Monday, October 10, 2011

underreported struggles 54

More essential underreported struggles from Ahni at Intercontinetal Cry this month.

Burma's President announced that the Myitsone Dam on the Irrawaddy River would be halted "to respect the will of the people." Grace Mang, program coordinator at International Rivers, said: "The suspension of the Myitsone Dam is a great success for civil society groups in Burma and throughout the world. The decision shows that dam builders can no longer rely on dictatorial governments to push through projects that are rejected by their populations."

A Federal judge in Brazil suspended work on the controversial Belo Monte dam project, citing concerns that it would impact local fish stocks and harm indigenous peoples who rely on fishing. In his ruling, Judge Carlos Castro Martins explicitly forbade Norte Energia, the consortium behind the dam, from "building a port, using explosives, installing dikes, building canals and any other infrastructure work that would interfere with the natural flow of the Xingu river, thereby affecting local fish stocks".

In a huge win for Indigenous and forest dwelling peoples throughout Indonesia who are struggling to assert their customary land rights in the face of massive palm oil expansion, Chief Justice Mahfud M.D. ruled that two Articles of Indonesian law used to imprison community members are unconstitutional, unlawful and invalid. Articles 21 and 47 of Indonesia’s Plantation Act are responsible for the widespread criminalization of forest community members who often end up in jail for defending their land rights against the ever-encroaching expansion of oil palm plantations.

A northern Ontario First Nation is urgently calling on Premier Dalton McGuinty to stop gold mining exploration on a sacred burial site. KI First Nation explains that the Toronto-based company God's Lake Resources deliberately ignored their widely-publicized moratorium on exploration and overstepped their Indigenous rights to explore for gold in an area where multiple sacred KI graves are located. KI has since issued the company an eviction notice.

A top court in Costa Rica ruled that the ancestral lands of the Bri-bri indigenous people must be returned, handing one of the country’s most marginalized groups a legal victory. A lawyer for the indigenous group said that the ruling was “historic” and that the Bri-bri consider these lands to be sacred. Government agencies now have one month to decide which individuals living on the reserve will have to evacuate.

Visit Intercontinetal Cry to read about these issues and many others.

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