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India’s ancient indigenous medicine lays path for modern healthcare

A vintage aryuvedic health chart from India shows the organs and the energy centers in the body, as well as the paths of energy. This ancient system of indigenous medicine brought the use of local herbs, together with the ancient science in an understanding of the properties of the human form, through centuries of discovery. Image: CLIO

It is time to stop discounting traditional expertise and make use of this vast and valuable resource, argues Indian scientist Suman Sahai (WNN/Scidev) New Delhi, INDIA, South Asia: Indigenous knowledge has developed from understanding and documenting the processes in nature. An iteration of practices over time has led to products and processes that are based on sound scientific principles. Take plant extracts for example. Observing that animals did not eat certain plants and assuming that this was because they were toxic, communities took extracts and tested them for a range of uses. Many were, and still are, used as pesticides ...

Taiwan: Unsung hero takes the stage

Tales of a little-known Taiwanese king come to life with a new musical drama this month There was once was a famous king in Taiwan, whose exploits were known even in Europe. Dadu King (大肚王) led the Pingpu plains tribe and is the only native Taiwanese king ever recognized by westerners. The Dutch reverentially called him Keizer van Middag, meaning “King of the Mid-Day Sun,” according to historical documents from the Dutch East Indies Company. Until recently, most Taiwanese people had never heard of the Dadu King, while others thought he was just a mythological figure. This was due to ...

Thailand sea gypsies under threat from tourism

THEY roamed the seas off the Andaman Coast for generations, but Thailand’s sea gypsies say their traditional way of life is under threat and their homes at risk from a tourism boom. The plight of the once-nomadic hunter-gatherers highlights the growing pressures on marginalised indigenous people in a country seeing a surge in foreign visitors to a record 22 million people last year. The creation of protected marine parks, the depletion of fish stocks and a construction frenzy are all making it increasingly hard for the kingdom’s “Chao Lay” sea people to maintain their age-old lifestyles.

Nepal: Outraged Indigenous Tharu community calls for general strike

Irate Indigenous Tharu community all over the country has intensified the protest program against the current regime by calling general strike for indefinite period in the lower Terai regions of western and eastern Nepal, according to our ANIJ correspondents from various districts. The normal life in the Terai has been disrupted as Tharu indigenous youths and women activists stand along the high way roads with sticks in their hands to keep the traffic off the roads. One of the Tharu agitating team is sitting at Shanti Batika in the heart of Kathmandu to stage a relay hunger strike to draw ...

Burma’s war against Kachin creating ‘perfect storm’ for human trafficking

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A new report by Kachin women exposes how the Burmese government’s war against the Kachin has greatly increased the risk of human trafficking along the China-Burma border. “Pushed to the Brink,” launched today by the Kachin Women’s Association Thailand (KWAT), shows how the displacement of over 100,000 people over the past two years, lack of refugee protection and shortages of humanitarian aid have become significant new push factors fuelling the trafficking of Kachin women to China, already a long-standing problem. KWAT’s report includes 24 cases of actual or suspected trafficking from Kachin border areas since the resumption of fighting in ...

Nepal: LAHURNIP strongly condemns brutal police suppression in ongoing protests of Kamalaris

Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP) condemns, in strongest terms, the blatant and brutal police suppression in the ongoing peaceful protests of Kamalaris in different parts of Nepal. On Sunday, the sixth day of protests of Kamalaris in Kathmandu, at least 14 Kamalaris were injured when large number of male police personnel inhumanely attacked the Kamalari girls with their fists, boots and batons who were on their way to picketing Singha Durbar, the administrative center of Nepal. Off them, nine were seriously injured and three are in critical conditions and reportedly still remain unconscious. According to ...

Philippines: ‘Our environment is worth more than palm oil’

The rainforest land and ancestral homes of small farmers and indigenous peoples of the Philippines are under threat, as the Philippine government plans to promote oil palm plantations on a vast scale. The tropical islands of Mindanao and Palawan are the latest target in the promotion and mono-cultivation of palm oil in the Philippines. At present, the residents own the land. They grow fruits, vegetables, rice and coconut palms, they use the forests as a source of food and materials for crafts and house construction.

“The State Does Not Lose Sovereignty If It Respects Indigenous Rights”

When the state respects human rights, it exercises its sovereignty, says James Anaya. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS

Milagros Salazar interviews JAMES ANAYA, UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples When the state respects human rights, it exercises its sovereignty, says James Anaya. Credit: Milagros Salazar/IPS DARWIN, Australia, Jun 3 2013 (IPS) – “There is a belief that consent is about saying yes or no, about who wins,” observed James Anaya, the United Nations special rapporteur on indigenous rights. But consultation with indigenous peoples is a matter of “creating open processes where they can voice their opinions and influence decisions, and where there is the necessary will to seek consensus.”

Nepal: Indigenous Newars in Kirtipur demand Free, Prior and Informed Consent for road expansion in the municipality

Indigenous Newars in Kirtipur have demanded respect of their rights, including to Free, Prior and Informed Consent as guaranteed in national and international laws and human rights instruments, with regards to plans for road expansion in the municipality. A memorandum was submitted on the issue on Sunday to the Kirtipur Municipality, Kathmandu District Development Committee, Kathmandu Valley Development Authority and Ministry of Urban Development.More than 100 indigenous and local persons have signed the memorandum.

(New Publication) Tilting the Balance: Indigenous Women, Development and Access to Justice

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Indigenous women face severe rights violations, because they are women as well as indigenous peoples. The reporting of massive violations of the collective rights of indigneous peoples especially to their land, territories and resources, do not normally account for the violence committed against indigenous women. The very struggle of indigneous peoples to defend and assert their rights is also at the heart of indigenous women’s struggle. However, many indigenous women are not yet fully recognized and acknowledged as indispensable partners in advancing indigneous peoples’ movements. This includes women’s vital roles in promoting sustainable resource management and holistic community development. This ...