Indigenous Youth Unite For Rivers

“Rivers like the Klamath and the Xingu are the bloodlines of every human on the planet.”

Eye On The Amazon -  Brasilia, Brazil – After an amazing journey deep into the Amazon we arrived safely in Brasilia with a hopeful feeling of urgency in the struggle to preserve the Amazon and its people. For our group – comprised mostly of indigenous North American youth – meeting our indigenous brothers and sisters, experiencing the Amazon’s unique environment, and witnessing the destruction being caused by the Belo Monte Dam project is powerfully motivating,

We are people who call the Klamath River home. The Yurok, Hoopa, Karuk, and Klamath tribes are the protectors of the Klamath River landscape. The campaign to remove the dams on the Klamath has been a long fight, won through science, protest and defending the inherent rights of indigenous communities. All of us have prioritized protecting the Klamath River in our lives and many of us have been in the struggle since we were little kids. Seeing the Amazon Basin facing these threats has focused us on the fight to save the world’s ecosystems and indigenous cultures. Through this experience, we have all become even more committed to the cause and will be warriors for life!

16-year-old Yurok tribal member Mahlija Florendo stated today, “Rivers like the Klamath, the Xingu, and the Amazon are the bloodlines of every human on the planet. They are our life-givers and they all run with the same blood through all of us. We need to realize that we are all human and we all need to stand up for our rights, for our rivers, and our mother earth. These people from the Xingu are family and all our blood runs red.”

The similarities between the genocide and oppression of indigenous cultures happening now in the Amazon and continuing in the U.S. are frightening. Power, mining and logging companies are wreaking havoc on the Amazon, and their resource extraction operations are disrupting the ecological balance of one of the richest biological hotspots on the planet. They are displacing the lives of people, who have been stewards of their lands since time immemorial , protecting and enhancing their environment.

Our interactions in the Xikrin-Kayapó village of Poti-Krô were profound. These people are facing a monster, the Belo Monte Dam. If the construction of Belo Monte continues we fear for the lives of the Xikrin, Kayapó, Juruna and Arara Tribes. The entire region is being affected, and the environment and inhabitants are being destroyed by this shortsighted venture.

Already we see deforestation, pollution, and mining corporations like the Canadian company Belo Sun moving in. As temporary workers from other regions inundate the area for the short-lived jobs offered by the dam’s construction company Norte Energia, the region’s inhabitants are being pushed out. If the dam is completed these people will be forced to work in mines, log the rainforest, or move to the cities to live in slums. The livelihoods of people who have subsisted from fishing, hunting, farming, and even tourism will be lost through the destruction of the ecology of the Xingu River region. “It’s depressing that the future of these kids depends on this company, which seems to have no idea what it’s like to live and depend on the Xingu River” said Damien Scott, 16-year-old Yurok, Karuk tribe member.” Full Article

Xingu Rising, by Todd Southgate, is a new short film about the struggle to defend the Xingu River and its people from the Belo Monte Dam and the Brazilian government’s development plans for the Amazon. It features images from the Xingu and Rio+20, and statements by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff showing the immense dichotomy between the government and its people.

Learn more here.

Nicaragua Canal Could Wreak Environmental Ruin

The most likely route of the HKND’s canal is 286 kilometers long and would cut an approximately 90-kilometer swathe across Lake Nicaragua, requiring a major transformation of the lake bed and local rivers. To rival the expanded Panama Canal (slated for completion in 2015) by accommodating ships of up to 400,000 tons, the proposed Nicaraguan waterway will be 27.6 meters deep, and the HKND has claimed that it may be an implausible 520 meters wide.

Scientific American- “Last June, the Nicaraguan government granted a concession to a Hong Kong company to build a canal connecting the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, through the Caribbean Sea. The HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company (operating as HKND Group) signed a 50-year lease, renewable for another 50 years. It plans to break ground in December after spending this year establishing a route and conducting feasibility studies. Included in the concession are the rights to build and operate industrial centers, airports, a rail system and oil pipelines, as well as land expropriation and the rights to natural resources found along the canal route.

The Nicaraguan government says that the $40-billion project will boost economic growth in the country — the second-poorest nation in the Americas — from 4.5% in 2013 to 14.6% in 2016. No economic or environmental feasibility studies have yet been revealed to the public. Nicaragua has not solicited its own environmental impact assessment and will rely instead on a study commissioned by the HKND. The company has no obligation to reveal the results to the Nicaraguan public.

In our view, this canal could create an environmental disaster in Nicaragua and beyond. The excavation of hundreds of kilometers from coast to coast, traversing Lake Nicaragua, the largest drinking-water reservoir in the region, will destroy around 400,000 hectares of rainforests and wetlands.

The accompanying development could imperil surrounding ecosystems. Some 240 kilometers north of the most likely route of the canal lies the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve — 2 million hectares of tropical forest that is the last refuge of many disappearing species (see ‘Nicaragua carve-up‘). Less than 115 kilometers to the south is the Indio Maiz Biological Reserve, with more than 318,000 hectares of tropical dry forest. Worse still, the probable canal route cuts through the northern sector of the Cerro Silva Natural Reserve.

The project threatens multiple autonomous indigenous communities such as the Rama, Garifuna, Mayangna, Miskitu and Ulwa, and some of the most fragile, pristine and scientifically important marine, terrestrial and lacustrine ecosystems in Central America.

Nicaragua’s Indio Maiz and Bosawas biosphere reserves — key links in this corridor — sandwich possible canal routes. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of the forests and wetlands would be cleared for the canal, destroying the habitats and food sources of already endangered species such as the Baird’s tapir (Tapirus bairdii), the spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), the harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja) and the jaguar (Panthera onca), a creature of mystical importance to Mesoamerican cultures.

International action
The contract for an interoceanic canal in Nicaragua represents a classic example of the challenges faced by a developing country in balancing economic growth and environmental protection. More sustainable ways to raise revenue and employment from Lake Nicaragua could include expanded irrigation, tourism and aquaculture. The population of Nicaragua is expected to grow by 37% by 2050, so water shortages and pressure on natural resources are already set to increase, limiting sustainable growth and public welfare. In preparation for a future of climate change, food insecurity and biodiversity loss, Nicaragua must establish long-term measures for the protection of its environment, not sacrifice itself to speculators.

A loose coalition of more than 30 concerned groups filed legal complaints with the government of Nicaragua in the second half of last year. These included three communities — the Miskitu and Ulwa indigenous peoples and the Rama–Kriol territorial government in the South Atlantic Autonomous Region — arguing that the canal concession violates their land rights and legal autonomy (see go.nature.com/ttshoc). These legal petitions were overridden by the National Assembly in December.

Swift and decisive international action is called for. The Nicaraguan Academy of Sciences (of which one of us, J.A.H.-P., is president) is coordinating efforts with the InterAmerican Network of Academies of Sciences to carry out an independent impact assessment. We need more conservation groups and social organizations to lend their expertise and funds if we are to prevent the tragic devastation of indigenous communities along with terrestrial, marine and freshwater biodiversity and resources in Central America.”

Full Article & Breakdown of Specific Environmental Concerns Here - Scientific American

The Breathing Lands

The Elders of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation say the water flows through their blood and their bodies are built of the trout that swim in these clean rivers and lakes. Taking care of their watershed is a relationship at the core of who they are as an Indigenous Nation, it is a responsibility handed down to them from the Creator through the teachings of their Elders.

Also known as Big Trout Lake First Nation or KI for short, is a First Nations community in Northwestern Ontario.

Source -“The Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) people have governed and cared for their Indigenous Homeland — Kitchenuhmaykoosib Aaki — since time before memory, passing on their way of life from one generation to the next. Human remains found in Wapekeka have been carbon dated from over 7,000 years ago. Similar remains found within the KI village were dated to be over 5,000 years old — evidence that Indigenous peoples have occupied these exact village sites for over 350 generations.

But things are changing rapidly in KI and the elders are struggling to prepare the youth to meet these challenges. KI is located at a relatively high latitude, which means they are likely to experience the impacts of global climate change early and more severely than most other places. The close connection of the KI people to the land and climate means that the disrupted weather patterns and increasing incidents of extreme weather will hit particularly hard on the people of KI.

KI’s territory is also rich in minerals and precious metals, which has attracted various mining and exploration companies who have attempted to operate on KI lands without the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of the community. The elders feel that passing on their traditional knowledge to the younger generations is vital to providing them with the tools to adapt to the ongoing social and environmental changes they see happening around them…” 

World Bank Hands Inga 3 Dam Over to Private Sector

IR –  “International Rivers has learned that the World Bank has abruptly decided to develop the Inga 3 Dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo as a private investment through the International Finance Corporation, rather than as a public sector project. The Bank withdrew a US$73 million IDA grant for the project, which was scheduled for approval by its board of directors on February 11. The move will compound the problems of the World Bank’s biggest ever hydro-power project, and ensure the project will serve the interests of mining corporations rather than the DRC population.

According to internal sources, the IFC will support a private investment in the Inga 3 Dam by Chinese companies in a deal that was brokered by the administrator of USAID. International Rivers decries the World Bank’s decision for the following reasons:

  • The International Finance Corporation has a poor social and environmental track record. In recent months, the Corporation was admonished by its own ombudsperson for serious abuses in the Tata Mundra thermal power plant in India and the Dinant palm oil project in Honduras. The IFC does not have the safeguard policies or the expertise to ensure proper social and environmental impact assessments for this huge project. Handing the Inga 3 Dam over to the private sector will lead to further environmental shortcuts and compromises in the project.
  • The Inga 3 Dam would generate electricity for mining companies and the South Africa market, not for the more than 90% of the DRC population with no access to electricity. Expanding energy access for the Congolese population is a development priority, but is not of commercial interest to investors.  Handing the project over to a private investor will make it even less likely the country’s poor people would benefit from the project.
  • The IFC deal was arranged behind closed doors without any accountability to the DRC parliament, the World Bank’s board of directors, or civil society. It was reportedly brokered in a personal initiative by USAID administrator Rajiv Shah, just weeks after the US Congress instructed the US government to oppose supporting large hydropower projectssuch as Inga 3 through international financial institutions. Non-transparent deals such as the Inga 3 Dam are the best recipe for deepening corruption in the DRC. They will not strengthen the public accountability that is necessary for social and economic development.

Working with civil society partners in the DRC, International Rivers will continue to oppose destructive megaprojects such as the Inga 3 Dam, and will promote clean local energy solutions that are more effective at reducing poverty and protecting the environment.

Media contacts: Peter Bosshard, Policy Director, International Rivers, peter@internationalrivers.org@PeterBosshard

Learn More on International Rivers

Victory! India Saves ‘Avatar Tribe’ From Vedanta Mine

Many people wrongly believe that the fight for tribal peoples’ rights is unwinnable, especially when they’re pitched against huge multinationals like Vedanta. But this outcome shows that might isn’t always right. The Dongria’s determination, coupled with overwhelming public support, has set a new precedent for tribal rights in India.’

 YouTube“Mine, narrated by Joanna Lumley, tells the story of the remote Dongria Kondh tribe’s struggle to protect Niyamgiri, the mountain they worship as a God. London-based mining company Vedanta Resources plans a vast open-pit bauxite mine in India’s Niyamgiri hills, and the Dongria Kondh know that means the destruction of their forests, their way of life, and their mountain God…”

Victory: India saves ‘Avatar tribe’ from Vedanta mine

Vedanta had failed to seek the consent of the Dongria before embarking on the project and even built a refinery at the bottom of the Niyamgiri Hills, which cost the company an estimated US $800 million.

Survival International – “In a sensational victory in the stand-off between India’s ‘real Avatar tribe’ and British mining giant Vedanta Resources, India’s authorities have quashed the company’s plans to mine the Dongria Kondh tribe’s sacred hills, it has been widely reported.

The decision follows unprecedented consultations with Dongria Kondh villages surrounding the mine site, which were ordered by India’s Supreme Court and dubbed the country’s first ever ‘environmental referendum’.

All twelve Dongria Kondh villages involved in the consultation courageously rejected Vedanta’s project in the face of intimidation and harassment, but the final decision lay with the Ministry for Environment and Forests.

The crushing defeat will have global repercussions for companies intent on working on tribal peoples’ lands and should serve as a lesson that tribal communities’ prior consent must always be sought.

The Dongria Kondh are celebrating their victory over British mining giant Vedanta Resources.
© Toby Nicholas/Survival

 

Survival International has been at the forefront of a global campaign supporting the Dongria’s struggle against Vedanta Resources, and persuaded celebrities such as Joanna Lumley and Michael Palin to champion the tribe’s cause.

Actor Joanna Lumley, who narrated Survival’s short film ‘Mine’ about the Dongria’s plight, said about the victory, ‘I am thrilled and delighted by this marvellous news. It shows that there really is hope for the ’little people’ of the world, standing up against governments and the greed of large corporations. The strength and resilience of the Dongria Kondh people has been both inspirational and humbling.’”

Full Article On Survival International

Unveiling Afghanistan : The Unheard Voices of Progress

Just two months before Afghanistan elects a new President, Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA and FIDH launch the Campaign “Unveiling Afghanistan: The Unheard Voices of Progress”, which aims to spark discussion and debate about building a society that protects women’s rights and human rights. Over 50 days, 50 interviews with influential social, political, and cultural actors will be published in the Huffington Post and in the major Afghan daily newspaper, 8 Sobh. 

*FIDH - These elections are a critical step in the democratic transition Afghans have been demanding. Civil society is in the process of re-building itself. It is time for civil society actors to express their vision for the future of their country and have it heard by the world, declared Karim Lahidji, FIDH President.

Crippled by war, poverty, social divisions, and devastating underdevelopment, Afghanistan’s governing institutions remain weak, and the rule of law almost non-existent. In the face of overwhelming obstacles, the population maintains hope for a peaceful future. Ordinary citizens, in particular women and a new young generation of civil society actors, have unfailingly demonstrated their faith in progress, justice and democratisation in Afghanistan. These actors for positive change in Afghanistan are making their voices heard through the “Unveiling Afghanistan” campaign.

Serious security concerns have not prevented citizens from continuing to exert their right to participate in the democratic process, nor parents from sending their daughters back to school. Universities are overflowing and teachers keep their doors open. The international actors engaged in shaping Afghanistan’s future must acknowledge this progress and act to preserve it,” Guissou Jahangiri, Executive Director of Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA, explained.

Women and girls in Afghanistan are defending their rights to attend school and universities. They are claiming their rights to the same employment opportunities as their fellow male citizens. They are exercising their political rights by voting and even standing as candidates in elections. New political parties and movements with pro-democracy agendas have been registered; educated and committed representatives have entered parliament. Sources of information have proliferated, with hundreds of successful radio stations, television channels and newspapers. Simultaneously, civil society has expanded, with new organizations, networks, cultural, artistic and sporting initiatives promoting civic participation and human rights, including women’s rights.

Unveiling Afghanistan gives voice to the demands of men and women for an open and inclusive society in Afghanistan. Critically, it will promote women’s participation in the electoral process, by building awareness and knowledge amongst women about their fundamental rights and electoral choices. In doing so, “Unveiling Afghanistan” seeks to contribute to the emergence of a culture of democracy, human rights and gender equality in Afghanistan.”

Read the first interview on the Huffington Post blog “Unveiling Afghanistan”

Dr Humaira Qaderi “When are you going to burn yourself?”

* FIDH is an international NGO federating 178 human rights organisations in more than 100 countries. FIDH defends all civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It acts in the legal and political field for the creation and reinforcement of international instruments for the protection of Human Rights and for their implementation. http://www.fidh.org

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Soldiers Burn Down Cambodian Homes for Chinese Company

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TruthLoader – “Soldiers representing the Chinese company Tianjin Union Development Group have forcefully evicted 29 families in the Koh Kong province of Cambodia and burned down their homes and crops. In 2008 the Tianjin Union Development Group was granted 36,000 hectares of land by the Cambodian government in order to construct a multi-billion-dollar tourism zone in the previously protected Botum Sakor National Park, complete with hotels, casino, golf course, seaport and highway.

What development means in Cambodia — “The Playground”

“We’ve heard of China’s buying sprees. That it’s plowed billions of dollars into some of the poorest nations in the world. But the story we don’t know is what this money means for the people there. In Cambodia, the cost has been devastating. More than 700,000 people have lost their homes — others their lives — while China buys the former killing fields for resorts, hotels, and exclusive residences. And as this country of genocide descends into another era of chaos and violence, some whisper it’s the second coming of Pol Pot.

But one woman has fought back. In this fast-paced narrative, Terrence McCoy follows Vanny Tep’s quest to save Cambodia from China’s money. Leading a small, fiery group of women, Vanny has sparked a grassroots movement from one of the most daunting slums in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Her battles are against the Cambodian government, Chinese companies, and a male-dominated society. Powerful and profound, “The Playground” takes us across Cambodia to discover the true meaning of a global Chinatown.”

The Lost Spirits

The Lost Spirits is a documentary following the lives of a Native American family living in Queens, New York. In recent years, many conflicts have plagued their tribe and stirred up controversy within the town. It began with the removal of their family cemetery to build a road in the 1930’s. The artifacts and burial items mysteriously went missing. The acres of land they used to own was snatched by the government for back taxes, and the remaining land is landlocked by the surrounding owners. The Barron family, members of the Matinecock and Montaukett tribes, could never seem to get their voices heard. This film is to show people who they are, what happened in their lives, and the future of American Indians in Little Neck, New York.

Wiki – The Montaukett or Montauk people are a Native American tribe of Algonquian-speaking people from the eastern end of Long Island, New York. They are related in language as well to Native American tribes who lived across Long Island Sound in what is now Connecticut and Rhode Island. Native relics and ruins are still visible at Theodore Roosevelt County Park, just east of the village of Montauk, New York.

Montauk people historically spoke the Mohegan-Montauk-Narragansett language, also known as the Algonquian Y-dialect, similar to their New England neighbors, the Pequot and the Narragansett. Native Americans living on Long Island eventually became identified by European settlers by the place name in which they lived, such as the Montauk and the Shinnecock, artificially identifying the peoples separately and erroneously into “tribes”, although they all shared the same culture and language. The Native Americans of the east end of the Island shared a common culture with each other and with other groups along most of the northern shore of what is now called Long Island Sound, while the west of Long Island were the culturally and linguistically distinct Lenape groups that lived in all of what is now New Jersey and in parts of what is now eastern Pennsylvania and the northern shore of Delaware.

The Montaukett Indian Nation is an unrecognized tribe of individuals who claim descent from historic Montaukett people. The Montaukett Indian Nation did not become extinct but have “their own government in the position and administration of Chief Robert Pharaoh.” Additionally, the nation has over 600 members on its original tribal roll.” The nation claims a relation to the language and culture of the now federally recognized Shinnecock Indian Nation in neighboring Southampton.

The entirety of Montauk was sold in 1890 to Arthur W. Benson “subject to the rights of the Montauk tribe of indians” noting the existence of a few members and their families. A case brought pursuant to a 1906 New York State legislative to enable the Montaukett to establish claims to land through deeds from 1660 through 1702 failed with the tribe being found to be extinct for the purpose of making any such claim. The 1686 Dongan Patent allowed the Montauk Proprietors to purchase the remaining unpurchased lands between the ponds and east of Lake Wyandanee (Lake Montauk), a purchase that was made in 1687.

The Montauk Friends of Olmsted Parks/Montauk Trustee corporation claims to be the successor to the proprietors of Montauk that entered into the deeds with the Montauketts. It remains before the court making claims through the Indian deeds and the 1686 Dongan Patent and Charter. The Montauketts have been unsuccessful in getting their title back. The Montauketts recent concern has been to develop a museum and learning center in the county park.

The New York State Assembly approved the 2013 Montaukett Act, which reversed the century-old state declaration that the tribe was extinct.”

The Lost Spirits Full Length Documentary

END:CIV – What Would You Fight For?

Based in part on Endgame, the best-selling book by Derrick Jensen, END:CIV asks: “If your homeland was invaded by aliens who cut down the forests, poisoned the water and air, and contaminated the food supply, would you resist?”

“A fierce critique of systematic violence and industrial civilization, End:Civ is not intended for garden-variety environmentalists. If you are anywhere below, say, an 8 on that sliding scale of pissed off, then this film is going to scare you…which means you should watch it.”

-Eugene Weekly

1aquote-derrick-jensen“There are very sober people talking about the possible death of entire oceans. The end of fish. If that’s not worth fighting for, what is?” Activist and author Derrick Jensen asserts that industrial civilization is murdering the planet and it must be stopped. We need to decolonize our hearts and minds. As soon as our allegiance is to the real world and not industrial capitalism, things become more clear. His books include A Language Older Than Words, The Culture of Make Believe, What We Leave Behind and Endgame.”

END:CIV- “The causes underlying the collapse of civilizations are usually traced to overuse of resources. As we write this, the world is reeling from economic chaos, peak oil, climate change, environmental degradation, and political turmoil. Every day, the headlines re-hash stories of scandal and betrayal of the public trust. We don?t have to make outraged demands for the end of the current global system – it seems to be coming apart already. 

But acts of courage, compassion and altruism abound, even in the most damaged places. By documenting the resilience of the people hit hardest by war and repression, and the heroism of those coming forward to confront the crisis head-on, END:CIV illuminates a way out of this all-consuming madness and into a saner future.

Backed by Jensen’s narrative, the film calls on us to act as if we truly love this land. The film trips along at a brisk pace, using music, archival footage, motion graphics, animation, slapstick and satire to deconstruct the global economic system, even as it implodes around us. END:CIV illustrates first-person stories of sacrifice and heroism with intense, emotionally-charged images that match Jensen’s poetic and intuitive approach. Scenes shot in the back country provide interludes of breathtaking natural beauty alongside clearcut evidence of horrific but commonplace destruction.”

Human Population Growth & Wildlife Extinction

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©Rebecca McFarland 2010

January 24, 2014 – “There are more than 7 billion people on the planet, and we’re adding 227,000 more every day. The toll on wildlife is impossible to miss: Species are disappearing 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the natural rate — the fastest rate since dinosaurs roamed the planet. We can reduce our own population and consumption to an ecologically sustainable level in ways that promote human rights; decrease poverty and overcrowding; raise our standard of living; and allow plants, animals and ecosystems to thrive…”

Voices of Nonviolence: Little Town of Bethlehem

Source – “Little Town of Bethlehem examines the struggle to promote equality through nonviolent engagement in the midst of incredible violence that has dehumanized all sides. Sami’s story begins as a young boy living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank; Yonatan’s starts on an Israeli military base; and Ahmad’s begins in a Palestinian refugee camp. 

Their three stories are interwoven through the major events of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, starting with the 1972 massacre at the Munich Olympics and following through the first Intifada, suicide bombings in Israel, the Oslo Accords, the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin, and the second Intifada. Sami, Yonatan, and Ahmad each describe the events from their unique perspective, interjecting personal reflections and explaining how these events led them to become involved in the nonviolence movement.

In Bethlehem, the city where it is said that God became man, Sami just wants to be seen as human. First learning about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as a teen, he began lecturing about nonviolence in high school. Later, Sami traveled to India to learn more about Gandhi. As the result of his discoveries, he founded the organization Holy Land Trust to promote nonviolence in the Palestinian community.

“When you struggle together, you change the paradigm. There’s still struggle…but it’s not This Side or That Side. You are struggling together to find the solution. And in that, there is very real HOPE…”

Yonatan embraced his father’s legacy as a pilot in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and fulfilled his own dream of becoming an IDF helicopter pilot. However, his journey led him to the astonishing decision to join with 26 other IDF pilots who publicly refused to participate in missions that would lead to civilian casualties. Co-founding the organization Combatants for Peace, made up of former Israeli and Palestinian combatants, Yonatan struggles to reconcile his love for his country with his growing opposition to the Israeli occupation.

After studying in Spain, Ahmad returned to Bethlehem to become a nonviolence trainer. Despite the daily challenges of living in a refugee camp, Ahmad remains committed to his community and risks his life and livelihood in nonviolent actions to bring an end to oppression.

For their work, Sami and Ahmad have been labeled as “Israeli collaborators” by some within the Palestinian community, and are seen as a threat to security by the Israeli military. By refusing to participate in offensive military actions against Palestinian civilians, Yonatan has been branded a traitor by some Israelis and can no longer work in his homeland.

All three men have had their lives threatened by members of their own communities as a result of their work. Sami, Yonatan, and Ahmad continue to embrace their common humanity and equality for all, daring to have the hope that peace in the Holy Land can be achieved through nonviolent struggle…

“They did it by discovering common ground in the nonviolence movement…”

Discussions on nonviolence -

Peru: Gas Expansion in Amazon ‘Indigenous Reserve’

The Ecologist – “The Peruvian government is pushing ahead with plans to expand gas operations in a supposedly protected reserve in the Amazon despite calls by the United Nations to suspend them. 

The company leading the operations, Pluspetrol, moved one step closer to proceeding with the expansion of the Camisea gas project – Peru’s biggest ever energy development – following a report by the vice-ministry of inter-culturality (VMI) last week.

Pluspetrol’s plans include drilling 18 wells and conducting seismic tests in an ‘intangible’ reserve for indigenous peoples living in ‘voluntary isolation’ and ‘initial contact’.

The reserve is also part of the buffer zone for the Manu national park, where Unesco says the biological diversity “exceeds that of any other place on Earth.”

UN special rapporteur visited in December

The VMI, Pluspetrol and the energy ministry are continuing to push ahead with the expansion plans despite recommendations made by the UN’s special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, during a visit to Peru in December.

“As if the UN’s special rapporteur didn’t exist or hadn’t made an official visit”, was how Servindi, a Peruvian news website, responded to the VMI’s report.

Anaya made his recommendations in a formal, 2,714 word statement read at a press conference in Lima. One recommendation was that the government perform an“exhaustive study” of the indigenous peoples in the gas project region.

Another that it “shouldn’t proceed with the proposed expansion without previously and conclusively establishing that their human rights will not be violated.”

“It’s obvious that these groups are extremely vulnerable”, Anaya said at the end of his eight day visit.

Violence can be expected

Pilar Cameno, from Peruvian NGO DAR, told the Guardian that the expansion could lead to“violent encounters” between gas project workers and indigenous peoples, “increased mortality rates”, the loss of land and access to resources, and environmental contamination.

“The Peruvian state must heed the UN rapporteur’s recommendations and implement them”, Cameno says. “What’s at stake here is the survival of the indigenous peoples in isolation and initial contact – not just as individuals, but as whole cultures.”

Full Article on The Ecologist

PERU FINES PLUSPETROL FOR DAMAGE TO AMAZON POND

Nov. 27, 2013

AP – “Peru’s environmental protection agency has levied a $7 million fine on the Argentine oil company Pluspetrol for damage in the Amazon jungle to a pond in the country’s biggest oil concession.

The fine follows a total of $13 million in other sanctions against the company imposed this year by the agency for oil contamination. Those included the largest single fine ever levied in Peru against an oil company.

Pluspetrol did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

The company produces 15,000 barrels of oil daily in a lot in the northern state of Loreto where the environmental agency says the Shanshococha pond disappeared due to production activity.

Peru produces 62,000 barrels of oil daily.”

20 Years of NAFTA Show Why TPP Must Be Stopped

Excerpts, The Raw Story – ” The post-NAFTA era has been marked by growing inequality, declining job security and new leverage for corporations to attack government regulations enacted in the public interest.

But it wasn’t supposed to be that way. Back in 1986, when the leaders of the US, Canada and Mexico began talks on a regional trade deal that eight years later would culminate in the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), they sold the pact to the public as an economic win-win for all parties involved.

On signing the treaty in 1994, then-President Bill Clinton said, “NAFTA means jobs. American jobs, and good-paying American jobs. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t support this agreement.” He promised that NAFTA would result in “an export boom to Mexico,” and claimed that such trade deals “transcend ideology” because support for them “is so uniform that it unites people in both parties.”

Twenty years later, we can test how those claims panned out in the real world. And Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch did just that, releasing a comprehensive study of NAFTA’s impacts…

Shortly after NAFTA, we did a very detailed dig to find all the promises of US producers who made very specific claims before the treaty was signed that ‘if NAFTA passes, we will add X number of jobs.’ So we went and looked at the federal government’s Trade Adjustment Assistance database and we found that company after company — big US manufacturers like Chrysler, GE, Caterpillar — that promised to create specific numbers of US jobs instead were offshoring thousands and thousands of US jobs to Mexico, and then they were bringing the product back into the country and selling it. It was still their US brand name, but made with much lower wages in Mexico.

The trade data are very telling. The year before NAFTA, the United States had a small trade deficit with Canada — about $20 billion dollars — and a slight surplus of $2 billion dollars with Mexico. Now, 20 years later, we have almost a $200 billion dollar trade deficit with those countries. So the surplus with Mexico turned into a huge, huge deficit, as all those companies relocated there to produce goods with lower wages.

And this Trade Adjustment Assistance database is really fascinating. There are 845,000 specific US workers who are certified under just this one narrow program as having lost their jobs since NAFTA to trade with Mexico and Canada. And you’d be surprised at the kinds of companies you see. In the beginning it was a huge wipeout of the auto sector, textiles and apparel, and appliances. But now it’s computers, it’s clean manufacturing of computer chips, high-end electronics, aircraft – these are high-end, high-tech, well-trained, well-paid jobs. The so-called jobs of the future are all being offshored.

Even if you didn’t lose a job, what we’ve found with this study, and, more importantly, what economists, including those who supported NAFTA originally, found is that shifting a million well-paying jobs out has an effect economy-wide on wage levels and on income inequality.” Full Article on The Raw Story

Related Content & Links

The Council of Canadians – “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is 12-nation (and counting) free trade and corporate rights deal that is being led by the United States but also includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Thailand, The Philippines and South Korea have also expressed interest in joining the talks, which would eclipse the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the ways democracy would be constrained in the interests of multinational corporations.

Of the 26 chapters currently being negotiated in the TPP, only two have to do with trade. The other 24 deal with issues as diverse as how a government regulates corporate activity, what Crown corporations can and cannot do, how long pharmaceutical patents or copyright terms should be, how the Internet is governed, the sharing of personal information across borders, banking and taxation rules, and when a company or investor should be compensated when environmental or public health policies interfere with profits.

The TPP is also considered a geopolitical weapon of the U.S. government, which is trying to isolate China in the Asia-Pacific region, and to block alternative, and more successful, forms of development than the “free trade” model has to offer. But the TPP is being resisted by people across all participating countries because of how it will lock-in a myopic type of corporate globalization that is the main cause of runaway climate change and which has done little to create good, sustainable jobs or reduce poverty worldwide. People working across borders fought and defeated the Free Trade Area of the Americas. Our goal is to make sure the TPP suffers the same fate.”

via MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES (MSF)

Trans-Pacific Partnership

The most harmful trade pact ever for access to medicines.

While I was searching for more information on the TPP and work that is being done at our local Santa Teresa point of entry, I came across this interesting pdf from the White House…

U.S. – Mexico
21st Century Border Management

Realizing the Strategic
National Value of our Trade,
Tourism and Ports of Entry
with Mexico

“A renewed focus by the United States and Mexico on economic cooperation and efforts by Congress to facilitate legitimate trade and tourism with Mexico offer a number of opportunities. The proposed Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 proposes the addition of 3,500 additional Customs and Border Protection officers to staff the ports of entry to be funded by a newly created Comprehensive Immigration Reform Trust Fund. In addition, S. 178 and H.R. 1108, the Cross Border Trade Enhancement Act of 2013, aim to facilitate enhanced staffing but also infrastructure improvements at ports of entry via alternative financing mechanisms such as public-private partnerships. Legislation such as this is necessary in order for the United States to take full advantage of NAFTA’s potential as well as the next generation of trade agreements, including the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which have the potential to significantly enhance North American competitiveness for decades to come.” Full Report Available Here

More information on the planning/development and work along the US-MX border can also be found here -

Oil Execs Pack for Greenland As Drilling Moratorium Cancelled

Greenland has given a green light to oil exploration in the north east of the country – an area previously untouched by industry. The move comes as the cash-strapped country searches for a way to fix it’s economy and give it independence. RT’s Alexey Yaroshevsky takes a close look at the pros and cons of the decision… 

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Image: 2008