Archive for July, 2013

Five reasons why Rajasthan is (a little) less vulnerable to climate change

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

By Anju Sharma

From India’s flood-prone border with Bangladesh in the east, I travel to the drought-prone border with Pakistan in the west.

A taxi driver with an alarming tendency to go against the flow takes me to Barmer, Rajasthan. As we hurtle down the wrong side of National Highway 112, he is curious about why I want to go there. There is only the desert there, he says, and tourists generally prefer the desert safaris around the more picturesque and historic city of Jaisalmer.

In fact, I am on the final leg of my journey in India for my project on climate change adaptation. I’m traveling to hear a story that clearly illustrates the nature of change that is needed to adapt successfully to climate change.

The desert state of Rajasthan is one of those places that you would automatically assume is on the brink when it comes to climate change impacts, given its already acute water shortage and high summer temperatures. This is, after all, the Thar Desert.

Appropriate knowledge and technology

But in fact, this also means that it has had more time to adapt to extremes. There exists a bank of indigenously tested traditional knowledge to deal with extreme conditions, which can contribute to reducing vulnerability at least in the short and medium term.

Evidence of this is strewn along the roadside. We pass a number of strange structures that look like abandoned spaceships – saucer-shaped with either a bush or concrete mound in the middle. These are taankas – small lime-covered water catchments to trap rainwater and run it into a storage tank in the middle. This well-shaped storage tank is covered, and often even locked, to prevent evaporation, contamination and pilfering of the precious resource it holds. Used only for drinking water, taankas are one of many ways devised to make the Thar habitable. Rajasthan has a number of ingenious traditional water harvesting structures – including kuis, beris, saza kuans, johads, kundis, baoris and jhalaras.

Similarly, years of farming in these difficult conditions has resulted in a bank of traditional knowledge related to farming in arid areas – including resistant seed and livestock varieties. I was told a very interesting story by my host from the Society to Uplift Rural Economy (SURE), about an indigenous cow breed called Tharparkar (named after a district in the Thar, on the Pakistan side of the border).

The Tharparkar is a high-yielding cow breed that is well adapted to the Thar’s arid conditions. Before the India-Pakistan partition, herds of Tharparkar owned on the Indian side would travel to the Pakistani side to winter. Post partition, however, tight border controls made this impossible and the herds had to travel south instead, to Gujarat. This led to crossbreeding with local cattle (and no doubt, also crossbreeding with high-yielding imported breeds), until the Tharparkar breed was on the brink of extinction. There are now efforts to revive the breed, including by NGOs like SURE.

Strong agents of change

The second strength of Rajasthan, after this traditional bank of knowledge and technology, is a strong presence of civil society and non-government organizations (NGOs). In fact, it was an NGO from this state, the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS) that was at the forefront of a national campaign for the acknowledgment of two critical rights in Indian legislation: the Right to Information, and the Right to Employment.

As a result of this campaign, the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) were passed by the Indian Parliament in 2005.

Effective legislation

The RTI is a powerful and empowering piece of legislation, even compared to its counterparts in developed countries. It includes a deadline by which information must be provided by officials after a request has been submitted, an independent appeal mechanism, and a personal penalty for officials who fail to comply.

NREGA, meanwhile, guarantees 100 days of paid labour to adult members of poor households in rural areas at a minimum wage of Rs 120 a day. Corruption and leakage in the implementation of such an ambitious schemes was a concern from the outset – and so the RTI was made an integral part of its implementation. The Act includes strong provisions for transparency and grievance redressal.

Effective awareness raising and information provision

MKSS and NGOs from across Rajasthan have been strongly involved in ensuring that the two Acts are followed in letter and spirit. They formed a NGO network called the Rozgaar Evam Suchana ka Adhikar Abhiyan (information and employment campaign, also known as the SR Abhiyan), to oversee the implementation of these two Acts.

The network has prioritized awareness raising among the public and government staff in Rajasthan about the two Acts, informing them of their due through culturally appropriate media. As a result, people are well informed of what is due to them, and cannot be short-changed by government staff.

Transparency, accountability and redress

The SR Abhiyan network also promotes transparency and accountability in the implementation of NREGA, through a system of “social audits”, where officials are obliged to share documents with village-level auditors trained by the independent social audit team. The accounts are read out in public in the presence of beneficiaries of the scheme and the implementers, and villagers question transactions. Through this process, irregularities in the use of funds are uncovered, funds recovered, and action taken against corrupt officials.

Appropriate knowledge and technologies; strong agents of change; effective legislation; effective and locally tailored means of providing information and awareness raising; mechanisms of transparency and accountability and a redress mechanism. These are powerful and essential ingredients for reducing poverty – and climate vulnerability. While these terms have been reduced to a meaningless mantra in the international climate negotiations, the experience in Rajasthan illustrates the true meaning and effectiveness of each.

I can see the successful outcome of this series of events in Barmer. NREGA funds have been used to build over 9,500 privately owned taankas over a period of six years (2007-2013), benefiting mostly women who would otherwise have to walk miles for drinking water. Women like Daiya from Aatiya village, who used to walk 3 kilometers twice every day for drinking water. The taanka was built by Daiya, her sons and others from the Aatiya, who were all paid for their labour through NREGA funds.

Daiya shares water from her taanka with her neighbours. Taankas are often locked to prevent pilfering of the precious resource.

Of course there have been challenges and setbacks along the way. Like the time in 2007 when sarpanches (local government leaders) and the government of Rajasthan protested against the right of third parties to conduct social audits. But this eventually resulted in making the process stronger – third party social audits have not only been upheld by the Rajasthan High Court, but independent social audits have been made an essential part of the NREGA process. The state of Andhra Pradesh has led the way by setting up an independent and autonomous body called the Society for Social Audit, Accountability and Transparency (SSAAT).

The Rajasthan experience holds a number of lessons for successfully reducing vulnerability to climate change. It is deep-rooted change like this that is needed for effective adaptation, not business-as-usual projects with an adaptation label stuck on.

نداء إلى الاتحاد الأوربي والرأي العام العالمي لحماية الأقليات ودعم الحراك الديمقراطي في سوريا

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

نداء إلى الاتحاد الأوربي والرأي العام العالمي لحماية الأقليات ودعم الحراك الديمقراطي في سوريا
تحولت الثورة السورية التي بدأت سلمية في آذار 2011 إلى حرب أهلية بالوكالة، إذ تدعم روسيا وإيران والحكومة العراقية وحزب الله نظام الأسد الارهابي؛ وتدعم دول الخليج وتركيا وسنة المنطقة المعارضة المسلحة. وبذلك لم يبق دور للمعارضة الديمقراطية السلمية، وباتت الحركات والجماعات الاسلامية المتطرفة التي تسعى لتطبيق الشريعة وبناء دولة اسلامية هي المسيطرة والفاعلة على الأرض.
والآن تهدد الفوضى المنطقة الوحيدة الهادئة نسبياً في شمالي البلاد. فبعد سحب النظام لأجهزته الأمنية ووحداته العسكرية وموظفيه من المناطق الكردية، أصبح الكرد مسؤولين عن إدارة مناطقهم والدفاع عنها وحماية المدنيين؛ واستطاعوا تثبيت الأمن والهدوء في مناطقهم وسط فوضى الحرب. لكن هناك قوى داخل المعارضة السورية، تحاول وبأي ثمن كان، منع وتقويض إدارة الكرد لمناطقهم بأنفسهم. فقبل عدة أشهر تعرضت مدينة سري كانيه (راس العين) لهجوم من قبل جماعات اسلامية مسلحة متطرفة.
وقد ازدادت في الفترة الأخيرة بشكل كبير هجمات مقاتلي جبهة النصرة والدولة الاسلامية في بلاد الشام والعراق، التابعتان لتنظيم القاعدة وتعتبران امتداداً لها في المنطقة، على المناطق والمدن الكردية والمسيحية في شمالي سوريا. وبسبب الحصار الذي تفرضه جبهة النصرة ووحدات من الجيش الحرة على المنطقة، تفاقم الوضع الانساني بشكل كبير وبات ينذر بكارثة انسانية
كل هذا أدى إلى زيادة معاناة السكان وتدهور الوضع الانساني في المنطقة نتيجة النقص الحاد في جميع حاجات السكان، ولاسيما مياه الشرب والمواد الغذائية والطبية والمحروقات والكهرباء. وتأثرت المنطقة بذلك بشكل أكبر مقارنة بالمناطق الأخرى، لأنها كانت وكما باقي المناطق الكردية الأخرى مهملة ومهمشة من قبل الحكومة طوال عقود نتيجة سياسية نظام البعث التمييزية، ففي “الظروف العادية” كان سكان المنطقة يعانون من سوء الخدمات الأساسية والبنية التحتية. والآن في ظل ظروف الحرب والحصار، باتت المنطقة مهددة بكارثة إنسانية وأن تصبح منطقة منكوبة.
ولمنع ذلك يجب على المجتمع الدولي ولاسيما الاتحاد الأوربي، أن يبذل جهوداً أكبر لحماية الأقليات، وخاصة الكرد الذين عانوا لعقود من الاضطهاد والقمع والحرمان من حقوقهم الأساسية، وهم يطمحون لإقامة نظام ديمقراطي علماني فيدرالي في سوريا. وعلى المجتمع الدولي وخاصة الاتحاد الأوربي أن يضغط على تركيا لتفتح حدودها وتسمح بدخول المنظمات الدولية والمساعدات الإنسانية إلى المناطق الكردية.
ولأن الكرد استطاعوا الحفاظ على الهدوء والسلم في مناطقهم، تركز المنظمات الإغاثية في تقديم مساعداتها الإنسانية على المناطق الأخرى من سوريا. لكن المساعدات الإنسانية يجب ألا تقتصر على جماعات محددة، وإنما يجب توزيعها بشكل عادل. فحتى الآن لم تصل أي مساعدات إنسانية دولية إلى المناطق الكردية، حيث الوضع الإنساني كارثي. كما يجب عدم ترحيل اللاجيئن، وعلى الدول الغربية أن تتحمل مسؤولياتها وتسهل سفر الهاربين من أتون الحرب وتستقبلهم على أراضيها.
وبدل تقديم الأسلحة للمتطرفين، يجب دعم القوى الديمقراطية وتعزيز دورها. ويجب دعم الكرد أيضاً وتأهيل كوادرهم ودعمهم ليستطيعوا تثبيت السلم وبناء وإدارة مناطقهم بشكل أفضل وأكثر فعالية.

المركز الكردي للدراسات والاستشارات القانونية – ياسا

Appell an die Europäische Union und die Weltöffentlichkeit: Minderheiten schützen und Demokratiebewegung stärken

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

YASA – Kurdisches Zentrum für Studien und juristische Beratungen e.V.

Appell an die Europäische Union und die Weltöffentlichkeit: Minderheiten schützen und Demokratiebewegung stärken

Der „Arabische Frühling“ hat sich in Syrien zu einem blutigen Stellvertreterkrieg entwickelt. Das Terrorregime von Bashar al Assad wird von Russland, dem Iran, dem arabischen Irak und der Hisbollah unterstützt. Auf der anderen Seite unterstützen die arabischen Golfstaaten, die Türkei und andere sunnitische Verbündete die Gegner des Regimes. Längst existiert nicht mehr die Opposition, die um einen demokratischen Wandel bemüht ist. Vielmehr wurde die Bewegung längst von extremistisch-islamistischen Gruppen unterwandert, die die Errichtung eines islamischen Gottesstaates anstreben, der auf der Scharia gründet.

Momentan droht die einzig ruhige Region im Norden des Landes ebenfalls im Chaos zu versinken. Nachdem sich das Regime aus den nördlichen, kurdisch dominierten Gebieten zurückgezogen hatte, übernahmen die Kurden die öffentliche Verwaltung. Sie verteidigen auch militärisch ihre Gebiete und sorgen für die Sicherheit der Zivilbevölkerung. Es gelang ihnen so eine ruhige Zone inmitten der Kriegswirren zu etablieren. Offensichtlich wollen einige Kräfte innerhalb der arabischen Opposition jedoch um jeden Preis verhindern, dass sich die aufgekommene kurdische Selbstverwaltung verfestigt. Bereits vor einigen Monaten wurde so die kurdische Stadt Serê Kaniyê zum Ziel von Angriffen islamistischer Extremisten.

Die Angriffe seitens der Heiligen Krieger der Nusra-Front und der irakisch-syrischen Ableger von al-Qaida auf die kurdischen und christlichen Städte im Norden des Landes nahmen in den letzten Tag drastisch zu. Die Versorgung der Region ist seit zwei Monaten aufgrund der Blockade der Nusra-Front und der freien syrischen Armee komplett eingestellt. Daneben hält die Türkei die Grenzen zum Norden Syriens für internationale Hilfsorganisationen verschlossen. Die Not der Zivilbevölkerung ist groß und die Versorgungslage verschlechtert sich täglich. Es fehlt praktisch an allem. Insbesondere Trinkwasser, Lebensmittel, Strom, Gas und Medikamente sind Mangelware. Dies trifft die Bevölkerung umso härter, als dass die kurdischen Regionen im Rahmen der extrem-nationalistischen Politik der Baath Regierungen von jehher vernachlässigt wurden. Bereits unter „normalen Umständen” litt die Bevölkerung unter einer unzureichenden Versorgung und der fehlenden Infrastruktur. Als umso brisanter muss die aktuelle Situation bezeichnet werden. Es darf daher angenommen werden, dass eine humanitäre Katastrophe unmittelbar bevorsteht.

Die Weltgemeinschaft, insbesondere die Europäische Union, müssen sich stärker für den Schutz der Minderheiten einsetzen. Besonders die Kurden, die einen demokratischen, säkularen und föderalen Staat anstreben und seit Jahrzehnten unter Repressionen leiden, müssen geschützt werden. Hierzu müssen die Internationale Gemeinschaft, allen voran die Europäische Union auf die Türkei einwirken, damit diese die Grenzen für Hilfsorganisationen öffnet. Da die Kurden bisher den Frieden in ihrer Region erfolgreich bewahren konnten, konzentriert sich die internationale humanitäre Hilfe auf den Rest Syriens. Die Hilfe darf sich aber nicht auf bestimmte Gruppen beschränken, sondern muss gerecht verteilt werden. Bisher haben die kurdischen Gebiete keine Hilfslieferungen erreicht. Die humanitäre Lage ist jedoch äußerst bedrohlich.

Flüchtlinge dürfen nicht weiter abgewiesen werden. Die westlichen Länder müssen die Verantwortung für ihr Scheitern übernehmen und die Einreise für Hilfesuchende erleichtern.

Anstatt Extremisten mit Waffen zu versorgen, sollten die demokratischen Kräfte im Land unterstützt werden. Die Kurden müssen daher auch umfassend im Sinne von „capacity building“ dabei unterstützt werden, eine stabile und effiziente Selbstverwaltung aufzubauen.

Call to protect the minorities and the democratic movement in Syria

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Call out to the European Union and the international community to protect the minorities and the democratic movement in Syria

By YASA – Kurdish Centre for Studies & Legal Consultancy

The Syrian revolution started with peaceful protests against the Syrian dictatorship in March 2011. Now it has changed into a proxy civil war. Besides Russia, Iran, Iraq, and Hezbollah who are supporting Assad’s terror regime, other forces like the Gulf States, Turkey, and other Sunni countries are supporting the armed rebels. At present, there is not any longer space left for a peaceful democratic opposition. On the contrary, Islamic – extremist groups have infiltrate these democratic movements, with the intention to establish an Islamic theocracy, based on Islamic law, the Shari’a.

These days, the only peaceful region in the north of the country is threatened to descend into chaos. After the withdrawal of the regime’s officials of the Northern, Kurdish dominated territories, Kurds took responsibility over the public administration. Furthermore, they successfully defended and protected the civil society and succeeded in providing a peaceful zone in the middle of the turmoil of war. However, some forces within the Syrian opposition are trying at all costs, to thwart the new Kurdish self – administration.

Already a few months ago, the city Serê Kaniyê (Ras Ala’yn) was the object of attacks, executed by armed fundamental Muslim groups. The attacks of the “Holy Warriors” from Nusra-Front as well as of the Iraqi-Syrian offshoot of al-Quaida on Kurdish towns in the North of the country have increased dramatically. Since two months the supply of the region has almost completely been halted due to the blockage of Nusra-Front and the free Syrian army.

The Turkish government has closed down its Syrian borders, even for international aid organizations. The hardship of the civil society is increasing, and the supply situation gets worse daily. Especially fresh water, food, medical supplies, fuel, and electricity are scarce goods.

Additionally, the Kurdish area is more exposed by all kinds of distress than other areas in Syria, because the area was ever since neglected by the Syrian regime and its racist Ba’ath policies.

Even under normal conditions, the Kurdish people suffered from deficient supply and lacking infrastructure. All the more controversial is the current situation. It can be assumed, that a humanitarian catastrophe is imminent.

The international society, especially the European Union, has to speak up more vigorously for the protection of minority rights. Particularly the Kurdish people who aspiring a democratic, secular and federal state and endured repression and deprivation of their basic human rights since decades, has to be protected. Concerning this, the International society and, first of all, the European Union, have to act on Turkey to open its border for humanitarian organizations.

Until now the Kurds were able to keep peace successfully within their territory, on that score the international humanitarian aid concentrates on the rest of Syria. But humanitarian support must not limited to special groups, but has to be distributed fairly. Up to now, aid supplies have not yet reached the Kurdish region. The humanitarian situation is more than threatening.

Besides that, refugees must not be deported back to Syria. The western countries must take responsibility for their failure and ease travel restrictions. As opposed to supply extremist groups with weapons, democratic forces should be more supported. Hence, the Kurdish people has to be encouraged in terms of capacity building, to build up a stable and efficient self – administration.

Why you shouldn’t trust WWF – VIDEO: SILENCE OF THE PANDAS

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Watch Video

The WWF is the largest environmental protection organisation in the world. Trust in its green projects is almost limitless. Founded on September 11, 1961, it is the most influential lobby group for the environment in the world, thanks largely to its excellent contacts in both the political and industrial spheres and to its ability to walk a constant tightrope between commitment and venality. This film will dispel the green image of the WWF however. Behind the organisation’s eco-façade, the documentary maker uncovered explosive stories from all around the world.

A year in the making, this film will dispel the green image of the WWF. Behind the organisation’s eco-facade, the film uncovered explosive stories from all around the world. This documentary seeks to reveal the secrets of the WWF. It is a journey into the heart of the green empire and may shatter public faith in the panda forever.

Wilfried Huismann, Germany, 2011

Music VIDEO: Ofra Haza & Aharon ‘Amram

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Wie Journalisten zu Terroristen werden-Ein Überblick zur Situation der Presse in der Türkei

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Von Devris Çimen, Civaka Azad – Kurdisches Zentrum für Öffentlichkeitsarbeit

Die AKP-Regierung verstärkt in der Türkei und international ihre Strategie der Einschüchterung und Disziplinierung und zwingt die Medien zu Selbstzensur. Der Druck auf die Medien ist nicht erst seit dem Gezi-Aufstand gestiegen, sondern bereits nach dem Machtantritt der AKP. Die Proteste in Istanbul und zahlreichen anderen Städten zeigen, wie umfassend der Einfluss der AKP-Regierung besonders auf die Fernsehsender ist. Die Mainstream-Sender wie z.B. NTV, CNN-Türk und HABERTÜRK  blieben stumm und zeigten alles andere als die aktuellen Ereignisse. Als aber Erdogans Verbündeter, der Muslimbruder Mursi, entmachtet wurde, berichteten diese Sender ausführlich über die Demonstrationen gegen das Militär in Ägypten.

Seit ihrem Machteintritt hat die AKP-Regierung zahlreiche Instrumente zur systematischen Kontrolle der Medien eingeführt. Vor allem mit der Novellierung des Strafgesetzbuches im Jahr 2005 und den Änderungen im „Gesetz zur Terrorismusbekämpfung“ wurde die Arbeit der kritischen JournalistInnen erheblich erschwert.

Hier weiterlesen

Statement at UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (EMRIP) by EarthPeoples Co-Founder Petuuche Gilbert

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Earth Peoples Co-Founder Petuuche Gilbert made a statement regarding ACCESS TO JUSTICE, Agenda Item 5.  at the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva.

Earth Peoples Co-Founder Petuuche Gilbert at EMRIP

Earth Peoples Co-Founder Petuuche Gilbert at EMRIP

I am Petuuche Gilbert of Haakuu, Acoma, our home being in occupied America.  I am delivering this statement under the auspices of Indigenous World Association, an ECOSOC NGO.

First, bear with my eye sight disability.  I am glad to see that the United Nations is taking positive measures to allow for the participation of disabled people.  We all need patience and understanding and that is the kind of respect and positive progress we can and must be making together.

For indigenous peoples in the United States essentially there is no access to justice.  Under democratic rule it is not where we are prohibited from pursuing our day in court it is we can not win within the existing system of law.  Under current framework we are constrained to use national procedures in the pursuit of justice.  The rule of law and policy is such that indigenous peoples cannot regain their inherent right of sovereignty and self-determination.  Consider that we are called Native Americans and proclaimed to be citizens of the United States, not by our choosing.

United States courts have relied on the twin pillars of conquest and discovery to define us as discovered and conquered peoples.  From the 1830s Supreme Court decisions we have been treated as dependent indigenous nations.  Our rights as Indian people has been determined to treatment as wards of the government and a whole federal trusteeship relationship has been creatively established.  In essence we do not have sole title to our lands, territories and natural resources.  The U.S. government rules us and we are in a sense prisoners of American democracy.  A whole body of law and policy described in Title 25 United States Code Annotated and Title 25 Code of Federal Regulations dictate our rights to land, territories and natural resources.  The courts have even ruled our Native American rights as Indian people can be removed by the plenary power of Congress.  Thus, in essence, under the court decisions of the United States we can have no justice when it comes to being sovereign and truly self-determining.  Witness what occurred in American history when treaties have been broken, when Indian land rights were taken away by the Dawes Indian Allotment Act of 1872.  U.S. citizenship was forced upon indigenous people within the United States during 1924.  Then came the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 which induced many tribal governments to model American style of governance.  These are only a few examples in American history how systematically laws and policies were meant to define and limit indigenous peoples rights.

Domestic rule defining Native American lives continued to be asserted to current times.  One federal action which is popular with the federal government as a model of allowing federal assistance to Indian tribes is the 1972 Indian Self-determination Act which is used to manage federal Indian programs by tribes themselves.  Other actions are taken by the President through Executive Orders.  President Obama recent establishment of the White House Council on Native American Affairs essentially reinforces the U. S.’ principle of domination.  They insist we must only have internal self-determination, which is their attempt to limit the application of UNDRIP to national law so as not to allow true sovereignty and real self-determination for indigenous peoples.  These federal actions are done and taken to operate and maintain the federal Indian system of law and policy.  It is the Great White Father in Washington, DC, doing what is best for his children.  Even now there is certainly no real free, prior and informed consent.    This is a vivid example of continuing colonial domination.

Today we ourselves participate in this domination.  We are acculturated to live within this system of majority rule.  We are expected to be good citizens, vote and, thus, participate in our demise as being truly self-determining.  It is now being framed as participatory democracy.  Indigenous peoples subjugated to the rule of law and national policy.  This is continuing colonial domination and not neo-colonialism.

We are relegated to use and play by legal and political game rules established to rule us.  We can try to win in the state and federal courts but only under domestic domain.  But, when federal Indian law is applied we are the losers when it comes to permanent sovereignty over lands, territories and natural resources.  The U.S. courts will rule we do not have self-determination as peoples under international law.  These courts rely upon precedent court cases to limit and define us, our lives, our land rights, and our human rights.  Thus, under these set of rules and policies we cannot achieve the justice we deserve.

What must be done for indigenous peoples to gain their due justice?

As in the words of Lenin–what needs to be done.  Professor Montclure Montose said at a Yale sovereignty conference.  Law is the problem.  Greg Cajete, University of New Mexico professor, went on to add.  Education is the problem.  Systematic changes must occur (T. Ware’s recommendation to EMRIP).    The rights of indigenous peoples have been recognized by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) but they must go beyond being considered as aspirational and they must be implemented.   Scholarly contributions are being contributed by the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.  It was quite an achievement to open and present discussions on the doctrine of discovery at the Permanent  Forum. The studies and recommendations offered by the Permanent Forum, the Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples, and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, must all be addressed.  The High Level Plenary meeting can be another important step forward, and we, urge it lead toward a World Conference on Indigenous Peoples because the issues of colonization and decolonization must be confronted.

Progress is being made, albeit so slowly, in respecting and achieving the rights of indigenous peoples.  It is our challenge and our desire to live in peace and respect but we cannot do until we are truly accepted as peoples within the meaning of indigenous nations with the right of sovereignty and self-determination.

One brief note on the Guardian

Monday, July 8th, 2013

The Guardian’s reporting (by Glenn Greenwald)
One brief note on the Guardian is merited here: I’ve been continuously amazed by how intrepid, fearless and committed the Guardian’s editors have been in reporting these NSA stories as effectively and aggressively as possible. They have never flinched in reporting these stories, have spared no expense in pursuing them, have refused to allow vague and baseless government assertions to suppress any of the newsworthy revelations, have devoted extraordinary resources to ensure accuracy and potency, and have generally been animated by exactly the kind of adversarial journalistic ethos that has been all too lacking over the last decade or so (see this Atlantic article from yesterday highlighting the role played by the Guardian US’s editor-in-chief, Janine Gibson).

I don’t need to say any of this, but do so only because it’s so true and impressive: they deserve a lot of credit for the impact these stories have had. To underscore that: because we’re currently working on so many articles involving NSA domestic spying, it would have been weeks, at least, before we would have been able to publish this story about indiscriminate NSA surveillance of Brazilians. Rather than sit on such a newsworthy story – especially at a time when Latin America, for several reasons, is so focused on these revelations – they were enthused about my partnering with O Globo, where it could produce the most impact. In other words, they sacrificed short-term competitive advantage for the sake of the story by encouraging me to write this story with O Globo. I don’t think many media outlets would have made that choice, but that’s the kind of journalistic virtue that has driven the paper’s editors from the start of this story.

This has been a Guardian story from the start and will continue to be. Snowden came to us before coming to any other media outlet, and I’ll continue to write virtually all NSA stories right in this very space. But the O Globo story will resonate greatly in Brazil and more broadly in Latin America, where most people had no idea that their electronic communications were being collected in bulk by this highly secretive US agency. For more on how the Guardian’s editors have overseen the reporting of the NSA stories, see this informative interview on the Charlie Rose Show from last week with Gibson and Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger:
(scroll down to the end of the article to watch VIDEO)
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How The Guardian Broke the Snowden Story
… and what it says about the British media company’s emerging threat to The New York Times.
VIDEO

SNOWDEN: The People of the World applaud Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia for doing the right thing

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

While Governments, including those in Europe such as Germany, France, Spain, Austria and others should be more than ashamed for their cowardly wrong in handling the case of Edward Snowden – Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia offer asylum to Edward Snowden.

They offer to protect the NSA whistleblower ‘from persecution by the empire’ and rejected US extradition request.

Read The Guardian