Monday, June 10, 2013

underreported struggles 74

More essential underreported struggles from Ahni at Intercontinental Cry

underreported struggles 74

Indigenous Peoples in southern Botswana breathed a sigh of relief after Botswana’s High Court suspended a planned community eviction by local authorities. The government alleged that the community, which lives in a so-called ‘Wildlife Corridor,’ is blocking the free movement of animals in the region. The High Court ruled that the eviction be suspended until at least mid-June, when the “San” Bushmen will be forced to return to court to defend their land.

The U.S. company Herakles Farms finally succumbed to local and international pressure, halting development of its 60,000 hectare palm oil plantation in the middle of the Cameroon rainforest. The move came just weeks after an order from the Forestry Ministry to cease ‘preparing land’ near its Talangaye palm oil nursery pending an assessment of the public usefulness of the project to the region. As noted on IC in 2011, the project threatened the ancestral lands and livelihoods of the Baka, Bakola, Bedzang and Bagyeli peoples.

The SAVE Rivers network along with 300 indigenous people from around Sarawak gathered in protest outside the Borneo Convention Center Kuching where the International Hydropower Association’s biennial congress was being held. The protesters–which included several community members affected by the Bengoh, Murum and Bakun dams–left peacefully after they managed to reach the main entrance of the BCCK and get their message across to IHA, Sarawak Energy and the Sarawak Government: that they are open to development, but not at the expense of their ancestral lands and their ways of life.

The Gwich’in Nation spoke out against Alaska’s Governor Parnell’s $50 million dollar drilling proposal on the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In a public statement, the Gwich’in explained that their way of life is “dependent upon the Porcupine (River) Caribou Herd whose birthing and nursery grounds are on the Coastal Plain.” The Gwich’in also observed that the Refuge is presently closed to any and all drilling “and it would take an act of Congress to open it.”

The Supreme Court of Canada, meanwhile, ruled that individual members of an Aboriginal community cannot use blockades or other so-called “self-help” remedies to address government breaches of law, specifically its duty to consult. The court was addressing a camp blockade that was set up in 2006 to interfere with a logging operation on Treaty 8 territory that was authorized by the Crown. According to the judge, the protesters, who claimed (but failed to “prove”) that there was no prior consultation, “should have” sought to address the license issued by the Crown, not the license holder (ie, the company benefiting from the Crown’s allegedly illegally issue of consent to harvest the traditional territory of Fort Nelson First Nation).

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

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