Friday, February 24, 2012

Indigenous peoples' rights ignored as Tanzania protects foreign investors

Now, on Intercontinental Cry

Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Ignored as Tanzanian Govt Protects Foreign Investors

February 21, 2012
Despite years of outcry by international human rights institutions and local activists urging the government of Tanzania to recognize and respect indigenous rights, cases of systematic land alienation and forced evictions continue to be meted on indigenous people. Writing for Gáldu, Shadrack Kavilu reports.
Indigenous peoples’ ancestral land is mostly perceived by government as idle or underutilized and whenever there is a competing land use such as photographic tourism, hunting, large scale cultivation or hunting, indigenous peoples land is easily grabbed or leased to multinational companies to give room to more 'economically viable' investments.
The wide spread cases of violation of indigenous peoples rights in Tanzania has been blamed on lack of specific national policy or legislation on indigenous peoples.
The few enactments of law and amendments done in recent past does not reflect the interest of these indigenous people in terms of recognizing their identity and protecting their rights such as land and natural resources.
Over the years indigenous hunter-gatherer Hadzabe and Akie, and the pastoralist Barabaig and Maasai people have lost huge chunk of land to state authorities who hence convert it to game reserves, cultivation and mine fields.
Though violations of indigenous peoples’ rights are wide spread in Africa, some countries such as Congo Brazzaville have made significant steps in protecting the rights of these people.
Despite international pressure mounted on Tanzania to safeguard the rights of indigenous people, the country is yet to recognize them by enacting laws that safeguard, protect and promote their rights.
The country does not have a clear cut definition of who are indigenous people and thus all ethnic Tanzanians are regarded as indigenous.
Human rights activists attribute the forceful evictions and violation of indigenous people’s rights in the country to lack of legal and administrative measures that address the intrinsic link between land, identity and traditional culture.
The government has defied calls by several civil society organizations such as Hakiardhi, Pingo’s Forum, Cords, Taphgo, Ngonet, Alapa, Paicodeo, TNRF and Ujamaa CRT who have been in the forefront advocating for the enactment of laws that conform to the constitution and other international human rights instruments and standards.
Elifuraha Isaya Laltaika, the executive director of Association for Law and Advocacy for Pastoralist (ALAPA) and a law lecturer at the Makumira campus, Tumaini University in Arusha says lack of recognition of indigenous people has largely contributed to violation of indigenous people’s rights.
Laltaika says the government should come up with specific constitutional, legislative and administrative measures to protect rights of indigenous Peoples and ensure that they enjoy human rights in equal footing as other members of the mainstream society.
“Recognition is therefore a step in that it can lay the grounds for demanding legislative reforms as a distinct population,” he noted, adding that the enactment of laws that are negative on the livelihood systems of the indigenous peoples further undermine their rights.
According to submissions presented by a group of NGO’s to the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mid last year, it was apparent that indigenous populations in Tanzania are subjected to serious human rights violations.
In the submissions the human rights groups accused the government of violating indigenous peoples’ rights that include systematic land alienations, forced evictions, intimidations, marginalization from social services and lack of legal recognition.
They argued that justifications for these evictions have been unsubstantiated allegations that pastoralists cause environmental degradation, and that the government or local authorities need the lands of pastoralists and hunter-gatherers for investment purposes regardless of the traditional land ownership and customary practices.
The human rights groups urged the Human Rights Council to compel the government of Tanzania to establish legal and administrative measures that address, among others, the issue of identity and existence of indigenous people in the country.
The civil society group claimed in the submission that State authorities have been increasingly and arbitrarily dispossessing these indigenous peoples of their lands and other properties in order to protect the interests of investors.
The State authorities blamed for participating in denying the indigenous peoples’ rights include the Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC), Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA), Tanzania Peoples’ Defense Forces (TPDF) and District Commissioners.
The group further stated that in many eviction instances, the government had not intervened to safeguard the interests of the indigenous people while many evicted families were now landless, homeless and subjected to conflicts with other land users.
The human rights activists report noted that there was no legal framework in Tanzania for the promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples, and that the country had not ratified the ILO Convention 169 concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent countries.
Article 26 of the ILO Convention Number 169 states that indigenous peoples’ have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired and States should give legal recognition and protection to the same.
Sub-article three elaborates further that, such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.
Though the government of Tanzania has been under intense pressure from both local and international civil organizations to recognise the rights of indigenous people, it has done very little to accord these people their rights.
On 27 March, 2007 the United Nations Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) required the government of Tanzania to adopt legislative measure to recognize the specific rights of indigenous population living in Tanzania.
And on 29 July, 2009 the United Nations Human Rights Committee (HRC) also required the government to enact laws that would protect indigenous peoples’ rights.

Intercontinental Cry - Reporting on the World's Indigenous Peoples.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Al Franken: Help me help Sherrod Brown #p2

Al Franken - U.S. Senator, Minnesota
I’ve noticed something about the right-wing attack machine: Great progressives drive them absolutely nuts.

Sure, they’ll attack anyone who doesn’t agree that corporations are people, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, and global warming is a hoax (that every legitimate scientist is in on).  But they really lose their minds when they encounter a true progressive who gets results for working families.

And they have gone positively crackers in their negative campaign against my friend Sherrod Brown, throwing everything they can at him -- to the tune of more than $3.5 million in attack ads on Ohio T.V. already.

I’m helping Sherrod fight back -- and you should, too.  His campaign has to raise $200,000 by the end of the month.  Can you knock $20 off that goal by clicking here right now?

I work with Sherrod a lot -- and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more forceful advocate for the middle class.  Less raspy?  Maybe.  But more forceful?  No way.

That’s why the right-wing attack machine has zeroed in on Sherrod.  They can’t stand the idea that a guy who wears his progressive values on his sleeve not only gets to serve in the U.S. Senate, but gets things done there.  Sherrod’s won fights on behalf of working people his whole career -- and if we want to win these fights in the future, we’d better make sure he keeps his seat in November.

Every right-wing special interest group in Washington has Ohio’s Senate race at the top of their wish lists in 2012.  Sherrod really drives them berserk.  It’s one of my favorite things about him.

And the only thing that would drive these radicals crazier would be if we helped him overcome their attacks and win.

Thanks for helping me help Sherrod keep driving the far right around the bend.


P.S.: I have it on good authority that another thing that makes the right-wing attack machine flip out is when I include an extra “ask” in the P.S. of a fundraising email.  Seriously, they’re reading this right now and just freaking out -- pounding on their desks, tearing out their hair, the whole deal.  And if you want to get them completely unglued, you could click here and prove that the “extra ask in the P.S.” trick works by donating $10 or more to Sherrod’s campaign right now!
Paid for and authorized by Al Franken for Senate 2014
P.O. Box 583144  |  Minneapolis, MN 55458-3144

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Take action now to support the Achuar! #indigenous #humanrights

I am currently in the remote headwaters of the Peruvian Amazon where I just attended an Achuar assembly. The Achuar are in the midst of a struggle for their land and future against oil drilling by Canadian oil company Talisman Energy, and they urgently need your support.
Take action now to support the Achuar
Achuar elders have a vision that their grandchildren will inherit a healthy territory, with the fresh water, fertile earth and abundant fishing and hunting that was passed down from their ancestors. But this future is currently under threat from oil drilling by Talisman Energy.
In the next few months Talisman will decide if it will build a pipeline into the heart of Achuar territory or respect the Achuar's desire to live in peace. Talisman has said it will only drill with community consent, but there is an escalating risk of conflict as Talisman's efforts divide communities and families and the company ignores all voices of opposition. Tell Talisman to leave the Achuar in peace by taking action today.
In a final effort for peaceful resolution, Achuar elders have invited Talisman CEO John Manzoni to visit their territory this March. They hope that with "chief-to-chief" dialogue, Mr. Manzoni will understand that Talisman must respect the rights and decisions of all the Achuar, not just the handful of communities who have accepted Talisman's money and signed their agreements.
Mr. Manzoni agreed to visit Achuar territory when meeting with FENAP leader Peas Peas Ayui in November. Please join us in encouraging him to keep his promise and respect the Achuar's right to live in peace without oil drilling on their territory.
Thank you for your support!
For the Achuar and the Amazon,
Gregor MacLennan
Gregor MacLennan
Peru Program Coordinator


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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Shepard Fairey creates Woody Guthrie centennial print

Woody Guthrie's Centennial
~1912 - 2012~
As a special offer to Woody's Friends, you get first dibs on this special collector's item!
Artist Shepard Fairey has created this exquisit print to commemorate Woody Guthrie's 100th birthday. Only 450 signed and numbered prints will be produced and generously donated as a fundraiser for the Woody Guthrie Foundation. Thank you, Shepard!
Will ship beginning February 28, 2012. Dimensions: 18" x 24" Unframed
Copyright Shepard Fairey, Obey Giant.

Woody Guthrie Foundation | 125-131 E. Main Street | Suite #200 | Mt. Kisco | NY | 10549

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

An attack on all of us ~ Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren for Massachusetts
Massachusetts families deserve better
Like many of you, I was shocked to learn that Senator Scott Brown is supporting the Blunt amendment -- a dangerous measure being pushed by Senate Republicans that would allow insurance companies and employers to deny health care coverage to anyone for any reason, just when people need it most.
I was even more shocked Senator Brown emailed his supporters just a couple hours ago attacking me personally -- and basically everyone who opposes this radical bill -- claiming that I had assumed "the mantle of oppressor."
Let me be clear: I support President Obama's solution to make sure that religious institutions are not forced to cover contraception but that women can get the health care they need. This new bill that Scott Brown is supporting is not about religious institutions -- it's about something very different. It would allow any employer or insurance company to refuse to cover any person for any treatment. Not only is it an attack on women's ability to get the vital health care we need, it is an attack on every one of us.
Think about what this will mean to you and your family. Are you pregnant? Elderly? Disabled? Do you have a chronic problem like diabetes or heart disease? Do you go for routine screening tests or rely on daily medications? Any medical test, treatment or prescription your boss or HMO doesn't want to pay for could suddenly become morally objectionable -- and under this amendment, your employer or insurance company would not have pay for it. You would lose your health care coverage.
Is this Scott Brown's idea of standing by the middle class? Is this what he means when he says he wants to make this the "People's Seat?" He wants to help families by letting employers and insurance companies take away health care coverage?
This election is about whose side you're on.
The economics around health care are huge for families. Skyrocketing costs have been a big factor in the financial squeeze facing middle-class families.
Despite all that, Scott Brown wants to give even more power to corporations and insurance companies to deny basic health care coverage and undermine a fundamental principle of the Affordable Care Act -- namely that everyone in this country deserves a basic standard of health care coverage.
Right now, while Scott Brown is fighting to eliminate health care reform, I'm fighting for families to keep that coverage. I'll fight for it now, and you can be sure I'll keep right on fighting for families in the Senate.
Massachusetts families deserve better -- and they need health care. Stand with me and join this fight.
Thank you for being a part of this,
Elizabeth Warren

All content © 2012 Elizabeth for MA, All Rights Reserved
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Boston, MA 02129
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