Dialogue Between Nations

18 May 2007

Press Release
Department of Public Information
News and Media Division



Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Sixth Session
8th & 9th Meetings (AM & PM)


Indigenous Hears from Special Rapporteurs on Indigenous
Human Rights, Violence against Women, Trafficking of Women and Children

Increasingly cut off from lands, resources and traditions vital to their well-being and survival, tribal and native peoples in all regions of the world now faced marginalization, poverty, disease, violence –- and, in some instances, extinction as a people –- at the hands of indifferent Governments and profit-hungry corporations, the top United Nations expert on indigenous rights warned today.

“One of the new trends that has been reinforced in recent years is […]the continuous loss of indigenous lands and territories, including their loss of control over natural resources […]intensified as a result of economic globalization, especially with increased exploitation of [energy and water] resources,” said Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Special Rapporteur of the Geneva-based Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous peoples, in his annual address to the Permanent Forum on Indigenous issues.

Mr. Stavenhagen, who was joined by the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, highlighted trends that that had a tremendous impact on indigenous peoples, including the encroachment of extractive and logging industries, such as those in North America and Liberia; the extension of plantation economies, particularly in some regions of South-East Asia and the Amazon; and the ongoing destruction of the last original forests due to indiscriminate logging, in various countries in Equatorial Africa and Latin America. “They lead to massive violations of their human rights,” he said, adding that he had personally visited some of the areas and had been able to verify the devastation first hand, in some cases.

Citing other examples, he noted the loss of territory by Cambodia’s indigenous communities as a result of widespread corruption and economic concessions over ancestral lands granted against the provisions of the land law. Throughout South-East Asia, native peoples were vulnerable, facing military build-ups on their territories and the loss of lands as a result of commercial plantation growth and the construction of “mega-projects” that had substantial environmental and social impacts. Similar situations could be found in Africa, where some countries -- including Cameroon, Congo, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania -- routinely dispossessed vulnerable groups of their ancestral lands, even though there were laws on the books that were supposed to protect them from just such abuse.



Intro 2007 | Distinct Cultures Erode | Collective Survival | Recognition of Indigenous Rights | Anti-Poverty Goals
 Extinction | Asia | Data Collection | Implementation | Climate Change | Free, Prior and Informed Consent

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