Archive for May, 2012

Brazil: Eucalyptus and the growing precarity of work in Mato Grosso do Sul

Thursday, May 31st, 2012
From World Rainforest Movement (WRM)
Nothing likes eucalyptus. If you let cattle loose among the eucalyptus, they start grazing around the outside, which is supposed to be a reserve. The cattle don’t like it, neither do the birds, or the wasps. The hardest thing about a place like that is the wasps, but not even the wasps like to be where the eucalyptus is. (Video interview with Manuelzão, a character from the novel “Corpo de Bailes” by João Guimarães Rosa)

I will begin by highlighting the relationship between two factors that are intrinsically connected, although this is not always apparent: the expansion of eucalyptus plantations and temporary migration, the clearest symbol of precarious work. This is a situation which in itself exposes the reality of the eucalyptus-pulp equation, integrated into the discourse of development and progress, given the fact that support for this economic activity is sought by publicizing its potential for creating employment, although the nature of the jobs created is never revealed.

This is a fundamental question in the case of Três Lagoas, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, a city that was recently proclaimed the “pulp capital” of Brazil due to the presence of pulp mills owned by such giants in the sector as IP, Fibria and Eldorado Brasil. In Três Lagoas, the dance of the numbers of jobs created is choreographed in such a way as to create a direct link between eucalyptus and employment in the minds of the public. As a result, the local press insistently reports certain figures from the general employment registry of the Ministry of Labour, such as the fact that 24,708 workers were hired in the local economy in 2011. However, that same year, the number of workers laid off was 22,818. Although the balance is positive, this should not and cannot be the main interpretation of the situation.

It is essential to point out, within these figures, a characteristic of the eucalyptus-pulp sector that is closely related to the instability of employment, because in the vast majority of cases, these are temporary jobs. In addition, the pulp mills operating in Três Lagoas are exempt from paying major taxes such as the ICMS and IPTU, as well as another tax, the ISS, while these plants are under construction. Added to this are the enormous amounts of financing granted by the federal government through the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDS). The most recent payout was 2.7 billion reais (1.5 billion U.S. dollars) granted to Eldorado Brasil – most of which is money from the public treasury, drawn from the Fundo de Amparo ao Trabalhador, or workers support fund.

Who are the migrant workers temporarily employed in construction in Três Lagoas? Let’s look at the recent case of the construction of the “biggest pulp mill in the world”, which is scheduled to be ready to enter into operation in 2014 and is owned by Eldorado Brasil. There are around 7,000 men working on its construction. The majority of them are from Northeastern Brazil, uprooted from their homes and in a highly vulnerable situation. As temporary migrants, they belong neither here nor there. They are viewed with distrust by much of the local population, and because of the low wages they are paid, these workers end up living in “accommodations” that in many cases could only be described as ghettos.

On four occasions in the past year, these workers have broken the silence with strikes and demonstrations, denouncing to the entire Brazilian public that they are currently the main victims of the social contradiction created by the eucalyptus-pulp model. What are they demanding? Rights, such as the payment of overdue salaries and overtime; better working and living conditions; more days off; and better transportation, not only to and from the construction site, but also into the city, since some of their lodgings are in the outskirts of the municipality. Despite the strikes, however, it has been observed that the situation has changed very little, and according to the workers, this can be explained by the fact that the agreements signed have goneunfulfilled.It should be stressed here that when we talk about work conditions, we should not limit ourselves to the construction of the pulp mills, but also consider work on the plantations where the eucalyptus trees are grown, which involves, for example, the application of toxic agrochemicals. Plantation workers begin their work day at four in the morning, and earn roughly a minimum wage. Another issue that is seldom discussed is the paradox underlying the expansion of eucalyptus plantations. It may be true, on the one hand, that they provide (precarious) jobs. But on the other hand, they also create unemployment, due to the leasing of ranching estates for the establishment of eucalyptus plantations, which leads to the destruction of pasture land and thus the loss of jobs for workers in the livestock sector. As a result of this process, dozens of families have emigrated from the countryside to the city of Três Lagoas in recent years, leading to the stagnation of local communities.

This precarization of work is intrinsic to the pulp-plantation sector. This most recent case is by no means an isolated one. When Fibria’s Horizonte pulp mill was under construction, during 2007 and 2008, the city of Três Lagoas lived through a similar experience. There are records which reveal that in order to lower the costs of providing accommodation for the workers on this construction project, the companies that hired them overcrowded residences and hotels with “beds that never got cold”, with no concern for the poor hygienic conditions in which the workers were forced to live, among other situations of precarity and violence. The situation was eventually denounced to the Public Ministry of Labour, which established a commission to investigate. It was determined at the time that there were over 120 places of lodging in the city (both residential homes and hotels) being used by approximately 250 companies subcontracted by Fibria for the construction of the mill. Inspections undertaken by the ministry also uncovered numerous irregularities, which even led to the interdiction of five locations used by the subcontractors to house workers.

Very frequently, as well, when strikes break out or the mistreatment of workers and violations of labour legislation are denounced, the companies attempt to escape scrutiny by the media, passing the blame for the situation onto the subcontractors or sub-subcontractors, as if they were not responsible for the construction project.

Because they know that periods of turbulence and coverage of labour conflicts tend to dwindle as the construction work moves closer to completion, these companies are careful to ensure that work stoppages do not cause the work to fall behind schedule. To achieve this, hundreds of new workers are hired to replace the ones who fight back against their exploitation.

And what about the work situation in the eucalyptus-pulp sector when the construction is completed and the pulp mills are in operation? In theory, there are no work stoppages, demonstrations or strikes, because living labour is scarce. Instead, there is a sophisticated degree of mechanization (dead labour), which can account for as much of 85% of the work involved in planting and harvesting the eucalyptus trees – as promoters of the model boast.

In Brazil, migration driven by the irregular rhythm of public and private mega projects is nothing new; on the contrary, it is viewed as cause for celebration and a symbol of progress. Nor is there anything new about the strategy of portraying this phenomenon as something natural, downplaying the conditions and social effects of this temporary relocation of individuals moved by capital, through which they are desocialized without being resocialized.

Nevertheless, history is not a mere repetition of events, which is why we see the migrant workers of today using the weapons of their time, such as mobile phones, social networks and newspapers, to denounce their exploitation and demand the rights they are denied in the land of eucalyptus.

Imagine, you work eight hours a day. You go back to the place you’re staying to have a shower, you’re ready to get in the shower, but, where’s the water. And somebody might think, “Wow, this guy is a real slob, he stinks, he doesn’t shower.” The next day you put on your uniform, you go to work, you come back, and there’s no water. So what are you going to do? You’re going to protest, because we are human beings. (Worker at the construction site of the Eldorado Brasil pulp mill, interviewed on Dec. 14, 2011 by Guilherme Marini Perpetua and Tayrone Roger Antunes de Asevedo)

By Rosemeire A. de Almeida, professor at UFMS/Três Lagoas Campus

index


– : Oil palm plantations erode the right to work on communal land

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the UN agency that oversees labour issues, shaping policies and programmes mainly related to labour standards for the protection of workers.

However, the right to work is wider than the right to a job. The ILO has also incorporated the concept of decent work which recognizes that “work is central to people’s well-being. In addition to providing income, work can pave the way for broader social and economic advancement, strengthening individuals, their families and communities. Such progress, however, hinges on work that is decent. Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives” (ILO, http://www.ilocarib.org.tt/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1096&Itemid=952).

For many rural communities, their traditional land and associated knowledge form the material basis of their way of living, their culture and their identity. If they lose their land they lose their right to work – a human right.

The Indonesian National Human Rights Commission and Sawit Watch – the Indonesian network of NGOs against oil palm plantations – have recently published a report on the collision of the right to manage land granted by the state to companies (HGU) and human rights (HAM). “HGU & HAM Land Use Rights and Human Rights” brings evidence for the argument that the right of companies to manage state land supersedes human rights, which usually receive less consideration and are even ignored by the State.

The following is an excerpt of certain parts of the report which we have edited in order to produce a summarized focus on the impacts of industrial oil palm plantations on local communities’ right to work on their lands.

Oil palm plantations in Indonesia cover a total area of 9.1 million hectares, 40% of which are large-scale plantations. Industrial oil palm production is controlled by 27 large groups with about 6,000 subsidiaries in 19 provinces. Yet, state-owned companies such as PTPN share the same large-scale model. And also, the type of plantation developed on people’s land is the so-called “plasma plantation”, i.e. plantations dominated by a core or “nucleus” company. This means that large-scale oil palm plantations account for most of the total area.

Oil palm is not a new plantation commodity in Indonesia. Large-scale planting of oil palm for commercial purposes began in 1911 in Deli Serdang, North Sumatra. After independence, in 1948, plantations of oil palm encountered some constraints, when then President Sukarno applied the policy of nationalization of Dutch and other foreign companies. However, the plantation industry bloomed by the end of 1980s when then President Suharto encouraged more large-scale plantations.

At present, various policies issued and applied by the Indonesian government have increased the rate of expansion of oil palm plantations, such as the agreement signed with the business sector for the allocation of three million hectares of land for oil palm, especially targeted at the production of biodiesel. The government has also provided incentives in the form of facilities and funds for revitalizing plantations and distributing state land to underprivileged people so they can work to meet the oil palm business’ needs.

Some media have reported the government’s plan, announced by the president, to open land in a total area of 1.8 million hectares along the border to develop the world’s largest oil palm plantation. Data compiled by Sawit Watch indicate that almost all provincial governments have planned to open and expand lands for oil palm plantations, up to 19.8 million hectares in total.

This fierce push of the large-scale oil palm business is colliding with customary rights to communal land.

In Sanggau district, West Kalimantan province, oil palm plantations have been established in the subdistricts of Kembayan and Parindu. The total area of Parindu –originally inhabited by two ethnic groups, the Malays and the Dayaks – is approximately 59,390 hectares.

The Dayak Parindu have a collective land ownership system under customary regulations where land is inherited but cultivation by each family/individual remains in the context of commonly held land or communal land. Traditionally, the Parindu community has applied shifting land cultivation, but this pattern has almost disappeared due to the expansion of oil palm plantations that have been sweeping across communal lands and forests.

One of the oil palm companies is PT. Perkebunan Nusantara XIII (Persero), also known by the abbreviation PTPN XIII, a state-owned corporation that has been operating in Sanggau since 1984. The company is engaged in the agroindustry business and its main commodities are oil palm and rubber.

PTPN XIII encroached on the Dayak Parindu’s “tembawang” (agroforestry) – the communal area where the community had been working the land according to their customs and had guaranteed their livelihood producing many kinds of useful plants, such as fruit trees. But the community’s plans and priorities are destroyed in seconds when an oil palm plantation is set up.

For almost 20 years PTPN operated in this region without the concession required for any company to cultivate land owned by the state for commercial purposes – called a Land Use Rights (HGU) concession and granted for a maximum term of 25-35 years.

At the beginning the company did not involve the community in the oil palm plantation and the workforce demand was fulfilled with migrants from Java. This led to complaints from the local community. So, in 1997, the company started applying the so-called plasma plantation model (Pir-Bun), under which the community formally gave 7.5 hectares of their land to the company and would receive 2 hectares of oil palm plantation in return. From then on the community would have to pay the credits to the bank.

Field findings in Sanggau showed that people were enticed to take part in the oil palm plasma programme under the promise that they would improve their welfare. However, members of the Dayak Parindu community expressed that they now realize they were deceived by PTPN XIII and that they have never enjoyed the prosperity promised by the company. In fact, the outcome is that the community lost most of their land.

When tens of hectares of the customary community lands in West Kalimantan were handed over to the government to be given to plantation companies in the form of leaseholds, the status of the lands legally changed to state lands. The consequence is that the customary community does not have rights and authority over the lands anymore, even when the term of the plantation leasehold expires.

The practices of acquisition of community lands for the benefit of the plantation business sparked protests that in West Sumatra were expressed in land occupation/reclaiming. Reclaiming has thus become a form of social movement in response to the attempt of various economic and political power groups to strip local communities of their rights to work and live on their ancestral land.

This article is based on the report “HGU & HAM: Land Use Rights and Human Rights”, National Human Rights Commission and Sawit Watch, 2011,

NGOs calling for a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change at the Human Rights Council

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Dear NGO colleagues,
 
With this message I would like to bring to your attention the petition launched by a group of NGOs calling for a Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change at the Human Rights Council.
 
To read and sign the petition please visit the following link: SIGN PETITION for SR on Climate Change

CÚPULA DOS POVOS: O MOVIMENTO INDÍGENA E A RIO +20

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

O ano de 2012 será decisivo para as questões da saúde do nosso planeta. De 20 a 22 de junho, o mundo estará voltado para as discursões na Conferência das Nações Unidas sobre Desenvolvimento Sustentável, a Rio+20, evento global que reunirá centenas de participantes com o objetivo comum de encontrar saídas para a crise planetária em que vivemos. As organizações socioambientalistas, bem como o movimento indígena e a sociedade civil, unirão força na Cúpula dos Povos, um evento que ocorre paralelo à Rio + 20, e será um espaço de decisões e influência sobre os temas que serão abordados na conferência oficial. Vale lembrar que nós da Amazônia Brasileira, estaremos unidos com outras instâncias indígenas, nacionais e internacionais, também em um espaço próprio. Em junho, aldeiaremos o Rio de Janeiro, com mais uma edição do Acampamento Terra Livre, a maior assembleia indígena do Brasil. Esse será um espaço político de deliberação da nossa causa. E dentro desse espaço a COIAB e o movimento indígena como um todo, vai deixar bem claro o seu posicionamento com relação aos rumos que os governantes estão dando para as questões que afetam diretamente os nossos povos. No Brasil não há uma política de governo voltada às demandas dos povos indígenas. Até o momento, o Governo Dilma não recebeu o movimento para um diálogo franco e aberto. A principio, já não acreditamos que o diálogo com o governo brasileiro e a ONU seja transparente. Ele é prejudicado pela falta de clareza nos processo de organização do próprio evento. As pessoas que estão à frente do Comitê que organiza a RIO 20, no que diz respeito aos povos indígenas, não foram escolhidas com a participação do movimento indígena. Foi necessária muita intervenção das organizações indígenas, para colocar um representante legítimo no comitê organizador do evento, mesmo assim, somos prejudicados. Parentes, não podemos participar de um evento de tamanha envergadura como esses, somente para acender fogueira, dançarmos e cantarmos, como espera o governo. A violência do capitalismo que invade os nossos territórios precisa ser denunciada em todos os níveis. Os órgãos internacionais de defesa e promoção dos direitos humanos precisam tomar conhecimento das nossas realidades. Para os povos indígenas o desenvolvimento vem trazendo muita dor e sofrimento em nossas comunidades. Precisamos dar um basta nisso, pois temos a consciência que são os conhecimentos milenares dos povos indígenas que vão ajudar a salvar o planeta de crise climática em que vivemos. A nossa relação com os nossos territórios é base da nossa existência enquanto povos, a base do nosso Bem Viver e Vida Plena, em harmonia com a Mãe-Natureza. Esses direitos estão plenamente reconhecidos pela Convenção 169 da OIT – Organização Internacional do Trabalho, a Declaração das Nações Unidas sobre os Direitos dos Povos Indígenas e pelas constituições dos nossos países. A economia verde, que defendem os capitalistas, ameaça gravemente este nosso direito, por meio de políticas públicas que priorizam obras de produção e infraestrutura, grandes empreendimentos, sem considerar o nosso direito à consulta prévia. São inúmeras as grandes obras que invadem os nossos territórios no galope do desenvolvimento insustentável. As hidrelétricas nos rios da Amazônia, a Transposição do São Francisco, o agronegócio no Centro-Oeste, as Pequenas Centrais Hidrelétricas no sul do país, a criminalização das nossas lideranças que lutam por justiça, o Projeto TIPNIS na Bolívia, o Plano Puebla-Panamá, aliados à truculência dos governos e seus aparatos militares, vem perpetuando o sofrimento aos povos indígenas. É preciso denunciar essa violência, bem como construir alternativas que provoquem mudanças. Os governantes precisam de uma nova mentalidade para salvar o planeta. Para isso é importante estarmos engajados em nossa participação na RIO + 20. O Acampamento Terra Livre será o nosso espaço de discussão e deliberação de propostas que serão encaminhadas aos representantes mundiais.

COMO FUNCIONARÁ O ACAMPAMENTO TERRA LIVRE

O Acampamento Terra Livre será essa grande aldeia de todos os povos. De 17 a 22 de junho reuniremos as lideranças do Brasil, da Bacia Amazônica, da América Central e dos Andes. Estimamos a participação de 1220 indígenas só do Brasil, aliados aos parentes dos outros países, trataremos juntos de questões globais que afetam diretamente os nossos territórios e comunidades, como: Biodiversidade, produtos transgênicos, REDD, mudança climática, Gestão Ambiental e Territorial, Grandes Empreendimentos,Repartição de benefícios a partir da demanda indígena – Acesso a políticas e programas; Fortalecimento da produção indígena e, em especial Economia Verde. Como defendido no Grande Encontro Pan-Amazônico, a Cumbre de los Bosques, evento internacional que aconteceu no ano passado em Manaus, promovido pela COIAB, em parceria com a COICA, a Economia Verde é uma nova ferramenta do capitalismo para explorar os nossos territórios. Um verdadeiro engodo, travestido de politicas para as florestas, em projetos que se dizem sustentáveis, quando na verdade só contribuem para a depredação, o desmatamento, a degradação, por parte de minérios, hidrelétricas, agronegócio, estradas, entre outros. Como infraestrutura no Acampamento, contaremos com (01 tenda para auditório, 01 tenda para convivência, 30 tendas grandes para alojamento, colchonetes, redário para 200 redes, alimentação, som, banheiros, sanitários, água potável para beber, água para banho, iluminação, transporte interno dentro do espaço do Aterro e linha para a Conferência Oficial, gratuitos. A nossa participação na Rio +20, não se restringirá ao ATL. É importante inscrevermos nossas lideranças na Conferência Oficial, para fazerem as devidas intervenções. Também é válida a nossa participação nos stands para exposições diversas de materiais de divulgação e produtos indígenas. Para de fato garantirmos uma massiva participação do movimento indígena organizado, é fundamental já começar as articulações e mobilizações de parcerias (governos municipais e estaduais, ONGs, Ministérios da Cultura, MDA, MDS, Direitos Humanos e FUNAI). O momento é de luta, vamos juntar nossas forças em uma grande aliança pela igualdade e justiça social. 20 ANOS DEPOIS DA CÚPULA DA TERRA – A ECO 92 Em 1992 aconteceu no Rio de Janeiro, um grande evento de líderes mundiais por ocasião da segunda Conferência Mundial para o Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento (que ficou conhecida como Eco-92) teve como um de seus resultados a formulação de documentos muito importantes. Porém, muitos dos termos desses documentos ainda não foram colocados em prática. Isso por tratarem de questões que estabelecem mudanças no comportamento dos países em relação ao meio ambiente. Essas mudanças deveriam ser implementadas tanto pelos países ricos quanto pelos chamados “países em desenvolvimento”. Considerada como o resultado mais importante da Eco-92, a Agenda 21, documento assinado por 179 países naquela ocasião, é um texto chave com as estratégias que devem ser adotadas para a sustentabilidade. Já adotada em diversas cidades por todo o mundo, inclusive através de parcerias e de intercâmbio de informações entre municipalidades, esse compromisso se desenrola no âmbito da cooperação e do compromisso de governos locais. Leva em conta, principalmente, as especificidades e as características particulares de cada localidade, de cada cidade, para planejar o que deve ser desenvolvimento sustentável em cada uma delas.

Is the UN process thoroughly illegitimate at this point?

Saturday, May 26th, 2012
Is the UN process thoroughly illegitimate at this point?
Statement by EU Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard on the conclusion of the climate change talks in Bonn

Parties to the UNFCCC met in Bonn over the last two weeks for its mid-year climate change talks. Commissioner Hedegaard made the following statement as the session concluded:

”The European Union is almost the only player taking a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and so keeping it alive. Because we believe climate change needs to be addressed in a legally-binding international framework, we are willing to do this, even when other major economies are at present only willing to enter into voluntary commitments.

But – and it is a big but – we need other major economies and significant emitters to play ball. The world cannot afford that a few want to backtrack from what was agreed in Durban only five months ago. Durban was – and is – a delicately balanced package where all elements must be delivered at the same pace. It is not a pick and choose menu.

It is very worrisome that attempts to backtrack have been so obvious and time-consuming in the Bonn talks over the last two weeks. Regrettably, only procedure, no substance was discussed.

This week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has reported that global emissions have reached their highest ever level. At the same time, in Bonn, some of the world’s largest emitters have wasted too much energy in trying to move backwards rather than in securing progress. This is not just irresponsible. It is untenable for a UNFCCC process that wants to remain relevant – the only process the world has that everybody says they support.

It is good that a significant group of developed as well as developing countries that share a wish to secure and deliver ambition in the end broke the deadlock in Bonn. But it is frankly too little and it is getting very late. Given the urgency of the problem, it is disturbing to watch climate negotiations moving at a pace that is clearly not going to deliver the necessary results in Doha. This is clearly in nobody’s interest”

Reports on Police Shootings in Paniai gold mining area

Friday, May 25th, 2012

INDONESIA: Security forces, Police Mobile Brigade (BRIMOB) open fire and shot dead a young tribal leader and injured 4 other civilians in Degewo, Paniai District, West Papua, 15 May 2012

On 15 May 2012, Indonesian Police Mobile Brigade shot dead a young tribal leader Melkianus Kegepe and injured 4 others indigenous people of Wolani tribe, Degeuwo, in a billiard room in Lokasi Emas 45 (the gold panning location), Degewo, Paniai District, West Papua.

Melkianus Kegepe was shot in the side of his chest, with the bullet exiting through the right side. Kegepe died at the crime scene.
The other victims who were brutally shots are Amos Kegepe, who was hit by three bullets, when 2 shots hit his left leg and 1 shot hit his right leg and went through his calf. He suffered of broken leg and was evacuated to Nabire Public hospital. Yulianus Wagepa was shot in the back, with the bullet remaining in his body. Selpius Kegepe was shot three times, the first time to his right arm, the second to his chest and the third penetrated his right hip and exited at the back. Lukas Tobeta was shot in the stomach. On 16 May 2012, at 10.00am (local Papua time), Amos was evacuated to Siriwini Hospital, Nabire, West Papua.

Chronology of the incident:

15 May 2012
At 5.30pm (Papua local time), Selpius Kegepe, Lukas Tobeta, Amos Kegepe and Yulianus Wagepa went down from Lokasi Emas 99 to Lokasi Emas 45 in purpose to play Billiard. Melkianus Kegepe will follow them later.

At 6.00pm, they arrived in the Billiard room in Lokasi Emas 45 and went to meet Mrs. Yona (an Indonesian Sanger woman from Sulawesi), they asked for billiard balls but Yona refused and asked them to pay for the balls first. The victims told her that she let them play and they will pay after that. Mrs. Yona didn’t want to give the balls because they hadn’t yet paid. While the 4 young men were still arguing with Mrs. Yona, Melkianus Kegepe arrived in the crime scene. Melkianus just stood in the doorway and watched them.
The victims got the balls themselves (they knew where the balls were kept) and started playing. While the four young Wolani men started playing, Mrs. Yona called the Mobile Brigade (BRIMOB) Commander in Lokasi Emas 99 (gold painted location 99) which not far from Lokasi Emas 45 (the crime scene). After making the call, Mrs. Yona went into the Billiard room and turn off the lights. The Victims asked her, “sister, why did you turn off the lights, we will pay you, won’t we?” Then they started arguing again when the BRIMOB entering the room at around 7pm.

At 7.00pm, BRIMOB troops arrive in the crime scene led by their commander, immediately the commander pulled his pistol out and shot dead Melkianus Kegepe who was standing and watching from the doorway. He died in the crime scene. The BRIMOB troops responded immediately to this shot by their commander by shooting at the other young West Papuan men. Amos Kegepe was shot two times in his left leg and the third one went through his right calf. Selpius Kegepe was shot in three different parts of his body; the first bullet hit his right arm, the second bulled hit and went through his chest and the third bullet penetrated his right hip and went out through his back side. Lukas Tobeta was shot and the bullet pierced his abdomen.

Identity of the Victims:
1. Name: Melkianus Kegepe (a young tribal leader)
Age: 23 years old
Sex: Male
Marital Status: Married
Religion: Christian (Protestant)
Suffered: A Bullet shot went through his ribs cage (Dead)

2. Name: Selvius Kegepe
Age: 22 years old
Sex: Male
Marital status: Single
Religion: Christian (Protestant)
Suffered: 3 bullets wounds (of 3 bullet shots; in his right arm, chest and hip)
No more information about his fate after the shooting.

3. Name: Amos Kegepe
Age: 22 years old
Sex: Male
Marital status: Single
Religion: Christian (Protestant)
Suffered: Bullet wounds and broken left leg (3 bullet shots; 2 shots in his left leg and 1 shot in his right leg)

4. Name: Lukas Tekepe
Age: 20 years old
Sex: Male
Marital Status: Single
Religion: Christian (Protestant)
Suffered: Bullet wound (a bullet pierced his abdomen)

5. Name: Yulianus Wagepa
Age: 24 years old
Sex: Male
Marital Status: Single
Suffered: Bullet wound in his back (the bullet still stuck in his body)

Report from the Police
After the shooting the police admitted that they shot at the victims because they were drunk and tried to carry away the guns from Brimob police.

Report from the victims and local witnesses
The victims said they were not drunk, and they had not used alcohol. They said they only went there to play billiards, but the owner (Mrs. Yona) didn’t want to give them the balls and they started to argument with her, while they are arguing they heard the sound of gun shot and wereg shot quickly after. They said that the Indonesian police (Brimob) protected prostitutes and the Billiards place as well in that location. The protection for those kinds of business was the reason for them as indigenous West Papuans to be shot by Brimob. All victims are from Wolani tribe, who are just becoming known to others because of the gold in their land. They are new to such as the new business and the modern live in that area after Indonesia security forces brought in outsiders to do gold paining and opened all small local businesses illegally against the ownership of the indigenous people in that area. Indonesian security forces have been protecting all migrants and their illegal businesses in that area, especially, those who are doing gold panning and running business illegally in that location.

It was also reported that the same shooting incidents had happened a couple of times in that Regency.
In 2009, SEPANYA ANOKA was shot in his tight by Brimob apparatus in Lokasi Emas Tayaga (the gold paining location).

In January 2012, MATIUS TENOYE was shot to dead by the Brimob apparatus from Bayabiru on the Bridge of Degewo River. His dead body was carried away by the strong currents of the river, and not found till now.

Background information on illegal Mining and security forces involvement in Degeuwo
Small-scale gold mining activities in Degeuwo are carried out illegally by non-Papuans, as they are not in possession of any legal licenses; nonetheless, the profit is reasonably significant. However, the Papuan Police send officers from Papua Police Mobile Brigade to guard the mine sites, mining activities and secure the facilities owned by non-Papuans. Police officers are also known to provide security services for the non-Papuans who established their own businesses, including: kiosks, billiard halls, selling of alcohol, gambling, karaoke locations, bars and massage parlors that offer women sex workers.
For the local people, the official tasks of the Police Mobile Brigade officers being assigned and positioned in Degeuwo are:
1. Guarding and providing security for the gold extracting companies, their activities and their facilities in Degeuwo;
2. Guarding and providing security for the non-Papuan People/immigrants in Degeuwo.
3. Providing security in Degeuwo where the migrants are making businesses for living.
4. Intimidating the Indigenous West Papuans of Degeuwo (local community).
For the local Indigenous people, the presence of Indonesian security forces being a live treating for them, most of the time indigenous in that location were shot to dead with the stereotyping as drunken men, OPM members, and/ or if they would carry away the guns.
Actually, the Wolani people are just being known because of their land in Degewo that rich in gold, the local indigenous there just entering the outside style of live when their gold attracted the outsiders to enter their land, especially, the Indonesian security forces and immigrants from Indonesia.
In 2009, Haji Ari (a Muslim non Papuan) issued a statement to Indonesian security forces that if the local Indigenous people in Degewo make troubles, they should be shot to dead and he is ready to pay Indonesian security forces.

Reported by Yones Douw (Nabire Pania)
Translated and edited by IPAHR, Australia

Paula Makabory, IPAHR comments on ‘development and militarism in West Papua

“Throughout West Papua the Indonesian security forces are using repressive actions against unarmed civilians of West Papua, especially where there is connection to the fringe businesses linked to the security forces (such as Prostitution, illegal Gold panning, Sandal Woods collection, timber logging, selling Alcohol, etc.) This kind of state violent intervention forces the problems of unregulated development onto the civilian and indigenous population.” Paula Makabory said today.

“The reports about the killings and shootings in Degeuwo, Paniai District have been increasing since this area being occupied by large Indonesia security forces and migrants for economic benefits. Degeuwo region is famous with its pure gold in its land and the goldrush which is occurring there. To increase access to the gold resources the military and police forces and the outsiders threatening the right of life of the land owners, who are stigmatized, as trouble makers or separatists, for simply making an argument or standing up for their human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights.”

Paula Makabory commented, “Indonesian government is trying to introduce their new policy in West Papua, namely the Acceleration Unit of Development of Papua and West Papua Provinces (UP4B) but what have happened all over West Papua showing that GOI is not serious about building any peace and democracy in the West Papua. Instead, there are many tortures, killings and mysterious deaths of the indigenous Papuans, the land is being occupied by large amount of Indonesia security forces. In the recent years, there are more tortures and killings in the Middle Mountains area, from Paniai to Puncak Jaya, West Papua. West Papua and Indonesia civilians become a fresh target by armed groups, for both State backed militias and Indonesian security forces.”

“The most development within UP4B are large groups of security forces in West Papua to combat the Guerillas, OPM groups and civilians who being suspected as separatist including environmental and human rights activists. This situation and condition in West Papua land today showing the political history of West Papua back in 1962-recently, where the same Indonesian Government has promised to develop West Papua but the facts, they betrayed the West Papuan right to Self-Determination (with the helps from Australia, USA, and Dutch) and launched military campaigning that have taken more than 100,000 of lives of Indigenous West Papuans. The West Papuans with the support from Guerillas groups have asked for a peace negotiation in International mediate setting agenda to find a way to stop the long standing conflicts in West Papua, but there is no response from SBY government until now, Papua Peace Networks (JDP=Jaringan Damai Papua) led by Fr. Neles Tebay has asked for a peace dialogue between West Papua representatives and Indonesian government but nothing has happened to this day.”

Paula Makabory also said, “Since 1960s, West Papuans have been standing up to challenge the International community and government about their political right as a nation in a legal matter. Many Papuans experienced many forms of human rights violence, murder, mysterious deaths, disappearances, rapes, arbitrary detention, extrajudicial killings, summary executions, and many others. The root of the problems and long standing conflicts in West Papua is the lack of political status of West Papua New Guinea (West Papua) as a nation within Unitary Republic of Indonesia.”

“In many cases, what the Indonesian security forces commanders see as ‘separatism’ is the West Papuan people trying to give expression to their basic Human Rights’. Indonesia gives no space in West Papua for difference in political opinion and any expression of the Rights to Self-Determination is severely repressed.”

Paula Makabory concluded, “Recently, West Papuans have been crying out for direct International intervention. There must be a constant access for independent international observers in West Papua. Indonesia government and its security forces should not restrict access by International agencies and foreign media to West Papua. The Indonesian Government must be convinced to withdraw its repressive security forces from West Papua.”

Paula Makabory
Institute of Papuan Advocacy and Human Rights (IPAHR), Australia
Mobile: +61 423 451 540

Movimiento indígena andino continúa construyendo propuestas hacia Río+20 Mañana se inicia en Lima el II Encuentro Regional “Glaciares, Agua y Biodiversidad”.

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Las propuestas andinas deben estar presentes en Río+20, porque en la Cordillera de los Andes está más del 90% de los glaciares tropicales del mundo y la mayor variedad en el mundo de zonas naturales, biodiversidad, formaciones geológicas, hidrológicas y climáticas. Por ello, como parte de su proceso de preparación y construcción de propuestas hacia la Conferencia de Naciones Unidas sobre Desarrollo Sostenible, la Coordinadora Andina de Organizaciones Indígenas (CAOI) realizará en Lima, los días 23 y 24 de mayo, el II Encuentro Regional hacia Río+20 “Glaciares, Agua y Biodiversidad”.

Se trata de la segunda actividad regional que la CAOI realiza para colocar los problemas y las propuestas de los pueblos indígenas andinos en la agenda de Río+20. La primera se realizó también Lima, los días 14 y 15 de marzo, y en él se construyeron los aportes de los pueblos indígenas andinos para el Borrador Cero de El futuro que deseamos, documento que será aprobado por los Estados en la Conferencia de Naciones Unidas sobre Desarrollo Sostenible. El próximo encuentro será en Quito, Ecuador, del 4 al 7 de junio, en el Seminario “Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas y Cambio Climático”.

En este proceso, la CAOI, frente al grave retroceso de los glaciares andinos, fuentes de agua para las grandes ciudades de la región, considera indispensable insistir en la importancia de contar con una política de parte de los Estados de la región andina para garantizar la protección de las glaciares y la biodiversidad, y, con ello la vida de las poblaciones que habitan en los Andes.

Uno de los aportes de los pueblos indígenas andinos al Borrador Cero, consensuado en el taller de marzo en Lima, señala precisamente: “Nos comprometemos a implementar medidas efectivas para la conservación de las fuentes hídricas, glaciares, páramos y cabeceras de cuenca; a acordar acciones para garantizar tanto la seguridad como la soberanía alimentaria; y a implementar políticas claras de bioseguridad”.

El II Encuentro Regional hacia Río+20 “Glaciares, Agua y Biodiversidad” contará con la participación de expertos en temas de glaciares y biodiversidad andina, tanto de instituciones estatales como de la sociedad civil. Asistirán delegaciones de las organizaciones integrantes de la CAOI de Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia y Perú, con el objetivo de aportar elementos indispensables para diseñar estrategias de incidencia y acciones concretas frente a Río+20 y más allá de dicha Conferencia.

El Encuentro concluirá con una plenaria en la que se elaborará una Declaración de los Pueblos Indígenas Andinos para la protección de los glaciares y de la biodiversidad andina.

Lima, 22 de mayo del 2012,

Comunicaciones CAOI

Carta dos Estudantes Indígenas do Médio Xingu (Altamira, Belo Monte)

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

click here: Carta dos Estudantes Indígenas do Médio Xingu

At UN, Indigenous Displaced from GA Hall for Economists & Bankers, from Qatar

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

By one of the only critical journalists from UN headquarters:
Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 16 — With the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in town, the UN General Assembly Hall had long been booked for their event on Thursday, May 17. Then the indigenous were unceremoniously displaced again, this time so that a “High Level Event” on the economy can take its place in the GA Hall.

A number of Permanent Representatives, mostly but not only from Latin America, complained to Inner City Press, blaming the President of the General Assembly, who they called “the Qatari.” It was noted that among the participants in this High Level on the Economy event is Qatar Central Bank, and Doha Bank Group.

Soon came this announcement:

“Please note that there has been a last minute change of venue for the opening segment of the HLTD on the State of the World Economy from the ECOSOC Chamber to the GA Hall.”

So Inner City Press replied to the PGA’s spokesperson:

“I’m hearing complaints by indigenous groups that they got bounced from the GA Hall tomorrow for this — can you comment? They (indigenous, some Latin diplomats) say they had the GA for a long time, just “thrown out” now – true? ”

After that, yet more Latin Permanent Representatives complained to Inner City Press, describing a meeting with the PGA’s chief of staff, at which it was argued that the High Level on the Economy participants would need spaces for bilaterals. This argument was described as “laughable.”

Then came this response:

Subject: Re: Question: were indigenous “bounced” from GA Hall tomorrow? If so, why?
From: Spokesperson of the PGA
Date: Wed, May 16, 2012 at 7:50 PM
To: Matthew Lee [at] InnerCityPress.com

It is incorrect Matthew for you to use the phrase “thrown out”. The change of venue was done simply for security and logistical reasons. There is a long list of Speakers in the opening segment. They are accompanied by their delegations and the GA hall is the only venue big enough to accommodate all the participants and their delegations. Additionally, we received requests from several missions for access to the press corps accompanying their officials to the venue of the opening segment, and this access is not possible at ECOSOC.

In fact, a representative group of indigenous leaders has met in our office with the Chef de Cabinet and his Deputy, who explained to them the reasoning behind the switch of venues. Additionally, the PGA is scheduled to give opening remarks at the Commemoration of the 5th Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Out of respect, we’ll headline it “displaced” rather than “thrown out.” While it is not clear how this will go down with the complaining Latin and other Permanent Representatives, at least the PGA will speak to the indigenous group — many have complained that Ban Ki-moon has yet to. Watch this site.

No more evictions! Indigenous Peoples in Guatemala in defense of nature, lands and territories.

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Guatemala/Netherlands 11 May 2012. Extractive industries, renewable energy infrastructure and agribusiness stand behind the violent land grabbing and mass evictions in Guatemala. Carbon Trade Watch denounces this in the report No More Evictions!

In response to protests against the construction of a hydroelectric dam the government of Guatemala on May 1st declared a “state of emergency” in Santa Cruz Barillas, effectively suspending most of the fundamental rights of local residents, including the right to community consultations. [1] Communities in San José del Golfo blockaded the entrance of machinery into the gold and silver mine El Tambor [2] and four oil fields in the Petén area are under bid. [3] Meanwhile, the Polochic valley continues to be covered by sugar cane, African palm and rubber plantations, proposed hydroelectric projects and mining concessions. [4]

Lazar Konforti, author of the report, denounces: “In a case, pick-up trucks filled with private mining security and police forcibly evicted the Lote Ocho community, razing their homes with chainsaws. Eleven women from Lote Ocho report that they were gang raped by groups of up to 12 men as they tried to defend their homes. Due to police participation in the raid, the women fear making an official complaint to the authorities. Impunity and violence are severe problems in Guatemala.”

Emerging and ongoing land struggles came to the national attention last March with the Indigenous and peasants march in defence of water and Mother Earth, when several thousand people marched 214-kilometre into the capital to demand a solution to some of the most pressing problems. The March also condemned the violent persecutions and the criminalization of dissent and social movements.

Joanna Cabello, researcher from Carbon Trade Watch affirms: “Hydroelectric dams are popping up throughout the region under the false pretence that renewable energy equals sustainability. Carbon markets are allowing corporations to further profit from these large-scale dams while legitimizing environmentally destructive practices at the expense of local communities.”

For interviews, please contact Lazar Konforti (lazar.konforti@gmail.com) or Joanna Cabello (joanna@carbontradewatch.org).


Norway: NATO Rehearses For War In The Arctic

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

by Rick Rozoff, Voltaire Network | Chicago (USA)  | 23 April 2012

Some excerpts:

To the world’s military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources and long-dreamed-of sea-lanes. Rick Rozoff scrutinizes the feverish military activity taking place in the High North, under the official label of a joint Norwegian-NATO-Partnership for Peace endeavor, including preparedness drills against terrorist threats, mass demonstrations…and spies coming in from the cold!

……

The Helsingin Sanomat, which reported 215 Finnish soldiers participating in the exercise, characterized Cold Response 2012 as “a major military training exercise being held in the far north of Norway [in which] armed forces from 14 nations are protecting civilians in the same way as last year in Libya (including, like, using depleted uranium weapons? also see and see)are fighting against the local opposition just as in Afghanistan.”

The newspaper also quoted a Finnish military media and communications officer stating, ”It would be silly to rehearse a situation if it were not realistic.”