Campaign Updates HONDURAS: TELL US AND HONDURAN OFFICIALS TO RESPECT INDIGENOUS AND CAMPESINO RIGHTS Indigenous Rights Gain Major Ground In Honduras In a major win for Indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples in Honduras, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued a judgment in January declaring the State of Honduras responsible for the violation of collective ownership rights and the lack of judicial protection for Indigenous and Afro-descendent peoples. The case was brought by OFRANEH, the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras, which has been working for years to defend the territory of the Indigenous Garífuna. The ruling extends protection to Indigenous Peoples across the country. Additionally, Honduras accepted seven recommendations in its recent Universal Periodic Review related to better implementation of the rights of Indigenous and Afrodescendent citizens.
CAMBODIA: HELP SAVE PREY LANG (“OUR FOREST”) Cambodia Must Involve Indigenous Peoples to Reach COP 21 Goals The Cambodian government recently outlined its ambitious goals for achieving the carbon reductions set forth in the recent UN climate meeting in Paris (COP21). A primary focus will be preserving Cambodia’s forest cover, increasing it from its 2010 level of 57 percent to 60 percent by 2030. However, the Prey Lang Community Network, a group of Indigenous Kuy communities who inhabit and protect the largest, intact
Cultural Survival’s advocacy program launches international campaigns in support of grassroots Indigenous movements as they put pressure on governments and corporations to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights of their communities.
lowland forest in the region have expressed concern over the ongoing intimidation and violence against members of the Prey Lang Network and illegal logging and export that remains rampant. CAMEROON: STOP PALM OIL PLANTATIONS FROM DESTROYING AFRICA’S ANCIENT RAINFORESTS AND LOCAL LIVELIHOODS International Civil Society Alarmed by Conviction of Environmental Human Rights Defender Cameroonian environmental defender Nasako Besingi was convicted by local courts in Cameroon of unlawful assembly in January, adding to a conviction last November on two counts of “propagation of false news” and defamation. Charges were brought by US-based agribusiness corporation Herakles Farms and its local subsidiary, SG-SOC Global. Besingi is the director of Struggle to Economize Future Environment (SEFE), which has been fighting alongside local communities to protect ancient rainforests of southwestern Cameroon from plans for a massive palm oil plantation. Since 2010, Herakles Farms has repeatedly violated communities’ rights to give Free, Prior and Informed Consent as they engaged in clearcutting of rainforests that communities have traditionally used for small scale agriculture and foraging. Besingi has been ordered to pay a fine or face up to four years in prison.
RSPO Failing Its Mandate to Regulate Palm Oil Industry A new environmental report, Who Watches the Watchmen? demonstrates that the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, an industry oversight body established in 2004, is failing to address the harmful practices of many
palm oil companies. The Roundtable was formed to audit palm oil companies and establish the guidelines for sustainable palm oil production. As the industry has grown, it has been implicated in problematic business practices causing irreversible damage to the environment and Indigenous Peoples. Companies have been razing huge tracts of ancient rainforests to monocrop palm trees for mass production, virtually erasing all biodiversity in these forests and displacing Indigenous Peoples who live there, destroying both their lifestyles and livelihoods. Citing nine case studies as evidence, the report claims that auditors have failed to identify and address Indigenous land rights in areas where they have certified palm oil plantations, as well as failing to identify situations where companies are using trafficked labor, razing forests of high conservation value, and destroying crucial animal habitats. ETHIOPIA: STOP LAND GRABBING AND RESTORE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ LANDS Concession for Karaturi Land Grab Cancelled On December 28, 2015, Ethiopia’s Agricultural Ministry revoked its contract with Karuturi Global Limited, an Indian company granted a concession for 1,000 square kilometers of land to be developed for industrial agriculture for export in the Gambella region of southern Ethiopia, home to the Indigenous Anuak, Mezenger, Nuer, Opo, and Komo peoples. The concession was cancelled on the grounds that Karuturi had developed only 1.2 kilometers of land within the initial two year period of the contract.
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