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In Indonesia, UN committee concerned over forest peoples’ land rights under REDD
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UNCERD) recently released a letter expressing concern that forest conservation in Indonesia accomplished through the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) mechanism could exacerbate conflicts over lands claimed by indigenous and forest dwelling peoples. As reported on Mongabay.com, indigenous rights’ groups are concerned that if the government approves forest-carbon concessions in the same manner that it has with logging and plantation concessions, forest people could be denied access rights to their traditional territories.
The Committee’s letter urgently requests that the government of Indonesia "review its laws...as well as the way they are interpreted and implemented in practice, to ensure that they respect the rights of indigenous peoples to possess, develop, control and use their communal lands."
"The Committee has received information according to which Indonesia continues to lack any effective legal means to recognize, secure and protect indigenous peoples' rights to their lands, territories and resources. For instance, it seems that Indonesia's 2008 'Regulation on Implementation Procedures for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation' reiterates Law 41 of 1999 on Forestry that appears to deny any proprietary rights to indigenous peoples in forests," Fatimata-Binta Victoire Dah, Chairperson of UNCERD stated.
“Since the rights of indigenous peoples is an important national issue, not just as it relates to forests, it requires good will and strong efforts by the various government institutions to work together to implement these rights," said Abdon Nababan, Secretary General of Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN), Indonesia's national indigenous peoples' organization.
In a press release on the same issue, RRI partner Forest Peoples Programme highlights the Committee’s August 2007 recommendation to Indonesia that “…oil palm concessions must not violate the rights of indigenous peoples to own and control their traditional lands and must not be issued without first obtaining the consent of the affected indigenous peoples.”
Pursuant to its own internal urgent action procedures, the Committee has emphasized a 31 July 2009 deadline for receipt of an Indonesian response report on these critical issues.
Mongabay.com article - REDD in Indonesia could evict forest people from their lands, warns U.N. committee
UNCERD letter to Indonesian UN ambassador
Forest Peoples Programme Press Release
Posted By Lopaka Purdy at 10:19am on March 25, 2009
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