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Bangladesh: Indigenous Peoples engulfed in Chittagong Hill Tracts land conflict

The Pahari Indigenous Peoples are still waiting for the Bangladeshi government to restore their traditional lands © Amnesty International

The Bangladeshi government’s failure to address rights to traditional lands in the eastern Chittagong Hill Tracts region has left tens of thousands of Pahari Indigenous people landless and trapped in a cycle of violent clashes with Bengali settlers, Amnesty International said in a new report released today. The report, Pushed to the Edge, documents how the Pahari are still waiting for the government to live up to the terms of an accord signed more than 15 years ago, by restoring their traditional lands to them. Clashes between the Pahari and Bengali settlers in the region over land use are all ...

Myanmar: Kaladan Project must involve indigenous peoples, says report

A new report by the Kaladan Movement raises community concerns about the lack of government transparency surrounding the implementation of the Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Project. The $214 million Kaladan Project—estimated to be fully operational in 2015—will see the construction of a combined inland waterway and highway transportation system connecting Mizoram State in Northeast India with a Bay of Bengal deep-sea port at Sittwe in Rakhine State. The deep-sea port will transfer cargo from large container ships to smaller 300-tonne barges (from 50 to 200 metres in length) that will ply the 160 km inland waterway north to a port ...

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


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.”