MALAYSIA: Orang Asli go to court to stake their land rights against National Park and palm oil plantation

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Jakun-Orang Asli from Kg Peta and the Mersing area share alight moment while waiting for thier case to be called.

28 March 2012

Orang Asli groups of Mersing and Bera districts are in the court asserting their rights to their traditional and customary lands against forced evictions for Endau Rompin National Park in Mersing and oil palm plantation in Bera.

On 21 March, the Orang Asli of Kampung Peta, Mersing, Johor filed an application for leave to apply for judicial review at Johor Bahru High Court against Mersing District Land Administrator’s order to evict the them from their customary land encompassing the Endau Rompin National Park. 51 Orang Asli from Kampung Peta and the neighbouring villages of Tanah Abang, Punan, and Mentelong travelled all the way from the interior of northeast Johor to the state capital for the court matter. More

INDIA: Naga bodies press for releasing Anthony Ningkhan Shimray

Source: Hueiyen News Service / Newmai News Network

Imphal, March 26 2012: Naga frontal organisations in Manipur have demanded that NSCN-IM leader Anthony Ningkhan Shimray and all the “politcal prisoners” are released unconditionally by the government.

On Monday, Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights (NPMHR), Naga Women’s Union (NWU) and All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) said in a communique, “The government of India has initiated peace negotiations and peace talks with many insurgent groups in the northeast and currently has formal ceasefire and suspension of operations with as many as 31 groups in the region but we are very concerned about the outcome of these processes as we have every reason to doubt the sincerity of the government of India to resolve the issue of political unrest with the groups they are engaged with” . More

TIMOR-LESTE: When do mother tongues divide?


Photo: Brendan Brady/IRIN
When can A-B-C’s spell conflict? A student in Manatutu District

DILI, 26 March 2012 (IRIN) – A proposal to sanction the use of indigenous languages in primary schools in polyglot Timor-Leste has divided members of government, civil society and educators, raising questions about how language can spur harmony – or discord – in the young nation.

The “mother-tongue” programme is spearheaded by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which has promoted similar programmes in other countries.  More

UN Human Rights Council adopts resolution on Human Rights and Environment, establishes an Independent Expert on the issue

27 March 2012

The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution on Human Rights and Environment that establishes an Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment.

The resolution was adopted on 20 March 2012 at conclusion of 19th session of the Council. Maldives, Costa Rica and Switzerland tabled the resolution and the Council adopted it by consensus, with more than 80 States co-sponsoring.

The resolution crystallizes efforts over many years from many quarters.  It establishes an institutional vehicle to advance the linkages between Human Rights and the Environment.  It is expected that this new Special Procedure will lay the basis for the Council’s recognition of a universal right to a healthy environment.  We have much work to do in the coming three years to achieve this strategic objective. More

UN Committee expresses concern about violence against Karen people in Thailand’s Kaeng Krachan National Park

26 March 2012

GENEVA – UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination has expressed concern regarding forceful eviction and harassment of Karen indigenous people from Thailand’s Kaeng Krachan National Park and requested the government to provide information on their situation in the park.

The Committee sent a letter sent to the Permanent Mission of Thailand to the UN on 9 March 2012 in response to the information submitted by a non-governmental organization.

According to the information, the Committee writes, an increasing level of violence has been committed against the Karen people by the Thai National Park and Forestry Authorities despite existing laws protecting the rights of the Karen people to live in national parks and other forest areas. They point out that laws such as the Thai Cabinet Resolution of 3rd August 2010 (on the restoration of traditional practices and livelihoods of Karen people) categorically provide them with the right to remain in ancestral lands and practise traditional agricultural rotation. More

Indigenous resource management systems: A holistic approach to nature and livelihoods

Posted on March 14, 2012

Joint community rice harvesting by the Karen people in the highlands of northern Thailand.

By Dr. Maurizio Farhan-Ferrari, Environmental Governance Programme Coordinator
Forest Peoples Programme, Moreton-in-Marsh, UK

Two peer-reviewed studies published recently by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and the World Bank show that strict conservation is less effective in reducing deforestation than community forests that are managed and controlled by indigenous peoples and forest-dependent communities within multiple use systems.

This article argues that indigenous resource management systems are not only well poised to reduce deforestation rates but also to provide a rich array of experiences, expertise, and practices that can significantly contribute to protecting biodiversity, food security, and sustainable livelihoods in indigenous communities, as well as finding answers to climate change challenges. More

NEPAL: Federalists on paper

Mar 21st 2012, 11:51 by T.B. | KATHMANDU

FOUR years ago Nepal elected a Constituent Assembly (CA) with a two-year mandate to write a new democratic constitution and draw a line under a decade of Maoist rebellion. After repeated delays and term extensions, undignified politicking and public derision, the process is at last running out of road. All the signs are that it will end in a nasty crash this summer.

The critical issue is the sort of federal autonomy demanded by historically marginalised ethnic groups. Their grievances helped fuel the insurgency and are now creating an increasingly stark polarisation between what are characterised as “the dominant group” and “the oppressed”. Familiar terms, these, but the battle-lines are new. Whereas the Maoists stressed class oppression, nowadays the talk is of ethnicity. More

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