remain in control over their territory, known as the Comarca de Kuna Yala, and pass down their traditional practices from one generation to the next.

The Kuna people have a rich culture that revolves around the importance of Nabguana, or Mother Earth, in their daily lives. Traditional dress includes clothing known as molas, a colorfully printed textile. The Kuna are spread over many smaller islands and depend on the ocean for much of their food, but also practice subsistence farming along the edges of the forest. As such, environmentalism is a key concept for the Kuna: the land they inhabit provides them with not only a place to live, but with a multitude of resources, including materials for traditional medicine.

Nele Kantule’s grandson, Don Jesús Smith Kantule, works to carefully document the uses for different plants in the Kuna Yala territory so that future generations may continue to embrace traditional practices. With support from Land is Life, he has even established the Ibeorgun Traditional Knowledge School in his home community of Ustupu, in which to teach the children in his community about their culture, environment, and balu wala – the good life.

Festivities are scheduled to begin in the days leading up to the anniversary, with people from all over Kuna Yala traveling to Ustupu to celebrate their nation take part in the many cultural events commemorating their independence. Planned activities include a parade, theater performances, and sports exhibitions involving indigenous youth.

CONAIE to Host School of Political Trainings for Indigenous Peoples

QUITO - After the Ecuadorian government announced it would evict CONAIE from its headquarters, the main organization of indigenous peoples in Ecuador initiated several actions to defend its home of more than 20 years – the historic site where the Plurinational State of Ecuador was discussed and planned.

At yesterday's press conference, the president of CONAIE—an indigenous Kichwa Jorge Herrera—announced the creation of a permanent school of political training for grassroots leaders and communities to be operated at CONAIE headquarters. The idea behind this school is to provide trainings on organizing and on the human rights for the indigenous peoples of Ecuador, which will also help achieve a permanent presence at CONAIE’s site in the coming weeks. The organization aspires to train a total of 400 indigenous peoples from around the country.

On March 6th, the government will officially announce its decision on the use of the building. The indigenous peoples claim that this site is the heart of the social struggle of not only indigenous but all Ecuadorians. However, on Saturday President Correa announced that the building should be returned to the state, calling CONAIE’s request to remain “ridiculous.” 

Yesterday morning, various officials and members of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku arrived in Quito in solidarity. They will serve as the inaugural training group, with courses on human rights, land law, defense of territories, water law and other issues that directly affect the indigenous peoples of Ecuador

CONAIE also expressed concern about the signing of a new Free Tree Agreement between the Ecuadorian government and the European Community, as it will affect the legal framework and laws on access to water and land.

Stand with West Papua for Liberation, Self-determination and Peace

                      Leonard Imbiri, Secretary General of Dewan Adat Papua

                      Leonard Imbiri, Secretary General of Dewan Adat Papua

We are called to express our solidarity specifically to the situation of our brothers and sisters in West Papua


The Indigenous People’s Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) strongly condemns the Indonesian police and military on their series of brutal repression and human rights violations against the West Papuan pro-independence activists and civilians.

Last year of December 5th, five West Papuan people were shot dead and 12 others injured when Indonesian troops and police fired into a crowd of civilians in the highlands region of Paniai. Prior to the massacre, the crowd had gathered in Karel Gobay Square in Paniai to protest against a group of Indonesian soldiers, who they say had beaten a 12-year-old boy the previous night.

The most recent attack occurred last January 7 when the Indonesian army, police and special forces, arrest, strip and torture scores of pro-independence West Papuans near Timika. Of the 116 people, 48 of whom were women and three children.

A number of residents who were arrested were from several areas in the mountains of central Papua, including Jayawijaya, Puncak Jaya, and Lanny Jaya. Dozens of honais (traditional houses), the location where this group was, were also burned by the authorities. Many have fled to the forests in terror.

Imperialist governments such as the United States and Australia have greatly abetted the regime of Indonesia in the colonization and the cold-blooded genocide of indigenous population of West Papua. Both US and Australia have common economic and geopolitical interests in the region.

West Papua harbors the US-based Freeport-McMoRan Gold and Copper mine that was imposed on it via a US-Indonesian agreement. It is the largest gold mine, and the third largest copper mine in the world. Like in most places around the world, the abundance of these mineral resources has unleashed the violence that is being committed against the indigenous people of West Papua. Big extractive and financial firms in both the US and Indonesia hell bent in controlling the mine and its surrounding area. In 2005, the New York Times reported that Freeport generously showered the Indonesian military with $20 million to protect their control over mineral resources.

At the end of the APEC conference in Hawaii in November, President Obama visited Indonesia and relayed to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono his unconditional support to Indonesia's claim over the territory.

Meanwhile, Australia has always vocalized its firm opposition against West Papua’s independence. Recent reports claim that Australia trains and supplies the death squad Detachment 88 that the Indonesian authorities use to terrorize civilian population and crush resistance. This is unsurprising given Australia’s huge direct investment in Indonesia, including the Rio Tinto’s 15 per cent stake in the Freeport mine.

Amid these blatant injustices, we stand with the West Papuans as they struggle for liberation, self-determination and peace.

We demand that the Indonesian government end its colonization and genocidal war against the West Papuans.

We call on the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute the government of Indonesia for its crimes against humanity and genocide in West Papua.

We call on people’s movements, civil society, leaders and individuals to collectively expose and oppose the Indonesian police and military’s human rights violations and the complicity of powerful governments and business interests in these heinous acts.

Free West Papua!

Leonard Imbiri,

Secretary General of Dewan Adat Papua
Executive Director of Yayasan Anak Dusun Papua

Website: www.yadupa.org

APPEAL: Write the Asian Development Bank to stop financing Imphal Ring Road in Manipur

                                                         Imphal Ring Road Protest

                                                         Imphal Ring Road Protest

Dear Friends,

The Affected Peoples Coordinating Committee on the Asian Development Bank financed Imphal Ring Road Project and the Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur would like to request your kind intervention to write the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to stop financing the Imphal Ring Road Project in Manipur. The ADB mission team visited Imphal, Manipur from 14 till 17 January 2015 to assess social impact, however, affected communities were not informed officially of their visits. The affected communities reiterated objection to the Imphal Ring Road plan and wrote memorandum to the President, ADB. The Imphal Ring Road project will displace several thousands of indigenous peoples in Manipur and confiscate their agriculture land and other survival sources.

Below, you will find  the appeal, submissions of affected communities to ADB, media reflections of peoples protest against Imphal Ring Road, the Eviction notice issued by Government of Manipur, pictures of affected areas and proposed map of Imphal Ring Road plan etc. A sample letter is also outlined and attached for your kind reference.


Best regards,
Jiten Yumnam     
Affected Peoples Coordinating Committee on ADB financed Imphal Ring Road Project
 Secretary, Centre for Research and Advocacy, Manipur    
(Forum for Indigenous Peoples & Action, Manipur)   
 Sega Road Hodam Leirak   
Imphal Manipur NE India 795001


APPEAL: URGE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB) TO STOP FINANCING IMPHAL RING ROAD WITHOUT AFFECTED COMMUNITIES CONSENT   

The Government of Manipur aggressively pursued construction of the Imphal Town Ring Road with the financial support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The proposed Imphal Ring road, which will be 40 Km long and 30 metres width and planned to be constructed at the estimated cost of around Rs. 240 Crores Indian Rupees, is part of the major road projects in Manipur pursued under the North East State Roads Investment Program (NESRIP), supported by Asian Development Bank. 

A team of the Asian Development Bank visited Imphal, Manipur to conduct social and environmental impact assessment from 14-17 January 2015. The affected communities were not officially informed on the official visits of ADB. The project director rather endeavoured to deny representation of affected communities to the ADB team. However, the affected communities submitted objection memorandum to the ADB on 16th January 2015 and also publicized their objections widely in media units of Manipur. Despite the representation of objections, the Government of Manipur through the Deputy Commissioners of Imphal West and East Districts, issued land acquisition notice for the two districts from 17-19th January 2015, published widely in media again. This constitutes a clear violation of the rights of affected communities.

Several affected communities has been publicly expressing objections to the proposed road widening plan and its multi faceted impacts of Imphal Ring Road. Affected communities of Langol foothills held series of protest meet in December 2014. The Kongba Makha Nandeibam Leikai development committee in a meeting on the proposed eviction plan on 21 September 2014 strongly opposed and condemned the project. Further affected communities in Langthabal Mantri Leikai also wrote to the Chief Minister of Manipur on 4 November 2014 opposing and requesting to reconsider the project alignments. Several representations of objections were sent to ADB against the project.

Agriculture Land in the Langthabal Area

Agriculture Land in the Langthabal Area

The Imphal Ring Road project will acquire residential areas in Kongba Nandeibam Leikai, Langthabal Nambul Mapal area, Langol foot hills area in Imphal West and East District. Altogether, around Two Hundred (200) families and approximately around 100 acres of agriculture land will be affected by the proposed Imphal Ring Road Project in Kongba Makha Nandeibam Leikai. The proposed Imphal Ring has led to widespread uncertainty and caused mental harassment and suffering for affected communities, including on children, students, youths, women and elderly people. Nearly 400 families will be directly affected in Langthabal, Kongba, Bashikhong etc in Imphal West and East Districts and will lose their homestead land and adjoining structures. Around 500 families will also be affected in the villages along Langol foot hills. The project will affect the sacred Langthabal and Langol Hills, associated with the history and folklores of Meitei people.

There has been no effort to conduct a detailed socio, economic, health and environmental impact assessment due to the proposed Imphal Town Ring Road. There is no clear option assessment with consultation with affected communities. The proposed project will further undermine food sovereignty of Manipur by conscripting a huge tract of prime agriculture land for road widening.  The direct implication of increased ADB loans in Manipur and the potential of increasing the debt of Manipur and its people to ADB has never been discussed.

The proposed project clearly failed to take the free, prior and informed consent of affected indigenous communities. There is no room to suggest alternatives by affected communities on account of absence of consultation from the project authorities, which is a clear violation of all democratic norms of development decision making.  The government of Manipur and ADB both failed to apply ADB’s own safeguard policies of 2009 for proposed Imphal Ring Road.       

Many communities who eke out their livelihood through farming, fishing and small scale economic activity will lose their livelihood and constitute a clear violation of right to life, as guaranteed both by the Article 21 of Constitution of India, Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Any forced displacement will constitute violation of Article 11 of International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

 


Please write to the following officials


Takehiko Nakao  
President, Asian Development Bank,    
6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550,   
Metro Manila, Philippines   
Ph:  + 6326324444 / 6326364444
 
Honourable Prime Minister
South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011
Phone +91-11-23012312/+91-11-23012312 
Fax +91-11-23019545/23016857

Mr. Okram Ibobi Singh
Chief Minister of Manipur
New Secretariat Building
Bapupara, Imphal, Manipur INDIA
Fax + 91 385 2451398
E-mail: cmmani@hub.nic.in

Honourable Arun Jaitley,
Governor for India, Asian Development Bank
Ministry of Finance, Government of India, ND India
Fax: +91 11 2309 3289 / 2828/
Tel.: +91 11 2309 2510 / 2810
E-mail: manojpant65@yahoo.co.in | fmo@nic.in

Mr. Tsuneyuki Sakai,
Transport Specialist, Transport and Communications Division, 
South Asia Department 
tsakai@adb.org 
 
Project Director,
NESRIP PWD. Manipur,
Room No. A-301, 2nd Floor, South Block,
PWD Complex, Khuyathong Imphal.
Tele-Fax. 0385-2452837
E-mail : pdmanipur@gmail.com
 

 


SAMPLE LETTER

To,
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Sub:  Desist financing the construction of Imphal Ring Road without Peoples Consent
 

Dear Sir/Madame,   

We would like to take this privilege to write you for your kind and urgent action and intervention concerning the proposed plan for construction of the Imphal Town Ring Road to be financed by the Asian Development Bank.

The proposed Imphal Ring road project clearly failed to take the free, prior and informed consent of affected indigenous communities. There is no room to suggest alternatives by affected communities on account of absence of consultation from the project authorities, which is a clear violation of all democratic norms of development decision making.  The government of Manipur and ADB both failed to apply ADB’s own safeguard policies of 2009 for proposed Imphal Ring Road.

There has been no effort to conduct a detailed socio, economic, health and environmental impact assessment due to the proposed Imphal Town Ring Road. There is no clear option assessment with consultation with affected communities. The direct implication of increased ADB loans in Manipur and the potential of increasing the debt to ADB have never been addressed.

A team of the Asian Development Bank visited Imphal, Manipur to conduct social and environmental impact assessment from 14-17 January 2015. The affected communities were not officially informed on the official visits of ADB. This constitutes a clear insensitivity and violation of the rights and survival of communities affected by Imphal Ring Road.

The Imphal Ring Road project will acquire residential areas in Kongba Nandeibam Leikai, Langthabal Nambul Mapal area, Langol foot hills area in Imphal West and East District. Altogether, around Two Hundred (200) families and approximately around 100 acres of agriculture land will be affected by the proposed Imphal Ring Road Project in Kongba Makha Nandeibam Leikai. Nearly 400 families will be directly affected in Langthabal, Kongba, Bashikhong etc in Imphal West and East Districts and will lose their homestead land and adjoining structures. Around 500 families will also be affected in the villages along Langol foot hills. The project will affect the sacred Langthabal and Langol Hills, associated with the history and folklores of Meitei people. Many communities who eke out their livelihood through farming, fishing and small scale economic activity will lose their livelihood and constitute a clear violation of right to life, as guaranteed both by the Article 21 of Constitution of India, Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

DEMANDS:  The organizations would like to seek your kind and urgent intervention on the following demands: 

  • The ADB should desist from financing Imphal Town Ring Road without the free, prior and informed consent of all affected communities
  • The land acquisition notice issued by the Government of Manipur from 16 till 19th January 2015 should be revoked.
  • The Government of Manipur and the Asian Development Bank should provide all the necessary and related information on its Ring road plan, including the Detailed Project Report, Environmental and Social Impact assessment, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Plan.
  • The project authorities should consider and accept the alternatives suggested by all the affected communities.
  • The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 should be implemented