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BALI, Indonesia (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 21 Aug 2014) - Raised in isolated villages in the Brazilian Amazon, Joenia Batista de Carvalho grew up loving nature and taking pride in her tribe’s customs, way of life and Indian identity.


Carvalho is a Wapixana Indian, one of five tribes totalling around 20,000 people who have lived for generations in the Raposa-Serra do Sol - meaning “Land of the Fox and Mountain of the Sun” - in Brazil’s northernmost Roraima state.


When Carvalho was seven, the family moved to town while her father stayed behind. That was when she became keenly aware of the prejudice Indians face in Brazil.


People don’t want to stand close to you. They are suspicious - they think you are a disgusting person and you will steal their things,” she recalled. There were sniggers about her looks and ambition.


The family’s move was for the sake of the children’s education, but only Carvalho, the youngest of six, managed to shake off the persistent discrimination and stay in school. The experience strengthened her resolve to help her people.


That is the reason I studied law: to become someone who can support indigenous communities,” she told Thomson Reuters Foundation at the first “Summit on Women and Climate” in Bali, Indonesia, earlier this month.


For me it’s about being able to do something for ourselves - not waiting for orders from the state or people who want to take away our land,” she added.




True to her words, Carvalho became Brazil’s first female indigenous lawyer, despite scepticism from classmates and even her own community.


When I started, the first challenge was with my own people. Women studying was not a common practice, and the indigenous leaders asked me whether I could do a man’s job,” she said. “I needed to work harder than others and prove I was capable.”


Since then, Carvalho has dedicated herself to fighting for indigenous land rights and against deforestation.


Her battle could receive a boost if Marina Silva, a popular anti-establishment icon and former environment minister just selected by the Brazilian Socialist Party as its presidential candidate, wins October’s elections.




A decade ago, Carvalho took on powerful interests encroaching on her ancestral land. According to Survival International, over 20 Indians were killed and hundreds injured in some three decades of struggle pitting the tribes against ranchers, miners, loggers and farmers backed by local and national politicians.


In early 2004, Carvalho submitted a complaint to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, urging the Brazilian government to complete demarcation of the Raposa-Serra do Sol reserve so that the area would be protected. She also brought the case to the Brazilian Supreme Court.


In April 2005, the area was officially recognised by the government of Luis Inácio Lula da Silva.


But indigenous jubilation was short-lived.


The Roraima state government soon lodged a petition with the Supreme Court contesting the recognition and demanding the reserve be reduced in size. The military also wanted it broken up, arguing that Indian reservations along national borders represented a security threat, according to Survival International.


Carvalho once again represented the Indians, using the law, often regarded as a white man’s weapon, to ensure that indigenous communities would have rights to the land they have been living on as long as they can remember.


In a landmark ruling in March 2009, the majority of Supreme Court judges upheld the Indians’ rights to their land.


Carvalho became synonymous with the case. For her, it was a conscious decision to take on a high-profile role.


Before, indigenous people were totally invisible. So I used my image,” she said matter-of-factly.


I talk to journalists about my life so they know the reality of the indigenous people - that they are human, they have feelings, and they need access to their land.”


Such exposure comes with a price, however.


When you publish your life story, you become a public person,” she said. “I get a lot of threats. Everybody in my organisation does. There are always people looking for me in front of my office or following me when I take my children to school.”


This is my job and my mission, so I’m not scared. But I do worry for my children,” she added.




Now 40, Carvalho coordinates the legal department of the Indigenous Council of Roraima and juggles her indigenous home life there with trips to the capital Brasília, where she continues the fight against land grabs by business, farming and hunting interests.


She is also working to reduce the impacts of climate change in Brazil.


Authorities in the Amazon, home to the world’s largest rainforest, have been struggling to curb the loss of trees. Deforestation increased by nearly a third in the 12 months through the end of July 2013, compared with the previous year, Brazilian government figures show.


Carvalho said climate change and deforestation - for timber or to plant soy and other crops for biofuel - are affecting the whole environment.


A few years ago, parts of the river were dry. One summer in Roraima, there was flooding. Sometimes the sun is too strong and you cannot grow crops,” she said. “We don’t know when the seasons start anymore.”


Carvalho also trains indigenous women so that more can take up leadership positions, especially at international climate negotiations.


A lot of women want to participate but they don’t get support,” she said. “If there is a meeting at international level, men say, ‘We go. The women have children so they cannot leave the house. They need to take care of the children’.”


I know lots of strong women with strong voices. You just need to push them to be part of the process,” she said.


(Editing by Megan Rowling: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

Dear Representatives of Indigenous Peoples,


I refer to the High-Level Plenary meeting of the sixty-ninth session of the General Assembly, to be known as the “World Conference on Indigenous Peoples” to be held on 22 September 2014 and the afternoon of 23 September 2014, the modalities of which are set out in resolution 66/296. In this context, I have the honour to bring to your attention some of the key organizational arrangements for the World Conference.




The World Conference will be held according to the following schedule:


22 September

9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Opening plenary meeting

3 p.m. – 6 p.m. Interactive round table 1, Interactive round table 2


23 September

3 p.m. – 5pm. Interactive roundtable 3, Interactive panel discussion

5 p.m. – 6 p.m. Closing plenary meeting


Opening plenary


The opening plenary meeting will feature statements by the President of the General Assembly, the Secretary-General, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Heads of State or Government or high-level representatives of Member States from each regional group, the Chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and three representatives of indigenous peoples.


The opening plenary will also include an opening ceremony involving indigenous peoples and the adoption of the World Conference outcome document.


Round tables and panel discussion


The themes for each of the round tables of the World Conference will be as follows:


18 August, 2014

Round table 1 “United Nations system action to implement the rights of indigenous peoples”.

Round table 2, “Implementation of the rights of indigenous peoples at the national and local level”,

Round table 3, “Indigenous peoples lands, territories and resources”.

Additionally, the theme for the panel discussion will be “Indigenous priorities for the post- 2015 sustainable development agenda”.


Closing plenary


The closing plenary meeting will comprise the presentation of summaries by the Chairs of the round tables and the panel discussion.


List of speakers


A list of speakers for the round tables and panel discussion is now open for inscription in room S-3082 (e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; telephone: 212 963 5063; fax: 212 963 3783).


To allow for maximum participation within the limited time available, statements in the plenary meetings and the round table and panel discussions will be limited to 3 minutes when made in an individual capacity and 5 minutes when made on behalf of groups, on the understanding that that would not preclude the distribution of more extensive texts.

You are kindly requested to inscribe for only one of the round tables or the panel discussion.


Further information


Further information, including the room allocations for the World Conference, will be communicated shortly via an information note on the organization of the high-level meetings and general debate of the sixty-ninth session, to be circulated by the Department of the General Assembly and Conference Management. A final program will also be made available on the World Conference website closer to the time of the event:


Please accept the assurances of my highest consideration.


John W. Ashe

High Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples

Third round of consultations organized by the President of the General Assembly


Monday 18 August 2014

Opening intervention

Delivered by John Henriksen


Mr/Madam Chair,

Thank you for allowing the Indigenous Global Coordinating Group, often referred to as the GCG, the opportunity to make our initial comments to version 1 of the outcome document. These comments reflect the views of the indigenous regions of Africa, the Arctic, Asia, Latin-America and the Caribbean, the Pacific and Russia, as well as the global indigenous women’s caucus.


We would like to acknowledge the work of the President of the General Assembly (PGA), and his team of advisers, in producing the latest draft outcome document, which also reflects many of the recommendations and proposals made by the GCG regions during, and after, the second round of consultations.


We also acknowledge the PGA’s efforts to make the 1 version of the outcome document more focused and action oriented; it provides a good foundation for the third round of consultations.


Mr/Madam Chair,

We understand that you intend to move through version 1 of the outcome document paragraph by paragraph. In doing so, our regional indigenous peoples’ representatives and the women’s caucus representative will make specific proposals for changes to the relevant operative paragraphs, reflecting our joint positions, and highlighting caucus and regional priorities within the framework of our joint positions.

Hence, in our joint opening intervention, we will only identify our most prioritized paragraphs and recommendations. The GCG has identified 18 priority operative paragraphs, which we have divided into five clusters, which are as follows:


Cluster 1

Cluster 1 contains the following paragraphs related to UN system action for the implementation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples: OP 21, 25, 27 and 34. In addition, the Chapeaux is included in cluster 1.


Cluster 2

Cluster 2 contains the following paragraphs related to Indigenous Peoples’ lands, territories and resources: OP 3, 16, 18 and 20. In addition to these four paragraphs, we will reintroduce language from the zero draft OP 24, in the form of OP16 bis.


Cluster 3

Cluster 3 contains the following paragraphs related to national level implementation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples: OP 6 and 8.


Cluster 4

Cluster 4 contains the following paragraphs related to data disaggregation, and indigenous women, youth, children and persons with disabilities: OP 10, 12, 15 and 26.


Cluster 5

Cluster 5 contains the following paragraphs related to the post-2015 development agenda and sustainable development: OP 29, 30 and 31.


The following two operative paragraphs are GCG’s highest prioritized paragraphs:

  • OP 21 regarding the proposed oversight mechanism; and

  • OP 27 regarding the status and participation of Indigenous Peoples within the United Nations system.

These two operative paragraphs must remain in the document, in slightly redrafted versions, which will be introduced by our regional representatives, when we discuss the relevant paragraphs.

OP 25 regarding the appointment of a high-level UN official is another paragraph which is very high on our list of priorities. We support OP 25 as currently drafted, and we encourage Member States to do likewise, as we believe that such a high-level official has an important role in promoting the implementation of Indigenous Peoples’ rights.


Mr/Madam Chair,

The GCG also attaches great importance in ensuring that the principle of free, prior and informed consent is reflected in the outcome document. We note that OP 3, which is a new paragraph, intended to replace all previous references to the principle of free, prior and informed consent. The zero draft contained five operative paragraphs that referred to the principle of free, prior and informed consent. In the latest draft, all these references have been deleted, and replaced by OP 3, which appears to be an omnibus paragraph on “free, prior and informed consent”. We don’t resist the inclusion of OP 3 in the document.


However, in our view, OP 3 is too limited in scope, as it only addresses “free, prior and informed consent” in relation to legislative and administrative measures. We believe it is of fundamental importance that that the principle of free, prior and informed consent is also specifically reflected in provisions related to lands and territories, including situations where third parties seek access to indigenous territories. Therefore, our regional representatives will make concrete recommendations with regard to how the weaknesses of version 1 of the outcome document, in relation to this matter, can be resolved.


Mr/Madam Chair, we wish to reiterate our strong support for the annexing of the Alta Outcome Document to the outcome document of the high level plenary meeting of the General Assembly, to be known as the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, as suggested in paragraph 2 of the chapeaux. This is a matter of priority for us. The Alta Outcome Document, as the consensus document of Indigenous Peoples’ in all seven indigenous regions, and the global caucuses of indigenous youth and women, deserves to be reflected as an annex. The annexing of the document does not amount to its endorsement by the General Assembly, but rather an acknowledgement, in good faith, of Indigenous Peoples’ contributions and active participation in the process.


Mr/Madam Chair,

As indicated earlier, the indigenous regional and caucus representatives of the GCG will elaborate further on our 18 prioritized paragraphs, and submit specific language changes where that is relevant. These proposals represent consensus positions by the six regions that cooperate within the framework of the GCG, as well as the Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus.

In conclusion, the GCG wishes to reiterate its commitment, in good faith, to work and contribute towards reaching consensus between Member States and Indigenous Peoples regarding the content of the outcome document. As many of you know, the GCG has permanent representation in New York, through our regional and caucus representatives, till the conclusion of this process. We stand ready to actively engage with Member States and the President of the General Assembly, and his team of advisers, throughout the process, including during the inter-governmental phase of the process.


Thank you.

Quezon City, Philippines (8 August 2014) --In celebration of the World's Indigenous Peoples' Day, Tebtebba organized on 8 August 2014 a National Consultation with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli­‐Corpuz in Quezon City, Philippines.


The national consultation was a very successful event since this brought together indigenous peoples representatives, government agencies and bodies, UN agencies, multilateral banks, the academe, religious, and NGOs. Almost a hundred participants listened to the Special Rapporteur share her vision, thrusts and priorities.


Indigenous representatives from various networks (KAMP and BAI/Innabuyog, Erumanen ne Menuvu/Indigenous Peoples’ Structure) and NGOs reported on the situation of indigenous peoples, including indigenous women, highlighting continuing human rights violations and violations of collective rights, including free, prior and informed consent, as a result of militarization, mining, and other development projects. Also shared was the concern of indigenous peoples in southern Philippines, specifically by the Erumanen ne Menuvu, of their non-recognition in the Bangsamoro draft bill, a result of the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.


But this was also a venue to share good practices being done by indigenous peoples in several communities and NGOs in implementing sustainable, self-determined development. Sildap-SE on southern Philippines shared their initiatives on mapping and resource inventory, while NNK (Firm Unity of Kalanguya) from Tinoc, Ifugao in northern Philippines discussed how they have organized themselves and influenced the local government in recognizing and adopting their comprehensive land use plans and implementing their own development. PAFID, an NGO, shared their joint work together with the Talaandig community in strengthening the governance, protection and development of the Talaandig ancestral lands in Bukidnon province. Assisi Development Foundation also discussed their work in empowering communities through indigenous peoples’ education, livelihoods and promoting justice and peace.


Several government agencies and bodies (such as the Climate Change Commission, Commission on Human Rights, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Education, Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Provincial Health Office of Mt. Province) shared how they are incorporating respect for indigenous peoples' rights and development in their policies and programs, looking also at the problems and challenges they face. The University of the Philippines discussed their key activities in support of indigenous peoples, and their commitment to work with indigenous peoples in the area of indigenous studies and research. Other agencies that gave response were from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples and the IP Desk of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.


Prof. Virginia Dandan, the United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity (UNIE) gave a brief discussion on her mandate and the work she is doing as independent expert. The UNICEF and the World Bank, on the other hand, gave updates on their programs in relation to indigenous peoples, while the latter shared the Bank’s safeguard policy. The ILO representative shared in brief its work in support of indigenous peoples. Also present was the country representative from UNFPA.


From the legislature, Congresswoman Nancy Catamco, who is Chair of the Committee on National Cultural Communities, and Raymond Baguilat from the Office of Congressman Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao, presented their legislative initiatives to address indigenous peoples’ situations, and recognition and respect of indigenous peoples’ rights and development.


The consultation developed into a lively exchange of situations, views, ideas and ways forward. In her response, the UNSRRIP Vicky Tauli-Corpuz said that this consultation was a very good opportunity to bring together indigenous peoples with government, UN bodies, the academe, who would otherwise have found it difficult to have frank discussions and exchanges with these various actors. She further added that she was very happy with the results of the consultation and is hopeful that indigenous peoples, government, UN agencies, civil society will continue to work together and find common ground for the respect, protection and fulfillment of indigenous peoples’ rights and sustainable, self-determined development.


The Philippine national consultation was an opportunity to share the mandate, vision and tentative plans of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; discuss some of the alleged cases of human rights violations against indigenous peoples and recommendations on how these can be better addressed; and share the problems, challenges, obstacles faced and good practices of indigenous peoples, the government, various UN agencies and multilateral organizations, and civil society in working for the recognition and fulfillment of indigenous peoples’ rights and development.


The national consultation cum IP day celebration was supported by the Brot-fur-die-Welt/EED of Germany. (Tebtebba Indigenous Information Service)

GENEVA (9 August 2014) – The new United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli Corpuz, urges indigenous peoples around the world to remain steadfast in asserting and claiming their individual and collective rights.


On the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Ms. Tauli Corpuz calls on States to address human rights violations and to ensure indigenous the peoples’ participation in formulating and implementing their national and local development strategies and plans:


Today, the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, is a day to celebrate the gains and victories achieved by indigenous peoples in their bid to claim their rights and realize their life plans or development visions.


However, for many indigenous peoples in many parts of the world, there is not much to celebrate. Countless violations of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights continue on a daily basis. Justice still remains elusive for many of them.


Indigenous peoples’ key demand is for States to effectively implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the International Labour Organization Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries and all other relevant human rights treaties and instruments.


This is a very historic year for indigenous peoples. The first ever World Conference on Indigenous Peoples, a high level meeting of the General Assembly, will be held on 22 and 23 September 2014. It is also the year in which negotiations for the post-2015 development agenda and a new agreement under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place.


On this International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, I urge Member-States to ensure that human rights and development priorities of indigenous peoples will be integrated in the final outcomes of these processes.


I wish to echo the remarks of the UN Secretary-General made this year for the International Day. He stated that, “The interests of the indigenous peoples must be part of the new development agenda in order for it to succeed.” Yet, during the recent closing session of the Open-ended Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, the indigenous peoples stated their great disappointment over the inadequate reflection of their proposals in the final outcome document.


Furthermore, I call on States to take decisive steps to decisively address the cases of human rights violations and to ensure the effective participation of indigenous peoples in formulating and implementing their national and local development strategies and plans.


Indigenous peoples have made and will continue to make significant contributions in solving the environmental, economic and social crises confronting our world. Studies have shown that respecting the rights of indigenous peoples, especially their rights to own and to conserve and sustainably use their lands, territories and resources, contributes to climate change mitigation.


Finally, I would like to call on indigenous peoples to remain steadfast in asserting and claiming their individual and collective rights enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other relevant human rights treaties and instruments.”




The new Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Chile), is a human rights activist working on indigenous peoples’ rights. Her work for more than three decades has been focused on movement building among indigenous peoples and also among women, and she has worked as an educator-trainer on human rights, development and indigenous peoples in various contexts. She is a member of the Kankana-ey, Igorot indigenous peoples in the Cordillera Region in the Philippines. As Special Rapporteur, she is independent from any government or organization and serves in his individual capacity. Learn more, log on to:


Check the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:


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An indigenous women activist from Chapainawabganj district was raped and three indigenous persons including a woman in Dinajpur, Sherpur and Khagrachari districts were killed in a week in Bangladesh. Two incidents were committed by the miscreants with the aim to occupy victims’ lands and other two were basically incidents of violence against women. Police arrested alleged perpetrators of two incidents committed in Chapainawabganj and Dinajpur districts; however, main culprits of these atrocities are yet to be arrested. No perpetrator of the rest two incidents took place in Sherpur and Khagrachari districts was arrested.


Indigenous women leader gang raped in Chapainawabganj


On 4 August 2014 a central member of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, president of Chapainawabganj district unit, member of Parbotipur Union Council and also indigenous woman leader was raped and physically assaulted by a group of land grabbers in Gomostapur upazila under Chapainawabganj district. A case was filed with Gomostapur police station in this connection. Police arrested two alleged perpetrators. However, mastermind of the attack and alleged rapists are yet to be arrested.


On the day of the incident (4 August 2014), the victim along with workers went to work in the paddy fields near her village. At around 12:00 am, a group of miscreants composed of 30/35 people led by Afzal Hossain and Manirul Islam went to the paddy fields with sharp weapons and sticks. Then they obstructed the victim and her workers while they were working. When the victim protested, one of the land grabbers tried to stab her with a knife and another land grabber hurled a farsa (a type of long and sharp knife used for farming) towards the victim but the victim survived the attack. At that time Rezaul Karim, (30) Akbar Ali, 25, and Akhter Hossain, 35, forcefully dragged her to an open place and raped her. The miscreants threatened the victim to kill if she files any case against them.


Shortly after the incident, the miscreants left the spot. While the miscreants were leaving, they looted all the valuables and agricultural equipment from the house of the victim including a power tiller, a shallow machine and a pair of buffalos, which would amount to around BDT 300,000. After the incident, villagers rescued the victim from the spot and admitted her to local Gomastapur health complex. When her health condition was deteriorated, she was transferred to Chapainawabganj General Hospital for better treatment.


A case was filed (case no. 4 dated 04/08/2014) with Gomostapur police station by the victim on the same day. So far, police arrested two alleged perpetrators namely Azizur Rahman, 50, and Anisur Rahman, 48. However, the masterminds of the incident namely Afzal Hossain and Manirul Islam and alleged three rapists remain scot-free up to this writing.


It is noteworthy that the victim has always been a very good organizer and remained active for the protection and promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples of her area. She has many success stories of protecting the rights of local indigenous people. Over last couple of years, the victim organized different successful movements against local land grabbers in her area and was able to restore ten acres of lands belonging to her husband from the land grabbers. Hence, land grabbers including Afzal Hossain has been threatening the victim and trying to extort BDT 300,000 from her for around a week before the incident was occurred.


An indigenous Santal man killed by land grabbers in Dinajpur


On 2 August 2014 an indigenous Santal villager named Dhudu Soren, 50, was killed by a family of land grabbers led by Abdul Goffar, 40, and Azgor Ali, 47, in Kachuya village under Kushdoho union of Nawabgonjupojela in Dinajpur district. Deceased’s family said that land-related disputes are the reasons behind the killing.


The witnessed said that on the day of incident, Dhudu Soren went to Kushdoho bazaar to repair his bicycle early in the morning. On his way back home at about 8:00 am, a resident of the Kachuya village named Ajgor Ali intentionally pushed him and threw him from the bicycle. Then Ali dragged him to his brother Abdul Goffar’s house beside of the road.


Incidentally, one Altaf Ali was present on the spot, who instantly went to inform Dhudu’s family. Rabi Soren and Milon Soren, 25, son of Dhudu Soren rushed to the place where the incident was happened after hearing the news. They were also attacked and charged stick by Ajgor Ali. As a result, they were forced to leave the place.


After a while, Rabi and Milon returned with more people and they found their father senseless near Abdul Goffar’s house. Instantly family members took him to the Phulbari Upazila Health Complex. But the doctor referred him to Rangpur Medical College Hospital, when Dhudu’s condition deteriorated. As soon as possible they took him to the medical college but could not save his life; in the afternoon, he died.


Aminul Islam, sub-inspector of Nawabganj police station confirmed the incident and said, police arrested Abdul Goffar’s wife Hawa Begum and the other family members were still on run. A case was filed by Dhudu’s elder son Rabi Soren with the Nawabgonj police station.


It is mentionable that a case was running for a long time in relation to a disputed land between Dhudu Soren and Abdul Goffar’s family. The same

accused killed Dhudu’s father named Fagu Soren in 1973.


Indigenous Hajong villager killed in Sherpur


On 27 July 2014 an indigenous Hajong villager named Subal Hajong was killed in an attack by a miscreant named Abu Sayed, 41, at Deflai village under Jhinaigadi upazila in Sherpur district.


It is learnt that on that day was the Eid. The victim’s husband named Jobodhon Hajong was busy outside the house in driving rickshaw for earnings during the Eid. On 11:00 pm on that day, when the wife of Jobodhor Hajong went out of their house for toilet, Abu Syed caught her and attempted to rape forcefully. At that time victim shouted out. Hearing the scream of the victim, Subal Hajong, 60, elder brother of Jabodhor Hajong, who was sleeping at the house next to Subal’s, woke up and went to his brother’s house to rescue his sister-in-law.


In saving his younger brother’s wife, Subal Hajong had to scuffle with that miscreant and at a certain stage Subal Hajong fell down on the ground as a result of the perpetrator’s assault. After sometime Subal Hajong left his last breath on the spot. Shortly after, the perpetrator Abu Syed fled away. Based on this incident arbitration was held in Deflai village where the UP Chairman was also present. It was also learnt that a local influential group is trying to divert the matter to a different direction by threatening local indigenous people, and pretending to solve the matter in the name of arbitration. Till now, no case has been filed against the perpetrator.


Indigenous Tripura woman killed in Khagrachari


On 3 August 2014, an indigenous Tripura widow was brutally killed at Amritapara of Bhoibonchara union under Khagrachari sadar upazila in Khagrachari district. The dead body of the victim was rescued by the villagers from her house. Her body was taken to Khagrachari General Hospital for autopsy. Locals believe that the victim was killed after rape and torture. No case has been filed in this connection. Police has not been able to trace and take action against the perpetrators up to this writing.

The President of the General Assembly (PGA) announced that the third and final consultation will be held 18-19 August 2014 at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. This consultation will focus on the revised Zero Draft to be distributed ahead of the consultation.


Registration is required to attend. To register, send name of Nation/Organization, name of representative attending and contact information including email to the Secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues by Wednesday, 13 August 2014: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



In an unprecedented move, the World Bank will be proposing that governments could ‘opt-out’ of requirements designed to protect indigenous peoples from unintended and negative consequences from development activities funded by the multilateral lender. In a leaked draft of new environmental and social standards to be considered for public consultation by a committee of the World Bank Executive Board on 30th of July, language has been included that would allow governments to disregard their existing obligations to indigenous peoples.


When the Bank announced it would be revising these standards (previously contained in an ad hoc set of eight separate policies) Bank management committed to ‘no dilution’ of existing standards. This commitment has been repeated often over the past three years.


However, proposing that governments can ignore international standards on protection of indigenous peoples, and ignore the human rights that underpin those protections, is with out doubt a significant and serious watering down of existing standards.


Joan Carling, Secretary General of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, noted “it is with deep disappointment and frustration that the World Bank chooses to further discriminate and marginalize indigenous peoples, instead of rectifying its bad legacy with indigenous peoples. Even with the inclusion of the provision for the free prior and informed consent, or FPIC, of indigenous peoples, this is meaningless with the ‘opt-out option’ for borrowers, of which many Asian governments would do as they refuse to legally recognize indigenous peoples in their respective countries. The legal recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples over their lands, territories and resources is not also fully supported, which is a critical element for the protection of indigenous peoples in any development intervention.”


A dangerous aspect of the Bank’s proposal is the precedent it could set for other multilateral finance institutions. The Bank has historically been a leader in developing progressively stronger environmental and social protections, but this latest draft undermines that reputation significantly.


Joji Cariño, Director of the Forest Peoples Programme, commented “Indigenous peoples’ recommendations on the need to strengthen World Bank standards and bring them into line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples have fallen on deaf ears. World Bank pledges on ‘no-dilution’ of existing policies are being broken with this proposed opt-out, despite advances made in other substantive areas of the new proposals.”


The real threat if the proposed policies are adopted is the practical and immediate impact that these retrograde standards could have for indigenous peoples living in countries where governments routinely deny them their rights. For many indigenous peoples in Africa and elsewhere, national and regional law is just now beginning to recognise and protect their lands and their livelihoods by applying the laws developed over decades of advocacy.


Indigenous peoples are mobilizing worldwide to demand that the World Bank withdraw the offensive policy proposals. They are calling on the Bank to ensure that the policy revision results in standards that are fully in line with international norms and obligations on the rights of indigenous peoples. At the same time, they are pressing the World Bank President to uphold his promise to prevent any dilution of existing standards.


A statement of concern detailing recommendations for action by the World Bank’s Executive Board has been presented to the World Bank today (July 29, 2014) and endorsed by 84 indigenous peoples’ organizations and institutions, 59 support groups and 20 individuals.


Indigenous Peoples' Statement Provided to the World Bank


For further information on these proposed safeguard standards for indigenous peoples please contact:


Joan Carling, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact and Member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Robie Halip, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Helen Tugendhat, Forest Peoples Programme, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Press and media inquiries:


James Harvey, Communications Manager, Forest Peoples Programme (FPP)

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact number: +44(0)1608 652893


Aung Kyaw Soe, Communications and Development Programme Coordinator, Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP)

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact number: +66 53 380 168


Additional information:


Forest Peoples Programme’s dedicated World Bank Safeguards page:


AIPP Briefing Paper, “Development for Whom”:


AIPP Submissions to the World Bank:



Letter to the World Bank on their Indigenous Peoples safeguard policy (OP 4.10) and safeguard review process

Recommendation statement of Asia IPs and CSOs for the revision of World Bank Group and Asian Development Bank safeguard policies on Indigenous Peoples

Letter to the World Bank on the conducts of the safeguards review consultations


To: Committee on Development Effectiveness (CODE)

World Bank Group


Dear Members,


As you review the draft revised safeguard policies of the World Bank, including the policy provisions for indigenous peoples (ESS7) and decide on the way forward, we would like to raise our serious concerns for your consideration and action.


Contained in the draft ESS are new standards intended to “ensure that the development process fosters full respect for the human rights” of indigenous peoples (proposed ESS7). While we recognize that these standards have been improved in their inclusion of a requirement to obtain free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), the inclusion of an option for borrowing countries to opt-out of applying the policy at all undermines any advances. As currently formulated, the FPIC provisions are also weak and need amendment to be effective and appropriate.


Attached is the statement prepared jointly by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP) containing our views and recommendations in improving the draft for the second round of consultations. We have been engaging in the review process since it was launched in 2011 and we hope that the dilutions to the current safeguard policies shall be addressed properly, and the added provisions such as the on the free prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples be strengthened, along with the legal recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands and resources.


This statement has been endorsed by 84 indigenous peoples organizations/institutions, 59 support groups and 20 individuals.


Thank you for your attention and we look forward to your action in relation to our recommendations.




Ms. Joan Carling

Secretary General, AIPP

Member, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


CC: Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President – World Bank; Luis Felipe Duchicela, Adviser on Indigenous Peoples; World Bank Executive Directors


Significant concerns with the proposed World Bank safeguards for indigenous peoples


We have reviewed and considered the advance copy of the new proposed draft World Bank Environmental and Social safeguards (ESP and ESS). We are deeply dismayed by the overall weakening of the policy requirements for indigenous peoples with very serious implications including outright denial of the existence and rights of indigenous peoples under international human rights laws.


Not only are the standards for indigenous peoples (contained in ESS7) still below internationally accepted practice and international human rights law, but further it appears that even the standards in ESS7 will only apply to a minority of projects impacting on indigenous peoples and financed by the World Bank. It is imperative in our view that activities funded by the World Bank, either directly or through financial intermediaries, must be required to meet the same established standards for indigenous peoples. It is simply unacceptable that the implementation of policy requirements for indigenous peoples could be subject for an ‘opt-out’, or that borrowers can use borrower system or national laws that are not aligned to the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples under international human rights instruments.


It is urgent that the following issues be taken into consideration and effectively responded to:


1. Policy requirements to protect the rights of indigenous peoples must be universally applied to all Bank-financed activities impacting on indigenous peoples


1.1 Immediately remove the proposal that governments can simply ‘opt-out’ of applying the policy requirements intended to protect indigenous peoples (ESS7)


According to the draft, the Bank is proposing that borrowers (mainly but not exclusively governments) can request that they not apply Environmental and Social Standard 7 on Indigenous Peoples. Borrowers may request this if they consider that identifying indigenous peoples would, in some way, heighten ethnic tensions or increase conflict, or if recognizing culturally distinct groups is contrary to their national constitutions.[1] This directly and seriously undermines the specific and fundamental rights that indigenous peoples have over their lives, their lands and resources and the course of their own development, as already enshrined in international human rights law.


Encroachment on the lands, resources and territories of indigenous peoples is often undertaken with the implicit or explicit consent of the governments whose decisions often adversely impact on indigenous peoples occupying such lands. Indeed, international legal standards protecting the rights of indigenous peoples exist in part due to the wilful actions of governments in the past to discriminate against, disenfranchise and alienate indigenous peoples from their lands and resources. If the decision on whether international human rights are to be respected or not rests solely with national governments, then the Bank is acting to undermine agreed international human rights standards, protected by UN and regional human rights instruments.


1.2 Need to improve respect for land rights as part of protecting the rights of indigenous peoples in ESS7


The land rights of indigenous peoples have been recognized again and again under international and regional human rights law as fundamental to the very survival of the peoples themselves. Given the importance of this set of rights, it is critical that requirements intended to ensure such rights are protected are clearly formulated. As such, the required ‘plan for legal recognition of … perpetual or long-term renewable custodial or use rights’ must be developed in partnership with the peoples themselves, time-bound, designed against clear indicators and with sufficient budget allowances.


1.3 Inadequate Free, Prior and Informed Consent requirements in ESS7


The inclusion of a requirement for obtaining the free, prior and informed consent is welcomed, but the formulation of such a requirement is of fundamental importance in ensuring that the requirement achieves the objective of ensuring indigenous peoples can exercise their right to self-determination and are full partners in the development process. The formulation currently proposed in paragraphs 18 and 19 fails to achieve this, and the following important amendments are, at a minimum, required:


2.1 Agreements reached with communities must be described and verified by the Bank together with independent experts, including time-bound actions necessary to ensure that agreements are met and clear budget allocations to agreed actions.


2.2 In any case of violation or non-compliance with agreements reached with communities or in cases of violation of the policy requirements in ESS7 there must be a clear and accessible grievance mechanism that affected communities and peoples can access to redress, including but not limited to direct access to the Inspection Panel. Technical support for use of grievance mechanisms and/or the Inspection Panel must be available on request.


2.3 Disclosure of information must be required to be in a language and in forms, which are appropriate to the affected communities and able to be fully understood.


2.4 The involvement of indigenous peoples representative bodies and organisations must specifically include women and other community members in addition to councils of elders, village councils or chieftains (already mentioned).


2.5 Respect for the decision-making processes of indigenous peoples should be mandatory (not ‘where applicable’), must ensure respect for independent, and must ensure that decision-making processes are free from intimidation, manipulation and any form of undue pressure.


1.4 The use of ‘borrower systems’ or national laws allows the ESS requirements to be set aside, without any clear process for determining adequacy.[2]


The new proposals allow borrowers to follow national laws where they ‘materially meet’ the objectives of the standards. This implies a capacity within the Bank to assess not only all relevant national laws and systems but also historical practice against such laws and policies. However, as pointed out by Bank Vice President comments, how such an assessment would be carried out, when and with what budget is unclear.[3]


For ESS7 and requirements for indigenous peoples in particular, this means in effect that national governments can again elect not to apply the requirements for indigenous peoples as established in ESS7 without any recourse available to the affected peoples themselves. Under existing policy as described in OP4.00, the “equivalence” of national laws and processes against Bank safeguards is determined on a policy by policy basis and that “before deciding on the use of borrower systems, the Bank also assesses the acceptability of the Borrower’s implementation practices, track record and capacity”.[4]This does not appear in the new proposals, which also do not allow for indigenous peoples’ inputs into any assessment done nor the decision to set aside the requirements of ESS7 that could result.


Further, there are no specific requirements in assessment of laws relating to the rights and interests of indigenous peoples in particular. Any assessment of such a set of national laws – proposed to be used in replacement of ESS7 – must include assessment of the extent to which a national legal framework for protection of indigenous peoples aligns with international human rights standards and law. This fails to appear in the proposed policy requirements.


1.5 Further loopholes allow borrowers to circumvent requirements


In addition to the loop-holes and opt-outs already described which undermine the content of ESS7 as a standard for Bank-financed activities impacting on indigenous peoples, there are further policy dilutions which mean borrowers can avoid applying ESS7. Critical in this is that the proposed ESS apply ONLY to investment lending, and not to the two other main lending instruments that the Bank has, Programme for Results and Development Policy Loans. Given that (at current levels) half of all Bank funding is channelled through instruments other than Investment Lending, these standards provide no consistency for indigenous peoples impacted by Bank-financed activities.


Furthermore, projects funded by financial intermediaries also need not comply with the environmental and social standards for any sub-project except those of the highest risk category, meaning that the requirements of ESS7 will not be applied to the majority of sub-projects financed through financial intermediaries.[5] Such exclusions are not acceptable as they create discriminatory provisions depending on financial instrument used, and undermine the very concept of universal standards on which environmental and social standards are predicated.


2. Focus on self-reporting and reliance on borrowers to meet standards without appropriate improvements in monitoring skills or requirements


Moving now to broader concerns with the ESS system as a whole, the World Bank’s new commitment to paying attention to implementation is certainly welcome. The Bank to date has a very poor track record in monitoring and supervising the implementation of its projects throughout the project cycle. This has been amply documented by the Bank’s own OED/IEG evaluation reports over the past 20 years, and specifically highlighted in the internal desk review of projects applying OP4.10 on indigenous peoples.


It is not clear how World Bank monitoring will be improved to meet these new responsibilities. For ESS7 World Bank monitoring must be attached to key indicators, involve independent experts and linked to clear, known and enforceable sanctions for failure to comply with requirements, including suspension of funds and compensation for harms suffered. The World Bank has an independent Indigenous Peoples’ Advisory Body that should play an important role in monitoring compliance with the established standards for indigenous peoples.


3. Inspection Panel role is unclear and made more difficult


The role and mandate of the Inspection Panel comes into question with the new structure, where requirements for the Bank are largely limited to due diligence and monitoring contained in the proposed World Bank Environment and Social Policy. In the various instances where the ESS are proposed not to apply (for instance where national frameworks are to be applied, or where a financial intermediary is implementing projects with moderate or lower risk category), the role of the Inspection Panel is again unclear.


The new proposed Environment and Social Policy also adopts a large number of phrases that serve to dilute and obfuscate hard commitments or requirements against which the Bank can be held accountable. Phrases such as ‘in a timeframe acceptable to the Bank’, ‘where applicable’, ‘where financially feasible’, ‘materially consistent with objectives’, ‘may’ rather than ‘shall’, all serve to weaken the actual standards against which borrowers are expected to act and to be held accountable, and make the task of the Inspection Panel difficult if not impossible.


4. Failure to incorporate meaningful standards on land tenure governance and failure to apply ESS5 requirements to land titling or land administration projects


Despite commitments received from the President of the World Bank during the consultation period, the new standards on land (incorporated into ESS5 and joining existing standards on involuntary resettlement) do not adhere to the standards already existing in the FAO Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Forest and Fisheries. In particular the requirements of ESS5 do not provide sufficient protection from the real (and increasing) threats of large-scale land-grabbing for industrial agriculture specifically mentioned in the Voluntary Guidelines. Further, the exclusion list included in ESS5 (for activities NOT covered by the policy) represents a significant narrowing of the scope of the existing Involuntary Resettlement policy of the World Bank. By excluding land titling and land regularization processes, the Bank risks excluding large scale and long-term impacts of resettlement from the policy designed specifically to address such impacts.


5. Critical information missing from the draft


There are significant gaps in the information being provided for CODE to review. The proposed document for public consultation does not include an implementation plan, any budget references or commitments, no staff skills discussion to account for the changing roles of Banks staff envisioned in the new proposals, and no plan for roll-out of the policy through staff training. It also does not contain any detail about the reforms of staff incentives and safeguard implementation procedures that are required to drastically improve the track record the Bank has on meeting its social and environmental commitments. It is our view that CODE must request the Bank to provide a costed, planned and clear implementation process for the new proposed standards as assessing these in the absence of Bank commitments to appropriately implement them is impossible.


1. ESS7, paragraph 9.

2. This in clear contrast to the Asian Development Bank which has an entire policy dedicated to ensuring that use of country systems both strengthens domestic capacities in environmental and social impact assessment and management, and complies with ADB standards.

3. WB VP Memos, May 2014

4. OP4.00

5. ESS1, paragraph 29.


This statement has been endorsed by the following indigenous peoples organizations/institutions, support groups and individuals.



More than 60 Indigenous Women from Across the World Come Together to Address their Critical Role in Combating Climate Change


Lima, Peru (16 July 2014)—At an international forum on community land and resource rights in Lima today, women from across the world called for inclusion of indigenous women’s perspectives and participation in the dialogue around national and international climate change adaption and mitigation policies.


These recommendations to ensure women’s rights and contributions are recognized were made by more than 60 indigenous women from 15 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America and center on three issues: a) the effective participation of indigenous women and communities in decision-making on climate change policy at the national and international level; b) the collective rights of women to land and forests; and c) the integration of indigenous women’s vision and management of natural resources in public policy.


For too long, women in Peru and around the world have been excluded from decisions that affect their lives and livelihoods. Historically, governance of land and resources is one of these decisions, with perhaps the most far-reaching and devastating impact,” said Omaira Bolaños, Latin America Regional Program Director of the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). “Respecting and incorporating the collective land and resource rights of women is critical to the success of national climate change adaptation strategies, as well as international economic development initiatives. These recommendations provide a way forward for discussions at all levels: within communities, in national legal frameworks, and global dialogues on climate strategies.”


Government officials from the Peruvian Ministries of Women, Environment and Foreign Affairs attended the public portion of the International Indigenous Women’s Forum on July 16, 2014 and each committed to work closely with civil society and indigenous organizations in the lead up to the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Lima in December to ensure that the recommendations made by participants are considered.


There should be no difference between the access of men and women to their natural resources, and this is particularly important when it comes to land and entitlement,” said Ernesto Reaz, advisor to Manuel Pulgar Vidal, the Peruvian Minister of the Environment and coordinator of civil society engagement at the COP. “We need to ensure our proposals to the COP are grounded in the reality of men and women in the communities.”


Despite the tremendous role women play in the management of its resources and the knowledge they hold to protect and nurture the environment, women often remain the most marginalized and vulnerable group within indigenous communities. For example, forum participants pointed to the risks—like the inability to feed their families or loss of livelihoods—that arise when women’s perspectives and knowledge of the lands and forests are not incorporated in the discussions around their uses and management.


Indigenous women play an undeniable role in conservation and adaptation to climate change because their lives are intertwined with the lands and forests they depend upon,” said Gladis Vila Pihue, President of La Organización Nacional de Mujeres Indígenas Andinas y Amazónicas del Perú (ONAMIAP). “Yet despite the positive comments of the ministry today, my government recently opted to circumvent indigenous rights at exactly the moment they should have been a leader as the host of this year’s COP. Peru should continue championing the effective strategies that indigenous peoples have been using for centuries as a tool for conservation.”


But we are not dismayed,” continued Vila Pihue. “This forum is a good opportunity to articulate our needs and recommendations to the Peruvian government. It is a starting point for ongoing collaboration between all of us—Indigenous, Amazonian and Andean women—and the Peruvian government, and it is our hope that, as a result of this conversation, our perspectives will be embraced as a necessary piece of a Peruvian climate change strategy.”


And this injustice isn’t limited to Peru; it is echoed across the world. In Kenya, where land is often owned collectively by extended families and clans, men generally control the land. Even though women do most of the farming, barely five percent of women have land registered in their name.


In Nepal, land may be transferred from fathers to sons, but not to daughters—unless they remain unmarried after the age of 34. Even though women in Nepal, like in Kenya, do most of the farming, they only own about 10 percent of the landholdings.


Women produce nearly half of the food grown in the developing world and are often first in line to bear the added burden of adapting to climate change, yet very few have recognized rights to show for their contribution,” said Cecile Bibiane Ndjebet, President, African Women's Network for Community Management of Forests (REFACOF) and one of the participants at the International Forum. “Women of the world must unite in the fight for recognition of our rights. Without our wisdom and participation, any measure to protect the world from the havoc threatened by climate change will be derailed. This fight belongs to all of us.”


Participants of the forum developed twelve recommendations for the Peruvian Government to promote at COP 20, including those below:


· Ensure compliance and enforcement of international norms and laws that protect the collective rights of indigenous peoples and women, our right to self-determination and free, prior, and informed consent.


· Prioritize tenure and collective titling of lands and territories to ensure participation of women.


· Review and update legal frameworks to ensure the active, effective and equal participation of indigenous women at all stages and levels of decision-making, administration and representation.


· Create participatory mechanisms to develop, enhance and strengthen the capacity of indigenous women and our organizations, and ensure equal participation in the various decision-making forums.


· Respect and recognize the vision and worldview of our peoples, self-determination of our territories, which have been built over thousands of years, through opportunities for participation in public policy on natural resources and forests.


· Request that States prioritize community-based adaptation in the territories of indigenous peoples and communities with the active participation of women in order to ensure the conservation and restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity.


· Ensure the participation of indigenous peoples and communities, with gender equity in the design and implementation of the legal and financial mechanisms for climate change policies.


The International Indigenous Women’s Forum: Land and Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities towards COP20,was co-organized by the National Organization of Andean and Amazonian Women of Peru (ONAMIAP), the Asociación Interétnica de Desarrollo de la Selva Peruana (AIDESEP), and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). The forum was attended by more than 60 indigenous women from 15 countries across Latin America, Asia and Africa, as well as issue experts, civil society and non-governmental organizations, and representatives of the Peruvian government.


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Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)

The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) is a global coalition of 14 Partners and over 140 international, regional and community organizations advancing forest tenure, policy and market reforms. RRI leverages the strategic collaboration and investment of its Partners and Collaborators around the world by working together on research, advocacy, and convening strategic actors to catalyze change on the ground. RRI is coordinated by the Rights and Resources Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. For more information, please visit