Archive for September, 2012

Statement of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, upon concluding his visit to his visit to Namibia from 20-28 September 2012

Friday, September 28th, 2012

28 September 2012

“In my capacity as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, I am today concluding my official visit to Namibia to examine the situation of minority indigenous peoples in the country. Over the last nine days, I have travelled to various parts of Namibia, meeting with representatives and members of various San groups, including the Ju/’hoansi San in Tsumkwe; the Khwe San living in the Bwabwata National Park in the Caprivi and Kavango regions; and the Hi//om San living in and around the Etosha National Park. I also met with representatives of the Ovahimba, Ovazemba and other indigenous peoples in Opuwo. I want to express my gratitude to the indigenous people with whom I met for inviting me into their communities and their lands, and for sharing with me their concerns and their aspirations. Additionally, in the capital city of Windhoek, I met with representatives of the Rehoboth Baster and the Nama people. “Also in Windhoek I met with Government representatives, including from the Office of the Prime Minister and its Division of San Development; the Ministry of Environment and Tourism; the Ministry of Justice; the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement; and the Ministry of Education. I am grateful to the Government for agreeing to my to visit Namibia and for the openness it demonstrated in allowing me to carry out my work freely and independently. While in Windhoek I also met with the Ombudsman, and with representatives of several non-governmental organizations and the various agencies of the United Nations. I appreciate the information they provided and their assistance in the organization of the visit. “In accordance with my mandate from the United Nations Human Rights Council, my examination of the situation of indigenous peoples in Namibia proceeds in light of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2007 with the affirmative vote of Namibia. In accordance with the Declaration, indigenous peoples have the right to maintain their distinct identities and cultures as a basis of their development and place in the world, to pursue their own destinies under conditions of equality, and to have secure rights over lands and resources, with due regard for their traditional patterns of use and occupancy. “Like many other countries around the world that have experienced European colonization and waves of migration, indigenous groups that are in the minority in Namibia have suffered injustices in the past that leave them disadvantaged, to varying degrees, in the present. The groups with whom I met shared the common sentiment that, relative to other tribes in the country, they have not seen the promises and benefits brought by Namibia’s independence in 1990 fulfilled for them. These groups have expressed to me a strong desire for greater inclusion in decision-making at all levels, to be able to genuinely set their own priorities for development, and to regain or strengthen rights over lands and natural resources, particularly lands to which they retain a cultural attachment. “I am pleased to see that Namibia has dedicated attention to the development of San and other minority indigenous communities at a high level, and I have observed some encouraging Government initiatives. Overall, however, I have detected a lack of coherent Government policy that assigns a positive value to the distinctive identities and practices of these indigenous peoples, or that promotes their ability to survive as peoples with their distinct cultures intact in the fullest sense, including in relation to their traditional lands, authorities, and languages. “With respect to the San peoples in particular, who were the primary focus of my visit, I recognize that, especially in recent years, the Government has entered into some innovative arrangements with San tribes through which they have been able to increase their control over management of land areas and derive some substantial benefits. These include the conservancy arrangements in Tsumkwe and tourism-related concessions in Bwabwata National Park. In full consultation with the affected peoples, these kinds of innovative arrangements should be expanded and strengthened, along with greater efforts to ensure San peoples’ security of land tenure, which is still in places that I visited all too vulnerable. For example, in Tsumkwe, where the Hi//om San have recognized communal lands, outsiders have been have been erecting fences and encroaching on these lands, a problem that apparently is worsening without an adequate response by the State. “There are still also numerous San communities that were entirely dispossessed of their lands prior to independence, and those lands are now in the hands of the State and private landowners. These communities face serious social and economic conditions with scarce employment opportunities. I met with representatives of the Hi//om San tribe in Oshivelo, for example, who have for decades been living on a plot of land behind the police station as they await their long-promised lands, after having been evicted from their traditional territory in what is now the Etosha National Park in the 1950s. “In recent years the Government has embarked on a resettlement program that involves purchasing land for San and other groups. These resettlement initiatives appear to have positive elements and potential, which require further examination. However, I have learned that more needs to be done to identify adequate lands for resettlement and to develop land-use planning arrangements, in consultation with the affected San communities, as well as to provide ongoing support for the sustainable development of resettled communities. “In this connection, I believe there needs to be a reevaluation of the adequacy of measures taken in response to the removal of Hi//om people from the Etosha National Park prior to independence. I acknowledge that the purchase of farms adjacent to the park for the resettlement of some Hi//om people may be a step in right direction to provide redress for their removal from the park. However, as is the case with other resettled communities, these San communities require support in order to ensure that they can sustain themselves and thrive in the lands to which they have been resettled. Additionally, close consideration needs to be given to the unresolved claims of the Hi//om San people to lands within the Etosha National Park, as well as to their expressed desire to participate in the management of that park. Further, San people who today reside in the park should not be coerced into leaving. “All of the groups with whom I met uniformly expressed to me their strong desire for increased educational opportunities, but identified numerous barriers in this connection. Despite the guarantee in the Constitution that primary schooling be provided free of charge, and the commendable policy of the Ministry of Education to provide early schooling in indigenous languages, I have heard numerous accounts that these directives are not being effectively implemented on the ground. I also heard across the country that San children have been reluctant to attend school because they face discriminatory treatment by teachers and bullying by peers. I am concerned about reports that I heard in Opuwo that Ovahimba children are forced to cut their hair and remove their traditional dress in order to be allowed access to the public schools. “Finally, concerns were expressed among all the groups with whom I met that many communities do not have recognized traditional authorities. In absence of such recognition, minority indigenous communities are often placed under the jurisdictions of chiefs of neighboring dominant tribes, who make decisions on behalf of the minority communities. In this regard, I heard from unrecognized Ovahimba chiefs that they have not been informed about mining activities taking place on lands where the Ovahimba communities graze their livestock, an activity that is central to their livelihoods and culture. The lack of recognition of traditional chiefs is, in accordance with Namibian law, related to a lack of recognition of the minority indigenous tribes’ communal lands. I will further examine this issue the other issues I have mentioned as I prepare my report. “In the following weeks, I will be reviewing the information I have received during the visit in order to develop a report to evaluate the situation of minority indigenous peoples in Namibia. This report will be made public and will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council. I hope that that this report will be of use in the search for solutions to the ongoing challenges that indigenous peoples in the country face, and to advance their rights in accordance with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other relevant international instruments.”

******************

To read 11 July 2011 statement from United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Ms. Catarina de Albuquerque CLICK HERE

Indigenous peoples, Namibia: 150 KUNENE CHIEFS MEET UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR

Friday, September 28th, 2012

By TJIKUNDA KULUNGA*

TRADITIONAL leaders in the Kunene Region handed over declarations to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People, James Anaya, on Wednesday.
In the declarations, the close to 150 chiefs and other traditional leaders demanded that the Government of Namibia recognizes those still-unrecognized chiefs.

The traditional leaders also appealed to the UN to assist them in stopping the awarding of the planned 20 hectares of land to individuals by the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement in communal areas that belong to traditional communities.

Among the attendees was the chief of the OvaZemba Community, Jonas Tjikulya, who said his tribesmen, women and children are subjected by force under the leadership of other tribes, specifically the Aakolonghadi Traditional Authority.

Rev. Daniel Muharukua and Tjikunda Kulunga on the way to Himba chief human rights meeting (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Rev. Daniel Muharukua and Tjikunda Kulunga on the way to Himba chief human rights Declaration meeting 2012 (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

“My people are denied recognition of their own traditional authority, making them landless and without any jurisdiction or power over their villages. People who are ruling our land and resources are not from our villages, and they do not regard us in their decisions that most of the time affects us,” he charged.

Tjikulya said by way of example that a traditional chief of another area would give a letter to settle a person in his village without any consultation, and when they ask, the reply is that the ‘Government-recognized traditional chief’ had given such permission.

He said the OvaZemba communities in Namibia are living under oppression.

Furthermore, the names of the villages and towns in the territory of the Ovazemba communities are being changed, and they are denied resources like water and electricity, which are even being sourced from their areas.

“Electricity is coming from the Ruacana River in Namibia, but residents of Ruacana and the villages of the OvaZemba and OvaHimba communities which are about 10 kilometers from the hydro-electricity power station are not having electricity to date,” he noted.

He added that water is also sourced from the same Kunene River. Water canals have been laid from there to as far as Outapi and beyond, but his people there do not have access to potable water.

“We are still using water from the wells dug in the traditional way, and getting water from the flowing river,” added Tjikulya.

Other chiefs weighed in about the illegal fencing of communal areas and mining activities in traditional areas of their jurisdiction, where traditional leaders are not informed about these activities.

The traditional leaders also spoke of their children in traditional attire who are not well catered for in the education system when it comes to higher education.

The Ovazemba community further stated that their children are forced to be taught in Oshiwambo in their area at primary school level or sometimes in Otjiherero, which is also a disadvantage to the development of the OvaZemba language.

At the same meeting, the traditional leaders affirmed their resistance to the construction of the Orokawe hydro-electricity dam that is being pursued by the Angolan and Namibian government.

Anaya said he would prepare a report and recommendations that he would give to the Namibian government as well as the United Nations soon.

He added that he hoped that there would be a change in some of the problems faced by the community after he would have recommended what needed to be improved by the Namibian government to make the lives of the people better.

The Namibian reported earlier that he would be holding a media briefing on September 28 in Windhoek to share what he had discovered during his 10-day visit to different indigenous communities in the country.

*Courtesy: The Namibian online, 28.09.2012

************************
EARTH PEOPLES note: read James Anaya’s statement

HIMBA+ZEMBA updates about UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya visit in Namibia -26 September 2012

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

By Rebecca Sommer

Traditional Himba leader Chief Kapika signing the Himba invitation to James Anaya (Photo © Rebecca Sommer, 2012)

Traditional Himba leader Chief Kapika signing the Himba invitation to James Anaya (Photo © Rebecca Sommer, 2012)

The traditional Himba and Zemba leaders of Namibia informed that the meeting with James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous people, that took place in Opuwo, Namibia, on the 26 Sept 2012, went well and as they had envisioned and hoped for. The room was packed with Himba and Zemba, patiently waiting for him to arrive.

At the beginning of this year, Himba leaders wrote an invitation letter to  James Anaya, requesting him to come for a country visit in order to investigate the human rights violations against the semi-nomadic Himba and Zemba. In three historic Declarations, signed by the traditional chiefs of  the Ovazemba (Zemba) and Ovahimba (Himba),  a number of serious issues where raised.

They claim that the problem is that Namibia is ruled by Ovambo,  the majority tribe of Namibia, and the Himba and Zemba, a minority in the country. They explain in their Declarations why they feel that they,  a distinct people, are not only marginalized by the ruling party SWAPO, but that their way of life and culture is threatened. That their own indigenous governance system is not respected and actually disabled by the Government of Namibia – that doesn’t recognize the legitimate traditional Himba and Zemba chiefs. The Declarations cover complaints about the culturally non-appropiate educational system (they don’t want to be pressed into an old style british kind of school system, that denies their children to remain in their traditional cloths and indigenous tribal identity), the lack of Free, Prior, Informed Consent, the loss of grazing land through laws that allow privatization and fencing of communal lands so important for the roaming semi-nomadic cattle, sheep and goat herders, the lack of land rights and their refusal to accept the planned dam in Orokawe, among many other issues that few tourists that are visiting Namibia are aware about.

“After the Special Rapporteur introduced himself, Himba was given the time to read the DECLARATION BY THE TRADITIONAL LEADERS OF KAOKOLAND IN NAMIBIA, afterwards Ovazemba read their DECLARATION BY THE ZEMBA PEOPLE OF NAMIBIA, and at last the regional Epupa DECLARATION OF THE MOST AFFECTED OVAHIMBA, OVATWA, OVATJIMBA AND OVAZEMBA AGAINST THE OROKAWE DAM IN THE BAYNES MOUNTAIN was read as well.

“No one was against those three Declarations in the packed room, because all the participants were those who are part and parcel of the Declarations. Himba and Zemba are united in our demand and struggle for our human rights.

 Muhapika Munjombara signing the Epupa Declaration against the Orokawe dam (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Muhapika Munjombara signing the Epupa Declaration against the Orokawe dam (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

In a final ceremonial gesture, the only female traditional Himba chief, a position that she inherited from her father and former chief, handed the Declaration of the Himba Leaders of Kaokoland to Anaya, a Zemba Woman was handing over the Ovazemba Declaration and Mutjituika Mutambo from Omuhonga was handing over the Epupa Declaration.” ” said Daniel Muharukua, a well known Himba human rights advocate.

“This was very wonderful, the way we wanted it to be. I think this was tauching the heart of the Special Rapporteur. The discussion was just around the Declarations, because the Special Rapporteur wanted to know how those points in our Declarations affected us, people were giving the reasons why we are negatively affected. When the people were handing over the Declarations, the whole crowd was standing and clabing hands.

Ovahimba Elder (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Ovahimba Elder (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

I think he realized that our Declaration came really from our hearts.

When the Special Reportuer said his concluding words, he thanked the Himba and Zemba people, acknowledged that we came in such large numbers from far away, and that he was pleased to see that we are active to fight for our rights. The last words he said was that we touched his heart, and that when he will be writing his report, we will be reflected in his eyes. He promised to write the report and spreading our situation to the international community.” Muharukua added.

Sadly, the Himba and Zemba won’t be able to attend and participate at the press conference that will take place in Namibia’s capital Windhoeck. I bet, who will attend the press conference are those NGO’s that claim to represent Himba and Zemba.

“We will not able to attend, because the time was too short to arrange this journey, there is no money to take people there for the transport, food and accommodation. I am sorry for that. You know how the indigenous peoples Ovahimba and Ovazemba are living.” Muharukua ended with these words his report to Earth Peoples.

Himba women (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Himba women (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

You can read more articles about Himba and Zemba on Earth Peoples blog.
******************************************************************************
EARTH PEOPLES note: read James Anaya’s statement
******************************************************************************

Censored News – the uncensored voice for indigenous peoples celebrates its seventh year of publishing

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

By Rebecca Sommer

Who is the unbroken force behind Censored News?
Brenda Norell.
You can send your information and articles about human rights cases in english language to her. Brenda Norell’s e-mail here..

This is what Brenda submitted to Earth Peoples today:

Censored News bolts into its seventh year of publishing in October 2012. It has been a bumpy ride to keep it going. But always there are those who have no other place to post their news for a global audience. The worst offenders, like the US Border Patrol, Canadian mining corporations, the US government, and other human rights abusers are able to either co-op, or silence, most of the media.

The news reporters that can not be squelched are bought off. Then, too, some news reporters have simply just given up. The fight for truth has been too long and too exhausting for them. Others never really started the fight, relying instead on plagiarism and rewriting others hard work.

Well, that’s the bad news.

The good news is that it is a thrill to look online and see all the good hearts that are still out there doing it. And not many of them are reporters. At least not anymore. They are the warriors. They are the grassroots warriors, standing in front of trucks, locking down to heavy machinery, and saying no to the destruction of their homes, communities and the Earth.

They are the grandmother water walkers, the canoe paddlers, and those that live in uncertainty with US Border Patrol spy cameras pointed at them in the night.

They are the ones that say ‘No’ to being co-opted and being bought off. They are the ones who refuse to look the other way when there is fraud, when people are being deceived and cheated.

They are the Indigenous in Guatemala and Peru being assassinated by mining companies. They are the truth tellers at Wikileaks. They are Anonymous revealing facts in a way that no one else can.

They are all the people who can not trust the mainstream media to tell their story and get it right. They are the ones saying ‘NO!’ to corporations. They are the ones who protest the banning of books. They are the Native American youths who walk across America. They are the American Indian elders who tell their stories. They are the children who arise with hope.

They are the keepers of tradition, the defenders of sacred lands.

They are the tree sitters. They are the whistleblowers. They are the media that walk out and tell the truth. They are the revolutionaries. They are the resisters.

So, as we come to the end of six years of publishing, Censored News celebrates all of you who are out there doing it, keeping it real, and refusing to give up, for the sake of the future generations and in defense of the earth.

Thank you to all of our readers, writers, photographers and well-wishers!

Censored News began in 2006 when reporter Brenda Norrell was censored, then terminated by Indian Country Today, after serving as a longtime staff reporter. Norrell is a former reporter for Navajo Times and served as a stringer for AP and USA Today during the 18 years she lived on the Navajo Nation. She has been a news reporter in Indian country for 30 years, covering the western US, and traveling with the Zapatistas in Mexico.

The original Censored posted in 2006, with articles censored by Indian Country Today, is at News censored by Indian Country Today.

Censored News is a service to Indigenous Peoples and other grassroots people engaged in the defense of human rights and the protection of the Earth. Censored News continues with no advertising.

UN Special Rapporteur visits Namibia – Meeting with Himba, Zemba, Twa and other Indigenous Peoples

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

By Rebecca Sommer

I went from December to March 2012 to Namibia, to investigate and to document in written and in video format the human rights violations conducted by the government of Namibia against it’s indigenous peoples.

Himba Women sitting behind the Himba men, at the human rights meeting about the proposed Baynes Site dam, in Orokawe (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Himba Women sitting behind the Himba men, at the human rights meeting about the proposed Baynes Site dam, in Orokawe (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Even so I planned an entire country visit, I remained in Kaokoland, the territory of the semi-nomadic Himba (and Zemba), where I stayed in numerous villages, and held countless regional human rights meetings, that resulted in  Himba and Zemba invitation letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples,  James Anaya, and three Human Rights complaint Declarations of the Himba and Zemba. (links to the Declarations below)

The invitation letter to James Anaya, and the three Declarations where submitted to the UN Human Rights mechanisms by Earth Peoples.

Therefore I am pleased that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya,  is now visiting Namibia from 20 to 28 September 2012, to examine the situation of indigenous peoples in that country. This is the first mission to Namibia by an independent expert designated by the UN Human Rights Council to report on the rights of the indigenous peoples.

“I will examine the situation of indigenous peoples in Namibia in, among others, the areas of lands and resources, development, and social and economic rights, in light of relevant international standards including those in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 2007 with an affirmative vote by Namibia,” he said.

The Special Rapporteur will carry out meetings with representatives of the Government of Namibia and with indigenous peoples and non-governmental organizations.

Click on the LINKS below:

DECLARATION BY THE TRADITIONAL HIMBA LEADERS OF KAOKOLAND IN NAMIBIA

DECLARATION OF THE MOST DIRECTLY AFFECTED OVAHIMBA, OVATWA, OVATJIMBA AND OVAZEMBA AGAINST THE OROKAWE DAM IN THE BAYNES MOUNTAIN

DECLARATION BY THE ZEMBA PEOPLE OF NAMIBIA

Himba leader’s INVITATION LETTER to the Special Rapporteur on the rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples

PHOTOS of Himba and Zemba human rights meetings

VIDEOS of Himba indigenous peoples

Himba woman during Earth Peoples human rights training (Photo©Rebecca Sommer)

Himba woman during Earth Peoples human rights training (Photo©Rebecca Sommer)

******************************************************************************
EARTH PEOPLES note: read James Anaya’s statement
******************************************************************************

New Zealand agreement: A river gets legal standing and an independent voice

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

By Christopher Finlayson

The Crown and negotiators for Whanganui Iwi today signed a framework agreement setting out certain key elements that will form the basis for a settlement of Whanganui Iwi’s historical claims relating to the
Whanganui River, Minister for Treaty for Waitangi Negotiations
Minister Christopher Finlayson announced.

“This agreement – Tūtohu Whakatupua – is an historic event,” Mr
Finlayson said. “Whanganui River iwi have sought to protect the River
and have their interests acknowledged by the Crown through the legal
system since 1873. They pursued this objective in one of New Zealand’s
longest running court cases.

“Today’s agreement which recognises the status of the river as Te Awa
Tupua (an integrated, living whole) and the inextricable relationship
of iwi with the river is a major step towards the resolution of the
historical grievances of Whanganui Iwi and is important nationally.”

The agreement does not signify the end of the settlement, but it is a
significant step towards settlement. Matters of detail and additional
redress will be to be negotiated between the parties.

However, the agreement sets out the key matters that have been agreed
to date in the negotiations relating to the Whanganui River as whole.

Those elements include:

Recognition of the status of the Whanganui River (including its
tributaries) as Te Awa Tupua, an integrated, living whole from the
mountains to sea;
Recognition of Te Awa Tupua as a legal entity, reflecting the view of
the River as a living whole and enabling the River to have legal
standing and an independent voice;
Vesting of the Crown-owned parts of the river-bed in the name of Te Awa Tupua;
Appointment of two persons (one by the Crown and the other by the
River iwi) to a guardianship role – Te Pou Tupua – to act on behalf of
Te Awa Tupua and protect its status and health and wellbeing;
Development of a set of Te Awa Tupua values, recognising the intrinsic
characteristics of the river and providing guidance to
decision-makers; and
Development of a Whole of River Strategy by collaboration between iwi,
central and local government, commercial and recreational users and
other community groups.. The strategy will identify issues for the
river, consider ways of addressing them, and recommend actions. The
goal of the strategy will be to ensure the long-term environmental,
social, cultural and economic health and wellbeing of the river.
”This agreement recognises Whanganui Iwi’s commitment to place the
interests of the river at the centre of the settlement,” Mr Finlayson
said. “Whanganui Iwi have not sought to have their relationship with
the river defined in these settlement negotiations in terms of
ownership of the riverbed or water, but have focused on recognising
the mana of the river from which the iwi’s mana flows, and on its
future health and wellbeing.”

Today’s agreement represents a significant opportunity not only for
Whanganui Iwi, but for all who have an interest in the future of the
river. The agreements reached so far in recognising the status of the
river, appointing a river guardian, and developing river values and a
whole of river strategy advance the goals of Whanganui Iwi while also
ensuring the rights of third parties including private landowners and
public access will continue.

“Whanganui Iwi also recognise the value others place on the river and
wanted to ensure that all stakeholders and the river community as a
whole are actively engaged in developing the long-term future of the
river and ensuring its wellbeing,” said Mr Finlayson.

“That engagement process has already begun as part of the negotiation
process and Whanganui Iwi and the Crown will be working closely with
local government, other iwi and stakeholders as the remaining details
of the Te Awa Tupua framework are developed over coming months.”

The parties are working towards the goal of achieving a deed of
settlement by the end of the year which will then need to be the
subject of Cabinet approval and ratification by the members of
Whanganui Iwi.

Open Letter regarding alarming Rights Law”Ordinance 303 : Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Open Letter of the Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil) APIB

Translated from Portuguese by EARTH PEOPLES

Open Letter from APIB about the suspension of the Ordinance 303 and the government’s proposal to create a working group (WG) to discuss the constraints to demarcations of indigenous lands

The National Directorate of APIB met this week in Brasilia and issued an open letter which expresses once more its position on the suspension of Ordinance 303 and the government’s proposal to create a working group (GT) to discuss the conditions imposed on Raposa Serra do Sol, and that the AGU has unconstitutional plans regarding the extention of remaining Indian lands.

Read the letter below:

Circular APIB/005/2012

Brasília-DF, September 5, 2012.

APIB position on the suspension of Ordinance 303 and the government’s proposal to create GT to discuss the constraints/conditions

Dear relatives,

As is known to all and all, the Federal Government, through the Attorney General’s Office (AGU), published on July 17 of this year the Ordinance 303, whose purpose would be to regulate the activity of the Attorney General’s Office units in relation to institutional safeguards indigenous lands. The Ordinance is almost literally a transcription of the constraints imposed by the Federal Supreme Court (Supremo Tribunal Federal -STF) on Petition 3388-Roraima (the Raposa Serra do Sol case).

The immediate reaction of APIB was publicly express their outrage and demand the immediate and complete repeal of this authoritarian act, misguided and unconstitutional of the government because it blatantly disregards the original rights of our people, that are guaranteed by the Constitution and international instruments such as the ILO Convention 169, which is law in Brazil since 2004, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Several institutions, governmental and non-governmental organizations, personalities, organizations and social movements manifested themselves in the same direction. Special repercussions had the distinct manifestations and demonstrations from indigenous peoples and organizations in different regions of the country (Rondônia, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Amapá, Pará, Amazonas, Maranhão etc.), Including in Brasilia, where delegations coming from Bahia , Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins and Goias occupied the headquarters of the Attorney General’s Office, events that forced the government to talk with the indigenous movement at various times. All these delegations also mobilized along the following governmental organs: Ministry of Justice, Funai, Ministry of Health, Senate, House of Representatives and STF.

At these events totaled up manifestos of leaders who make up the Executive Committee of the Environmental Management Project on Indigenous Lands (GATI), former Indigenous Gef, the Forum of Chairs of the District Councils (CONDISIs) and the indigenous arm of the National Indigenous Policy ( CNPI). The plenary of the Committee, which included the governmental arm, approved a resolution that recommends to the AGU the repeal of Ordinance 303.

All demonstrations demanded the repeal of the Ordinance, ignoring the AGU’s proposal to temporarily suspend it until the 24th of September.

The fights, however, continue. Many other movements and manifestos must happen even in the south, northeast and north.

In response to actions of outrage and pressure of our people and communities requesting the repeal – the Government proposes;

1) Suspension of Ordinance 303 “until trial motion for clarification of positions against the judgment of the Supreme Court which dismissed the lawsuit on the Raposa Serra do Sol”

2) “The creation of a Working Group composed of the Ministry of Justice, AGU, Funai, and representatives of indigenous peoples, in order to discuss the conditions set out in Ordinance 303/2012 and other enabling processes dealing with land demarcation of indigenous peoples “

These proposals were formalized in writing by the Minister of Justice to a delegation of leaders from Mato Grosso on Friday, August 31.

The position APIB, that met in Brasilia from 03 to 06 September is deeply opposed to these proposals for the following reasons:

1) Just a suspension of the Ordinance 303 does not solve anything, because it maintains the latent risks of widespread land conflicts in the country. That is, it won’t end the legal political and social insecurity caused and sponsored by the landowners, agribusiness and other industries (mining, construction companies, energy sector) that are interested in our territories and their riches. The suspension won’t lead to lower the expectations of invaders that continue invading, nor will it encourage them to return our lands, including those already approved (as our lands) but are invaded.

APIB understands that the suspension only favors the government, which seeks to preserve the image of the AGU Minister Luis Inacio Adams, who is a strong candidate to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court (STF).

2) The creation of a working group (GT) to discuss the reduction of our rights, especially land rights, is absurd. To discuss constraints, away from that they have been created for the specific case of Raposa Serra do Sol, that are clearly harmful and can not be generalized to all Indigenous lands in the country. Moreover, the Supreme Court, to judge the motion of the Raposa Serra do Sol, can yet clarify and even change the conditions.

Moreover, the creation of a working group (GT) is a total inconsistency of this government, for how does it intend to consult us, if the very Ordinance 303 provides that neither our own communities nor Funai must be consulted about the occupation of our territories by (entities)units, stations and other military interventions, roads, hydroelectric dams and minerals of strategic importance.

At this stage, even the process of discussing the regulation of consultation mechanisms established by the ILO Convention 169 makes sense now.

Thus, dear relatives, APIB believes that we should follow up in mobilizing and fighting for the repeal of Ordinance 303 of the AGU. We hope and trust in the good will of all to keep us united around this common cause.

For the defense of the territorial rights of our people!

Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – APIB

(Portaria 303) Carta circular da Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Carta circular da APIB  sobre a suspensão da Portaria 303 e proposta do governo de criar grupo de trabalho (GT) para discutir as condicionantes às demarcações de Terras Indígenas

A Direção Nacional da APIB, reunida em Brasília esta semana, divulgou uma carta circular onde explicita mais uma vez sua posição sobre a suspensão da Portaria 303 e a proposta do governo  de criar um grupo de trabalho (GT) para discutir as condicionantes aplicadas à  Raposa Serra do Sol, e que a AGU pretende estender de forma inconstitucional às demais terras indígenas.

Leia a Carta  abaixo:

Circular APIB/005/2012

Brasília-DF, 05 de setembro de 2012.

Posição da APIB sobre a suspensão da Portaria 303 e proposta do governo de criar GT para discutir as condicionantes

Prezad@s parentes e parentas,

Como é de conhecimento de todos e todas, o Governo Federal, por meio da Advocacia Geral da União (AGU), publicou em 17 de julho do corrente ano a Portaria 303, cujo propósito seria normatizar a atuação das unidades desta Advocacia em relação às salvaguardas institucionais às terras indígenas. A Portaria é praticamente a transcrição literal das condicionantes instituídas pelo Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF) na Petição 3.388-Roraima (caso Raposa Serra do Sol).

A reação imediata da APIB foi manifestar publicamente o seu repúdio e exigência pela revogação imediata e integral deste ato autoritário, equivocado e inconstitucional do Governo, pois afronta de forma descarada os direitos originários dos nossos povos, garantidos pela Constituição Federal e por instrumentos internacionais como a Convenção 169 da OIT, que é lei no país desde 2004, e a Declaração da ONU sobre os direitos dos Povos Indígenas.

Diversas instituições, governamentais e não governamentais, personalidades, organizações e movimentos sociais se manifestaram no mesmo sentido. Especial repercussão tiveram as distintas manifestações e mobilizações protagonizadas por povos e organizações indígenas em distintas regiões do país (Rondônia, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Amapá, Pará,  Amazonas, Maranhão etc.), inclusive em Brasília, onde delegações vindas da Bahia, Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins e Goiás ocuparam a sede da AGU, fatos que forçaram o governo a conversar com o movimento indígena em vários momentos. Todas estas delegações se mobilizaram ainda junto aos seguintes órgãos: Ministério da Justiça, Funai, Ministério da Saúde, Senado Federal, Câmara dos Deputados e STF.

A estas manifestações somaram-se manifestos das lideranças que compõem o Comitê Diretor do Projeto de Gestão Ambiental em Terras Indígenas (GATI), antigo Gef Indígena; o Fórum de Presidentes de Conselhos Distritais (CONDISIs) e a bancada indígena da Comissão Nacional de Política indigenista (CNPI). O plenário desta Comissão, que inclui a bancada governamental, aprovou no final dos trabalhos uma resolução em que recomenda à AGU a revogação da Portaria 303.

Percebe-se, desta forma, que todas as mobilizações reivindicaram a revogação integral da Portaria, ignorando a proposta da AGU de suspendê-la temporariamente, como foi até o dia 24 de setembro.

As lutas, porém, continuam. Muitas outras mobilizações e manifestos devem acontecer ainda no sul, nordeste e norte do país.

Em resposta a estas ações de indignação e pressão dos nossos povos e comunidades visando à revogação, o Governo propõe;

1) A suspensão da Portaria  303 “até o julgamento dos embargos de declaração postos contra  a sentença do STF que julgou a ação judicial relativa à Raposa Serra do Sol.”

2) “A criação de um Grupo de Trabalho composto pelo Ministério da Justiça, AGU, Funai, e representantes dos povos indígenas, com o objetivo de discutir as condicionantes estabelecidas na Portaria 303/2012 e outras formas de viabilização de processos de demarcação de terras indígenas”

Estas propostas foram formalizadas por escrito pelo próprio ministro da justiça a uma delegação de lideranças de Mato Groso na sexta feira, 31 de agosto.

A Posição da APIB, reunida em Brasília de 03 a 06 de setembro é profundamente contrária a estas propostas pelas seguintes razões:

1) Somente a suspensão da Portaria não resolve absolutamente nada, pois manterá latente os riscos de conflitos fundiários generalizados no país. Isto é, não implicará no fim da insegurança jurídica, política e social patrocinada pelo latifúndio, o agronegócio e outros setores econômicos (mineradoras, empreiteiras, setor energético) interessados nos nossos territórios e suas riquezas. A suspensão tampouco levará à redução das expectativas dos invasores de continuar ou retornar às nossas terras, inclusive aquelas já homologadas e desintrusadas.

A APIB entende que a suspensão só favorece o governo, que busca preservar a imagem do ministro da AGU, Luis Inácio Adams, que é forte candidato a ocupar uma vaga no Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF).

2) A criação de um GT para discutir a redução dos nossos direitos, especialmente territoriais, é um absurdo. Para que discutir as condicionantes, se além de terem sido criadas para o caso específico da Raposa Serra do Sol, são claramente prejudiciais e não podem ser generalizadas a todas as terras indígenas do país. Além do mais, o STF, ao julgar os embargos de declaração da Raposa Serra do Sol, ainda poderá esclarecer e até alterar as condicionantes.

Por outro lado, a criação de um GT constitui uma incoerência total desse governo, pois como é que ele pretende nos consultar, se a própria Portaria determina que nem as nossas comunidades ou a própria Funai precisam ser consultadas a respeito da ocupação dos nossos territórios por unidades, postos e demais intervenções militares, malhas viárias, empreendimentos hidrelétricos e minerais de cunho estratégico. Nem mesmo o processo de discussão sobre a regulamentação dos mecanismos de consulta estabelecidos pela Convenção 169 da OIT faz sentido neste momento.

Dessa forma, prezados parentes, a APIB considera que devemos seguir nos mobilizando e lutando pela revogação integral da Portaria 303 da AGU. Esperamos e confiamos no bom censo de todos para nos manter unidos em torno desta causa comum.

Pela defesa do direito territorial dos nossos povos !

Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil – APIB


Civil Society Statement of Concern on the 2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in Hanoi, Viet Nam, 3-7 September 2012:

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

To: Dr. Cao Duc Phat, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Vietnam

Mr. Maxime Verhagen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, The Netherlands

Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank

Mr. Jose Graziano da Silva, Director-General, Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

Civil Society Statement of Concern on the 2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change in Hanoi, Viet Nam, 3-7 September 2012:

We, the undersigned civil society organizations from around the world, are concerned that the objectives of this Conference reflect the same flawed approach as the first Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change, held in the Hague in October 2010. The approach also regrettably continues to marginalize peasants and small-scale food producers, yet they are the ones whose livelihoods are most at risk and who most urgently need to be heard.

The central themes of the 2nd Global Conference, including “climate-smart agriculture,” “green growth” and the “landscape approach”, are heavily contested. Many civil society organizations believe these approaches have not been sufficiently considered from the perspective of peasants, small-scale producers and indigenous peoples, who are suffering the worst impacts of climate change. We remain concerned about the continued lack of transparency, participation and consultation with many governments, farmers and civil society in preparing for the Conference. We note that the “Roadmap” from the first Conference was neither endorsed by attending governments nor accepted as a binding outcome.

Address the impacts of the climate crisis on food production

The most important agenda for a conference on food security, agriculture and climate change should focus on the protection of agriculture from climate change. Climate change is already threatening the livelihoods and food security of the poor and vulnerable. The industrial model of agricultural production threatens the viability of ecosystems and contributes massively to climate change. Nothing less than a system change – towards ecological agriculture, based on principles that create healthy soils and cultivate biological diversity, and which prioritize farmers’ and traditional knowledge – is needed in the face of climate change. There is also a critical need to reverse the economic concentration of global markets – particularly for grains, livestock and food processing – that has led to unsustainable forms of industrial agriculture worldwide and the bulk of the emissions from the agriculture sector. Unfortunately, the program fails to address these necessary system changes. Instead, it appears to endorse a greater role for the private sector to invest in schemes that will commodify natural resources and disenfranchise local and indigenous communities.

A focus on adaptation

Resources must be urgently directed to adaptation, given the serious current threats posed by climate change to agriculture. Agroecology is the most important, reliable set of practices to protect yields in the face of climate change and should be supported significantly with public finance. The Conference should emphasize identified adaptation priorities of developing countries and the provision of steady and reliable public finance to developing countries that will have to cope with the worst consequences of climate change. In addition, adaptation financing should be in the form of grants, not loans.

Key policy developments should be to work with local food providers and help them to conserve, store and further develop their own varieties and breeds. It is clear that the best hedge against the increasing instability of local climates in the future is a diversity of varieties and breeds to address the threat of increasing floods, drought and storms. Industrial agriculture has reduced the number of farmers’ varieties and breeds drastically and thereby dangerously reduced the basis of food security for the future. This must end now; we need new policies centered on the real needs of peasants, small-scale producers and indigenous peoples.

Critical review of market-based approaches needed

The framing of the Conference agenda appears to endorse market-based approaches. Yet evidence from the last two years suggests that carbon markets and market-based approaches linked to them are not appropriate for peasants and small-scale producers. These approaches need open and critical review. Carbon markets have repeatedly failed to deliver real funds to projects on the ground. Moreover, carbon market mechanisms actually finance the emissions reduction commitments of developed countries through “offsetting” projects in developing countries. This not only increases the threat of climate change by allowing developed countries to continue rather than change their unsustainable production and consumption patterns, but also forces emissions reduction responsibilities onto peasants and small producers in developing countries. Developed country mitigation and “offsetting” priorities should not and cannot drive discussions on the nexus between climate change, food security and agriculture.

We note that the landscape approach, promoted by the World Bank, has a high profile in the agenda. We believe that the Bank’s role as both policy advisor and carbon broker for soil carbon and landuse credits makes it an inappropriate institution to guide governments on the pros and cons of landuse offsets. Using a market-based approach to convert large tracts of landscapes that include water, land, agriculture and forests into commodities is unethical when it comes to questions of food security. Land-grabbing in the developing world has become an ever greater concern since the first Conference, particularly as financial assets become unreliable and both State and private actors secure land for financial gain and food security. The impacts of “climate-smart agriculture” and the landscape approach should be examined in this new economic context where land and the food grown on it have become financial assets for financial speculators and institutional investors.

Implement rather than ignore IAASTD findings

The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), initiated by the World Bank and FAO, sponsored by UN agencies and approved by 58 governments, contains some of the most complete and authoritative sets of policy options to strengthen the productivity and resilience of the world’s food and agricultural systems, while prioritizing social equity and sustainability. We call on the Hanoi Conference to endorse the recommendations of the IAASTD, and for governments and international organizations, including the World Bank and FAO, to commit to the implementation of the IAASTD findings.

Conclusion

We are frustrated that the peasants, small-scale producers and indigenous peoples who provide 70 percent of the world’s food continue to be left out of the debate. The Hanoi Conference is an opportunity to support fair and effective solutions to the agriculture and climate crises. We call on the conference organizers to champion a global transition to ecological agriculture, focus on enabling peasants, small-scale producers and local and indigenous communities to adapt to climate change, ensure adequate public financing for agriculture, and avoid questionable technological fixes and market mechanisms.

We believe that peasants, small scale farmers, laborers, indigenous peoples, women and civil society organizations engaged on issues of food security, food sovereignty, the right to food, and the preservation and use of traditional knowledge are essential to this debate. They provide practical, just and affordable solutions to the problems of food security and climate change. They need to be heard. No process that ignores their voices can be considered legitimate.

2 September 2012

Signatories (121):

1. 11.11.11- Coalition of Flemish North-South Movement

2. Accion Ecologica, Ecuador

3. Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration (ETC Group)

4. Actions pour le Développement Durable, (ADeD), Benin

5. African Biodiversity Network

6. African Centre for Biosafety, South Africa

7. Agricultural Missions, Inc., USA

8. Aliansi Petani Indonesia (Indonesian Peasants’ Alliance)

9. Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao (AFRIM), Philippines

10. Amigos de la Tierra España/Friends of the Earth Spain

11. Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA)

12. Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC)

13. Asia-Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS)

14. Asociación ANDES, Peru

15. Association of Citizens’ Solidarity for Campaign Against Famine in Ethiopia (CS-CAFE)

16. Association of Communities of the Potato Park, Peru

17. Association of Voluntary Agencies in Rural Development (AVARD), India

18. Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Bangladesh

19. Beyond Copenhagen Collective, India

20. Bharatiya Krishak Samaj, India

21. Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha, India

22. Bina Desa, Indonesia

23. Biofuelwatch

24. Biowatch, South Africa

25. Both ENDS, Netherlands

26. California Communities Against Toxics, USA

27. Center for Community, Democracy and Ecology, USA

28. Center for Environmental Education and Development (CEED), Nigeria

29. Center for Food Safety, USA

30. Center for Rural Communities Research and Development (CCRD), Vietnam

31. Center for Sustainable Rural Development (SRD), Vietnam

32. Center of Concern, USA

33. China NGO Association (CANGO), China

34. CIP Americas Program

35. Coalicion Clima España

36. Coalition for the Protection of African Genetic Heritage (COPAGEN)

37. COECOCEIBA/Friends of the Earth Costa Rica

38. Community Self-Reliance Centre (CSRC), Nepal

39. Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP), Malaysia

40. Cumberland Countians for Peace & Justice, USA

41. Development Fund, Norway

42. Earth in Brackets

43. Earth Peoples

44. Eastern and Southern Africa Farmers’ Forum (ESAFF)

45. Ecological Society of the Philippines

46. Ecologistas en Acción, Spain

47. Ecology Ministry Archdiocese of Manila, Philippines

48. EcoNexus, UK

49. Ecoropa

50. Fairwatch, Italy

51. Farmworker Association of Florida, USA

52. FERN, Belgium

53. Focus on the Global South

54. Food & Water Europe

55. Food Security and Poverty Elimination Network (CIFPEN), Vietnam

56. Foundation on Future Farming, Germany

57. Friends of the Bees, UK

58. Friends of the Earth International

59. Friends of the Earth Mauritius

60. Friends of the Environment in Negros Oriental, Philippines

61. Fundación IPADE, Spain

62. Gaia Foundation

63. GRABE, Benin

64. Grassroots International, USA

65. Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy, Philippines

66. GREEN Foundation, India

67. Groundswell International

68. Hope Restoration Center (HORECE), Cameroon

69. Inades-Formation (African Institute for Economic and Social Development)

70. Indigenous Environmental Network

71. Indonesia Organic Alliance (IOA)

72. In Loco, Portugal

73. Institut de Recherche et de Promotion des Alternatives en Développement (IRPAD)

74. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, USA

75. Institute for Policy Studies – Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, USA

76. Institute for Sustainable Development, Ethiopia

77. Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organisations (INOFO)

78. Interface Development Interventions Inc. (IDIS), Philippines

79. Irish Seed Savers Association

80. JINUKUN, Benin

81. Just Forests, Ireland

82. Kenya Debt Relief Network – KENDREN

83. Konsorsium Pelestarian Hutan dan Alam Indonesia (KONPHALINDO)

84. Labour Resource Centre, India

85. Local to Global Advocates for Justice, USA

86. Management and Organizational Development for Empowerment (MODE), Philippines

87. MELCA, Ethiopia

88. MISEREOR, Germany

89. National Alliance Against Hunger and Malnutrition (NAAHM), Nigeria

90. National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE)/Friends of the Earth Uganda

91. Negros Organic Agriculture Movement (NOAM), Inc., Philippines

92. Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility, USA

93. NGO Federation of Nepal (NFN)

94. North Chickamauga Creek Conservancy (NCCC), USA

95. Oakland Institute, USA

96. Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM), Kenya

97. Partners for the Land & Agricultural Needs of Traditional Peoples (PLANT)

98. Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PANAP)

99. Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA)

100. Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas

(PhilDHRRA)

101. Platform ABC (Platform Aarde Boer Consument), Netherlands

102. Plataforma Rural, Spain

103. Pro REGENWALD, Germany

104. Red de Coordinación en Bioviersidad (Coordinating Biodiversity Network), Costa Rica

105. REDES/Friends of the Earth Uruguay

106. ReSCOPE Programme, Malawi

107. Reseau Des Organisations Paysannes Et Des Producteurs Agricoles De L’afrique De

L’ouest (ROPPA)

108. Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM)/Friends of the Earth Malaysia

109. SARILAYA, Philippines

110. SEED Trust, South Africa

111. Send a Cow, UK

112. Society for Conservation and Protection of Environment (SCOPE), Pakistan

113. South Asia Rural Reconstruction Association (SARRA), India

114. Southeast Asian Rural Social Leadership Institute (SEARSOLIN), Philippines

115. Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE)

116. Sri Lanka Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement

117. Sustainable Development Institute (SDI)/Friends of the Earth Liberia

118. Third World Network (TWN)

119. Transnational Institute, Netherlands

120. WAEDAT, Jordan

121. War on Want

122. WhyHunger, USA

Brazil: Indigenous Peoples of Mato Grosso close roads in protest against Decree 303 that eliminates indigenous rights

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

By Rebecca Sommer

Sixteen different indigenous ethnicities of State Mato Grosso, Brazil, precisely those who live on the south and west of the state, the Cinta-Largas, Enawenê-Nawê,Nambikwara, Haliti-Pareci, Irantxe, Rikbatsa, Kayabi, Umutina, Bakairi and others came together to show their outrage against Decree 303 and against what they are calling the “scrapping” of the FUNAI (Buerau of Indian Affairs in Brazil)

This demonstration  gets a lot of media coverage, as the indigenous peoples continue to block the access to two major interstate highways, BR-174 and BR-364 – hitting effectively the economic nerve of the state.

They began their action still at night. They brought tents, hammocks, cooking gear and food to spend at least seven days without having to return home or call for help, prepared to spend much more time, if needed.

The protestors are over 1400, the young and old willing to face cold, heat, the pressure of angry car and truck drivers, governmental authorities, and the minute by minute  discussions often ending in being shouted at – while always trying to debate with whoever comes to disrupt their protest.

The regional group of determined Indigenous Peoples protest against everything that is happening with the reform and restructuring of the FUNAI (Buerau of Indian Affairs) and Brazilian indigenous rights/land issues that are significantly detoriating especially in the past five years, and increasingly under the new president Dilma.

They strongly protest against the new Decree 303,  that came out last month, and that has alerted and alarmed those of us that are part of the world’s indigenous movement and indigenous and/or are allies of the Indigenous Peoples human rights and survival struggle.

They also protest against the so-called “scrapping” of the FUNAI, that was announced as well as a product of Decree 7056/2009,  that basically destroyed that little bit what has worked at the FUNAI,  in the already to the minimum functionality reduced governmental organ –  namely the  administrational work at large, and their indigenous posts inside the areas where Indigenous Peoples reside, to replace them with cheaper local non-specialized nor experienced staff that overtook the work of administration and coordination with the result that in most regions services, funds and attendments are absolute and severely collapsing, leaving the Indigenous Peoples even more in limbo.

I am not saying, FUNAI is/was great, indeed it has always been a branch of the government under-fundet, and politicized.

But considering the new developments, looking back, the FUNAI, an historical institution of about hundred years, with many of them “indigenistas” of the old times,  gave a lot of strength to the guarantee and protection of indigenous lands, which helped the Indigenous Peoples for many years to find their way through the world of white invaders and Brazilian main stream society. Funai, say many now,  has  been thrown in the trash like old paper, exchanged by the “CLTS”,  with very few offices installed in nearby towns and even than to this day often not up and running.

The CLTS, all these changes are weakening the protection of indigenous land and interests, and leave the indigenous peoples in every region even more vulnerable to the many ways and means of white people’s politics, and their ambitions to the indigenous lands.

The dismantling of the Funai created an uproar of protest by the Indigenous Peoples. In the northeast the Indigenous Peoples stayed day and night for 2 weeks inside the FUNAI office before being removed.

Many Indigenous Peoples of Brazil felt the impact of the changes, and began to experience sometimes very severe hardships because of  Funai’s re-strukturing process  (elimination process, really) with it’s many disruptions and delivery needs coming in some cases for months to an absolute halt.  Indigenous peoples  remained in most cases quite and calm due to their great hopes that there would be an reversal of this disruption, disfunction and dismantling, and only a question of time before coming back to a certain functionality to what already existed in services .. that were more or less working.

That hope is now gone, in any region of Brazil, there are not one indigenous peoples that believe things will get back to more or less, or to even get better. Now that Decree 303 came out, which is obviously a sign of contempt for the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, blew the lid of the pot.

The protesting Indigenous groups of Mato Grosso for example are organized,  and strategic. They demand a word of President Dilma towards repeal of 303 and the reformulation of Funai.

If President Dilma through her ministers gives a signal that this decree 303 will be thrown in the trash, instead of the regional indigenous FUNAI out-posts, and the 7778 decree of the Funai re-restructuring is canceled or redone properly, the protesters will leave their challenging position and return to their villages.

In my view, the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil had enough. The gulf of mistrust of the Indigenous Peoples to the federal government and the authorities in general may cause an attitude of disrespect to Brazilian authorities,  and very weird thing could happen in the near future.

As far as I understand the decree 303, it clarifies that the land is for restricted use, and not their land. None of the already ratified indigenous lands could be enlarged.  The Indigenous Peoples also have,  according to the decree 303,  no rights to the water or natural resources on their lands, or the right to say no, if it is for example a military activity for whatsoever reasons. If a road is constructed through their territory, or electricity lines , or hydroelectric dams,  or mining operations, it can be done if it is specifically of interest to  . . .(?).  Also, the Indigenous Peoples would not be allowed to receive payment from, for example, tourism, based on the decree.

International human rights standards, such as the OIT Convention 169 or UNDRIP are clearly violated by this Decree 303.