Tag Archive | "Indigenous People"

Indigenous Community Denounces Police Repression in Formosa

Formosa province (image: Wikipedia)

Formosa province (image: Wikipedia)

Members of the Wichí community of El Colorado, in Formosa, have denounced being beaten and shot at by the provincial police.

Approximately 70 policemen descended upon the community in 11 vehicles on Monday morning, after the Wichí attempted to stop a local resident from placing fences along their ancestral land. The community have stated that a local non-indigenous person, called Pila Tedín, had been placing wire fences with his family along Wichí territory.

The activity was reported to the police several times, as the indigenous people demanded Tedín stop fencing on their territory. On Sunday 27th July, after not receiving a satisfactory response from Tedín or the police, members of the community decided to remove the fence and the chainsaw that was being used to cut the poles.

Four brothers, Avelino, Esteban, Manuel, and Ricardo Tejada, were arrested, after being beaten and having their hands tied down. A fifth brother, Edil Tejada, said that the family was concerned because “we still don’t know anything about my brothers and because Ricardo was wounded in the arm with 12 mm calibre bullets, I saved one of the cartridges.”

Tejada also said that, upon reaching the community, the police entered people’s houses, damaged their belongings, and “the beat up even the children.”

“They ran over the teachers and the children who were going to school,” added Tejada, “they were disrespectful with everyone.”

The Tejeda brothers were taken to the police station in the town of Las Lomitas and their lawyers are trying to visit them and have them released.

Posted in News From Argentina, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (0)

Nicaragua: Indigenous Groups Call For Greater Political Representation

PIA 2013 (photo: Agencia Pulsar)

PIA 2013 (photo: Agencia Pulsar)

Representatives of thirteen Latin American countries are participating in the 13th summit of Indigenous Parliament of America (PIA), taking place in Managua, Nicaragua. The main goal of the three-day meeting is to tackle food security issues, climate change and land possession and to revise the progress of legal protection of the rights of the Indigenous people in different countries. The forum includes representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú and Venezuela.

The PIA president, Hugo Carrillo, pointed out that: “The majority of indigenous people on this continent are not represented in political systems, that’s why the topics and needs of the indigenous are not discussed in the parliaments, so this is one of our challenges.” The indigenous leader noted some developments in legislative matters in Perú, Ecuador and Bolivia, but said more recognition is still needed.

“Representation of the Indigenous people in America is insufficient,” stated Brookly Rivera, the Nicaraguan deputy, and added: “The political presence of the indigenous should occur in some other way, not through traditional selection process by which other political parties are elected.” Rivera was determined: “These mechanisms don’t care for the reality and necessities of ethnic groups.”

The claims come as members of the Tupinambás indigenous group in Brazil, which is not represented in this summit, occupied a luxury hotel in the state of Bahía, in the northeast of the country. They stated that they’ve started the protest in the hotel Fazenda da Lagoa because it is situated in the territory that belonged to their ancestors. With this action they aim to push the government to accelerate the process of demarcation of their lands in the region, which is one of the most popular with tourists in Brazil. Fourteen hotel bungalows, which normally cost US$500 per night, were empty after the protesters occupied them. The Brazilian Environmental Agency has temporarily closed the property, because of different reports about the possible destruction of vegetation in the area.

Meanwhile, the Nicaraguan state also has a task pending. After a sentence was delivered by the Inter-American Court for Human Rights, Nicaragua is required to reform the Electoral Law, so that it would allow indigenous people to choose their own political representatives based on their own traditions and customs.

Indigenous groups in Nicaragua, who mainly live in the Caribbean coast, are still facing a lot of limitations when it comes to basic services and infrastructure, despite the programmes promoted by the government.

Posted in News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

First Mapuche Tehuelche Radio Opens in Esquel

Today saw the launching of the the first Mapuche Tehuelche radio in Argentina. FM Trauwleiñ To Kom 89.7 started operating at 10am in the town of Esquel, province of Chubut.

Invite to the launch of the first Mapuche radio in Esquel

Invite to the launch of the first Mapuche radio in Esquel

The FM radio has been opened in the framework of the Audiovisual Communication Services Law (22.522), usually referred to as the “Media Law” -enacted in October 2009- which establishes the possibility for indigenous people to open radio and TV services (article 151). It is the first indigenous radio to open in the country as a consequence of the new Media Law. In December last year, a Mapuche TV station opened in the nearby town of Bariloche.

Article 151 of the law establishes one of its objectives which is to preserve and promote the identity and cultural values of the indigenous community.

“The Mapuche Tehuelche people of Chubut exercise their right to communicate with identity”, says the radio’s presentation poster. It is the first time that these actors are included in the media system.

“Having earned the right to participate in the communication system, we exercise it from our territories, working with the national state, the communities, and as indigenous people” says Aldo Cayulef, leader of the community. “It is a great way for us to defend our culture and start to use the new technologies” he added.

‘Trauwleiñ To Kom’, means ‘We are all getting together’ in Mapuzungún (the Mapuche language).

The opening ceremony counted with the presence and support of various national institutions as the Federal Authority of the Audiovisual and Communication services (AFSCA), the National Institute of Indigenous affairs (INAI), and the National Commission of Communications (CNC).

Posted in News Round Ups, Round Ups ArgentinaComments (0)

Bolivia: Thousands Protest in Favour of New Motorway

After 40 days of marching for 4,000km, thousands of Bolivian indigenous people will arrive in La Paz to set up camp until president Evo Morales gives in to their demands. The indigenous people, made up of kollas and aymaras, are demanding the president authorise the construction of a motorway between Villa Tunari and San Ignacio de Moxos, which would cut through a national park, Parque Nacional Isiboro Sécure.

The controversial plan was annulled in 2011 after pressure from other local groups. The construction of the motorway can only be possible if this is revoked, as it means that the national park is currently untouchable.

A member of the march, David Ilbañez, told Observador Global “the motorway would mean development for San Ignacio de Moxos… as well as for Bolivia” while another protestor said that they do not identify with the environmental argument, as the area has already been destroyed by deforestation. Fortunato Guzman, representative of the committee of the march, told La Nación that the motorway would improve the lives of the indigenous people.

The stretch of motorway between Villa Tunari and San Ignacio de Moxos, which was to cross the national park, is paralysed, while the other stages of this route will remain unchanged.

The controversial section of the motorway, if allowed, would be built by the Brazilian firm OAS with a fund of $332 million, also from Brazil.

Posted in News From Latin America, Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

Peru: Villagers in Jungle Reject Forest Law

Indigenous organisations in the Peruvian jungle have rejected the attempt made by the government to approve a new Forestry and Wildlife Law. They noted that this will allow the sale of forests to foreign capital.

Indigenous organisations have been protesting since Sunday in the city of Iquitos, the capital of the Loreto region, in protest against the Peruvian Government’s intention to adopt the new Law.

The communities say the measure will facilitate the sale of forests to foreign companies. The communities comprise of the Association for the Development of the Peruvian Amazon.

The vice president of the Organisation of Indigenous Peoples of the East, Manuel Ramirez Santana, reported that congressmen from the Peruvian Parliament’s Agricultural Commission had allegedly come to Iquitos to try to validate the proposed law with indigenous leaders.

However, Santana said there was no legitimate representation of Amazonian communities at the meetings. The representative of the communities said that they trid to validate the new Law of Forestry and Wildlife with an Indian organisation with a dubious reputation called the Coordinator for Indigenous People of the Amazon.

He accused the organisation of validating the standard promoted by the government.

The president of the Environmental Network of the Loreto region, Paul McAuley, lamented that the Peruvian government’s sole interest is to fulfill a requirement of the United States Government as part of the Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The environmentalist explained that “the new Forest Law is going to decide the value of forest concessions and will be delivered without any competition.”

Given the controversy over the attempt to adopt this standard, the president of the Agrarian Commission of the Peruvian Congress, Aníbal Huerta, this law is subject to further discussion in the legislature.

Indigenous organisations will continue their protests until the government meets the call for real indigenous leaders and discusses the possible benefits and threats of the New Law of Forestry and Wildlife with them.

Story Courtesy of Agencia Pulsar, a news agency run by AMARC-ALC network of community radios.

Posted in Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (1)

Mexico: U.N. Report Reveals that 38% of the Nations Children are Malnourished

The United Nations Programme for Development (PNUD) revealed this information in a report. It further states that members of indigenous communities are living in precarious conditions. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) has condemned the state of Mexico for violations.

The text was presented on Monday by the United Nations. The document was prepared by the office of Human Development of Indigenous People in Mexico.

The report says that 90% of indigenous communities cannot access education, health, housing or basic services.
Meanwhile, half of indigenous women do not complete primary school and infant mortality is very high.

The report indicates that given the rates in 2010, for each 10,000 newborns, 228 die. The statistic was described by the UN as “very high and similar to the estimates in some of the countries of Africa.”

The director of the United Nations Programme for Development (PNUD), Magdy Martínez Solimán, lamented that Mexico has a “historical debt to the indigenous people.” And she explained that is because of “a succession of humiliations as they were dispossessed of their land and of their rights.”

Similarly, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (CIDH) ordered the Mexican government responsible for the violations of Valentina Rosendo Cantú and Inés Fernández Ortega.

Both belong to the community of Tlapanecas in the southern state of Guerrero. The women were beaten and sexually abused by soldiers.

What’s more the commission identified the violation of judicial guarantees. Following this, the state of Mexico should, “conduct, within a reasonable investigation path, a plan to punish those responsible.”

In a dialogue with Radio Bemba, Cantú explained that, “there are many women that are violated by the military, but never made complaints.” The victim explained that “this is a shame, and occurs because of not knowing Spanish.”

Story courtesy of Agencia Pulsar, a news agency run by AMARC-ALC network of community radios.

Posted in Round Ups Latin AmericaComments (0)

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