Governments or states make use of geographical boundaries to demarcate territories. Political entities come to agreements on which area belongs to whom. In some cases, borders are agreed upon by two countries, and in other cases it may have been suggested by a third party like an international conference. In many cases, borders are imposed on places, without taking into consideration the people who live in that area. In this program, we speak to Aslak Holmberg from the Sami Council in Finland, who tells us how borders have affected his life, as well as his environment.
In South Africa, in November 2019, a small but significant victory has been achieved when a benefit sharing agreement was reached with the Indigenous People of South Africa. The Khoi and San people will now benefit from the multi-million rand Rooibos tea and Honeybush industries.
Only 2% of the farmers who grow the tea are from Indigenous communities.
National KhoiSan Council chairman Cecil LeFleur talks to Indigenous Rights Radio.
Producer: Shaldon Ferris
Music: Yarina, Lights in the Forrest, used with permission.
Luiz Henrique Eloy Amado is an Indigenous attorney from the Terena Peoples’ village of Ipegue, Brazil. Eloy Terena, as he is commonly known, has first-hand knowledge on the situation of Indigenous Peoples in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest and an extensive experience on defending criminalized Indigenous grass-root leaders and representing Indigenous communities in land rights cases before Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court.
In March we commemorate two very important international days, Zero Discrimination Day on March 1st, as well International Women's day on March 8th.
How are Indigenous Peoples discriminated against, and furthermore, how are Indigenous Women discriminated against?
In this program we pay homage to Xoroxloo Duxee, an Indigenous Woman from Botswana who died from starvation and dehydration because access to a water well in the desert had been restricted.
Producer: Shaldon Ferris (KhoiSan, South Africa)
Interviewee: //Uruseb, researcher on Indigenous Peoples.
Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, conducted an official visit to Guatemala, a country where 61 to 65% of population identify as Indigenous. Shaldon Ferris interviewed her about her visit.
"Whispers" by Ziibiwan. Used with permission.
Indigenous Rights Radio Intro track features "Burn your Village to the Ground" by @a-tribe-called-red. Used with permission.
Indigenous Peoples from around the world represent a disproportionate number of refugees and internally displaced persons due to a number of reasons, including conflict. They are one of the main targets of violence, displacing them from their ancestral land and territories. Vulnerability to displacement as an intersectional issue is often overlooked, a situation that has further increased the vulnerability of these populations. This radio program recounts the experience of Nwe Oo, an Indigenous Rakhine refugee who is currently taking shelter in California, United States.
West Papua is the western half of the island of New Guinea, formerly known as Dutch New Guinea. A 13-year dispute with the Netherlands over whether the former Dutch colony would become an independent state or an Indonesian province culminated in 1962 in its annexation by force by the Indonesian military and the denial of the right of self-determination to its people, who today identify as over 50% Indigenous West Papuan. Our producers interviewed John Anari and Les Malazer for the latest information on the process of recognition of sovereignty for Indigenous West Papuan communities.
Between 1904 and 2004, the German state officially denied that genocide against the Indigenous Herero and Nama people in land that is now known as Namibia had ever occurred under German colonial rule, despite conclusive historical sources and internationally recognized investigations. Hear how communities are sorting through the painful legacy of this violence and indifference in the present in the following interview with Martinus Fredericks, Nama leader and activist.
This year's theme for conversations at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues was "Indigenous Peoples Collective Rights to Lands and Resources". Victoria Tauli-Corpuz (Igorot Kankanaey, Philippines), UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Issues, says that the theme connects to many important conversations happening now in the world, including the threat that extractive industries pose to resources located on Indigenous-owned territories.
Indigenous South Africans go on a yearly 400 mile pilgrimage to bring awareness to ongoing violations of basic human rights of South Africans, the withholding of remains and sacred items belonging to Indigenous communities by museums, as well as to reconnect to the earth and environment through the rigorous journey from coast to coast. We spoke to two South African Indigenous rights activists to hear their takes on how this tradition has shaped their activism.
Lakes and forests in the Mt. Talinis area of the Phillipines are under threat from recent expansions of the energy industry. Apolinario Carino is working with the organization PENAGMANNAK, a federation of 17 Indigenous Peoples’ community groups, to pioneer community management strategies of reforestation designed to empower the Indigenous groups to shape the future of their lands. Apolinario hopes to share the knowledge that they have gained from these experiences in order to better combat climate change on a global scale.
Avexnim Cojti (Maya K'iche') highlights the difference between consent and consultation with the help of Joan Carling, longtime advocate for Indigenous rights and former expert member to the UNPFII, in the context of decisions made by Indigenous communities regarding resource and land management. Joan explains that consent (or refusal of consent) is given at the conclusion of a process of consultation. Consultation, defined as an open, collective deliberation, is a crucial precursor to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent.
UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 2017, 16th Session
Dev Kumar Sunuwar (Kumar/Sunuwar) asks Joan Carling, longtime advocate for Indigenous rights and former expert member to the UNPFII, how she assesses the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Asia.
"Remember Your Children," by Salidummay
Music from a seashell, recorded at the opening ceremony of the 16th UNPFII
Indigenous solidarity has coalesced into a powerful movement thanks to the activism and perseverance of Indigenous leaders from communities around the world. Indigenous leaders that are defending land, language, culture, and the environment face acute persecution, both from governments directly and from extrajudicial actors.
IRR Producer Shaldon Ferris reports on the official statement by Vicky Tauli-Copruz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, concerning the threat of the Dakota Access Pipeline to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe.
Indigenous Rights Radio Producer Shaldon Ferris interviews Vicky Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, about the Dakota Access Pipeline. Vicky describes the central tensions underlying the current conflict, and details the opportunities for recourse available to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe through both local and international governing bodies.
Interview with Vicky Tauli-Corpuz
Production by Shaldon Ferris
UN Special Rapporteur Vicky Tauli Corpuz discusses the international trade deal known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership which is being negotiated by Canada,The United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Brunei, Japan, Vietnam, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. She discusses why governments are pushing for it, and its implications for Indigenous Peoples.
Albert Deterville, Expert Mechanism representative of Latin American and the Caribbean, discusses the Expert Mechanism, as created by the UN, on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the process in which they aid the monitoring of rights in regions around the world.
Christopher Kuaiwa of Hawaii speaks about the destruction of a sacred mountain in his community and wants to spread his message of advocacy for Indigenous Rights throughout the world. He also participated in an intervention and proposed recommendations in the Permanent Forum regarding the 30-meter telescope that is proposed to be built on the sacred mountain calling to halt construction and divest.
Cristina Coc, a Q'eqchi Maya woman of southern Belize, shares how Mayan groups in Belize have been fighting for their rights for over 30 years. After many meetings with the State, the Belize national court has acknowledged legal Indigenous rights to their land and affirmed that the government may not use, destruct, or occupy Indigenous land.
Statement from Special Rapporteur Vicky Tauli-Corpuz on the sustainable development goals proposed by the United Nations and how Indigenous Peoples' rights must be respected in order to solve climate issues such as deforestation.
Dalee Sambo discusses the exchange between the Brazilian government's representative and representatives of Brazil’s Indigenous tribes at the UNPFII 2015. Violations of Land Rights continue in Brazil, including the criminalization of Indigenous Peoples who are trying to defend their rights to land.
Vicky Tauli-Corpuz talks about her visit to Paraguay in her capacity as UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples. She discusses the process and the preparation of these visits, highlighting the need for autonomy and security for the people she talks with.
It is an opportunity to meet with Indigenous communities, civil society organisations, government ministers and the private sector and encourage dialogue across society.
Antonio Gonzales explains how without proper enforcement governments, cooperations, and extractive industries willingly ignore frameworks like FPIC which are designed to protect the rights of indigneous peoples.
The right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent means that Indigenous Peoples are able to use their lands and resources however they choose, and that they are included in a consultation process if any development projects are proposed on their land.
Join us at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May 2013 in New York, as we interview Maori leader Catherine Davis about the right to Free, Prior, Informed Consent in the context of New Zealand.
In order for this right to be applied fairly, it should respect the following: 1. From the start of a project, there should be a consultation with the Indigenous People of the area; 2. There should be sufficient time devoted to ensuring that the community receive all of the information about the projects and its impacts; 3. Information should be distributed in accordance with the traditional ways of each community; 4. Any form of trying to influence the opinions of the people should be avoided; 5. All the details of decisions taken should be recorded.
For the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent to be correctly applied, it is important to know that this right is applicable to all Indigenous Peoples. It must be adhered to with respect for indigenous communities’ own methods of communication and each person’s opinion must be heard. Furthermore, it means that there should be meetings with representatives of the government, companies, and Indigenous Peoples in order to arrive at an agreement that benefits the community.
In order to ensure that the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent is complied with, there should be community meetings which make people aware of what is happening and could happen in their area. In addition to this, projects must be supervised in order to ensure that decisions made in the community meetings, are implemented during the development project.
The right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent clearly states that the government should not force people to change their method of organisation, thinking, or decision making, nor spread inaccurate information to misinform Indigenous Peoples.
It is important to demand that this law is complied with because it protects the environment, guarantees clean water and air, and it is a mechanism of controlling development projects to ensure that truly benefit indigenous communities.
The right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent is stated in national and international laws, and can be applied in defence of lands and territories when there is a project that will cause irreparable damage.
It is important to have all the information about the potential impacts of development projects on the environment, the community and the people. The information should be available in a way in which everyone can understand, and in the native language of the people it will affect.
The right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent means that governments have to inform indigenous communities about any development projects they want to start in their territories, and listen to their opinions before beginning the project.