REDD-Monitor’s weekly round up of the news on REDD, forests and climate. The links are organised by date (click on the title for the full article). REDD-Monitor’s news links on delicious.com are updated regularly. For past REDD in the news posts, click here.
PFII Calls for Justice, Land Rights for Indigenous Peoples in Post-2015 Agenda
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), June 2015
The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (PFII) released the report of its 14th session, recommending that commitments made at the September 2014 World Conference on Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) be reflected in the post-2015 development agenda, especially the agreed actions on: data disaggregation; land rights; traditional knowledge; free, prior and informed consent (FPIC); and access to justice. The 14th session of the PFII took place from 20 April to 1 May 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York, US. Its report reflects concern that “legal obligations and commitments and indigenous peoples’ treaties, agreements and other constructive arrangements with States are routinely denied and violated by States,” and calls on States to fairly and equitably redress long-standing unresolved land rights issues.
UN-REDD Reports on 2014 Activities
Climate Change Policy & Practice (IISD), June 2015
The UN Collaborative Programme on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (UN-REDD) released its ‘Sixth Consolidated Annual Progress Report,’ which covers the Programme’s achievements in 2014. Overall, the report notes that in 2014, 56 countries participated as partner countries with US$47.8 million in funding allocated to activities in 2014. According to the report, decisions such as the Warsaw Framework for REDD+, the outcomes of the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the New York Declaration on Forests facilitated significant progress in the implementation of REDD+. Such agreements also contributed to the development of the new UN-REDD strategy for 2016-2020.
22 June 2015
Monty Python and tropical forests. Really?
By Terry Sutherland, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 22 June 2015
In your best John Cleese voice: “All right… all right… but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order… what have the Romans ever done for us?” Monty Python’s famous skit from the movie “The Life of Brian” illuminates the fact that, despite the provision of all those goods and services, the Romans weren’t always an appreciated presence. The same could be said for the world’s tropical forests. While many people tacitly appreciate that forests and trees have some intrinsic and aesthetic value we, as scientists, have been pretty unsuccessful at convincing policy makers and big business that they are critical, not only to human well-being, but also to the global economy. One would think the scientific evidence we have to hand would be sufficient to enable their protection and sustainable management. But it ain’t necessarily so.
What Would Pope Francis Do?
By John H. Cushman Jr., Inside Climate News, 22 June 2015
The Holy Father doesn’t give carbon credits or air conditioners his imprimatur. He favors a legally binding climate treaty tailored to the needs of the poor. And he has guidance on natural gas, boycotts, and paying the social costs of carbon. Fifty-five paragraphs into his wide-ranging encyclical on the global environment and the climate crisis, Pope Francis arched an ecclesiastical eyebrow at how much air conditioning you are using. “People may well have a growing ecological sensitivity,” he wrote, “but it has not succeeded in changing their harmful habits of consumption which, rather than decreasing, appear to be growing all the more. A simple example is the increasing use and power of air-conditioning. The markets, which immediately benefit from sales, stimulate ever greater demand. An outsider looking at our world would be amazed at such behavior, which at times appears self-destructive.”
Offsets Are A Tool, Not An Indulgence
By Molly Peters-Stanley, Ecosystem Marketplace, 22 June 2015
Our research finds tens of thousands of transactions like the one described above – where development objectives are being met through corporate climate responses. For every bad actor – and, yes, they do exist – there are hundreds of people acting in good faith to address the climate challenge. Overhauling our energy, communications, building, transportation, and communications infrastructure doesn’t happen overnight. It is certainly not cheap. Offsets enable immediate action in the midst of this long-term transition. They are not – and should not be – the sole solution but they are a very necessary part of it. That’s exactly how companies are using them: not “this or that” but “this and that”. International decision-makers are realizing that with respect to climate finance, it similarly “takes all kinds”.
[Guyana] Gov’t unlikely to proceed with Amaila hydropower project -President
Stabroek News, 22 June 2015
The new government is unlikely to proceed with the Amaila Falls Hydro-power Project (AFHP), President David Granger has said even as he noted that there is still serious interest in hydropower and they want to gather more information before making a final decision. When in opposition, both APNU and the AFC had criticized the Bharrat Jagdeo and Donald Ramotar administrations for the lack of transparency surrounding the AFHP. [R-M: Subscription needed.]
[Indonesia] Sugar Cane Expansion Continues, Aru Islands Community’s Lives Threatened Once Again
If Not Us Then Who?, 22 June 2015
The government is deemed to have committed public deception regarding clearing for sugar cane plantation in Aru Islands. Statement from the Minister of Agriculture, Amran Sulaiman, as quoted by thejakartapost.com on 18 June 2015, explains that the government has prepared three sites covering 500,000 ha for sugar cane plantation development in Indonesia. The three sites are Aru Islands, Merauke, and Southeast Sulawesi. Previously, Aru Islands’ natural forests were threatened due to plans for sugar cane plantation clearing plans in the islands. But on 4 April 2014, Minister of Forestry Zulkifli Hasan stated that sugar cane plantation expansion principle permits were cancelled in Aru Islands due to land unsuitability. The continuation of sugar cane plantation plans in Aru Islands will certainly threaten the natural forest covering an area 12 times the size of Singapore or 730,000 ha…
23 June 2015
Even the pope gets it – carbon markets won’t fix the climate
By Steffen Böhm, Gareth Bryant and Siddhartha Dabhi, The Conversation, 23 June 2015
We used the Gujarat Fluorochemicals Limited industrial gas destruction facility in Gujarat, India, as a case study – it was the first of more than 7,000 registered CDM projects. Our findings demonstrate why governments should exclude carbon markets from international climate negotiations. Between 2005 and 2013, the GFL project was awarded more than 55m carbon offset credits for destroying a potent greenhouse gas known as HFC-23, a by-product of the refrigerant gases produced by the factory. Sales of the credits proved to be extremely lucrative for the company, bringing in more than half a billion US dollars and generating business for associated carbon trading industries. However, local communities surrounding the project weren’t so happy. They claim to have suffered from pollution from the GFL plant for many years and have had to put up resistance.
Did the Pope Really Blast California?
By Ralph Cavanagh, Switchboard (NRDC), 23 June 2015
“Pope blasts California’s cap-and-trade” was the headline from the San Francisco Chronicle’s initial coverage of a major statement by Pope Francis on environmental stewardship and climate change (“On the Care of Our Common Home”). But a closer look at the text of the encyclical reveals that’s just not the case. In its emphasis on the urgency of action to prevent climate disruption, in ways that also address equity concerns, the Pope’s encyclical affords further support for California’s multi-dimensional approach to cutting its carbon pollution. Here is the one sentence (out of thousands) that conceivably could be read otherwise: “The strategy of buying and selling ‘carbon credits’ can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide.” [Paragraph 171] This is an entirely reasonable caution, and there are unfortunate illustrations around the world of failed schemes…
Cameroon: a case study of Chinese corporate social responsibility
By Joan Baxter, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 23 June 2015
When a continent as forest rich as Africa becomes the target of direct foreign investment – no matter what the origin – what are the risks and negative impacts on communities, agriculture and forestry? This question is considered at the micro-level in a new study, from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) The study examines the evolution of corporate social responsibility through the changes of ownership of Hevecam, a rubber company located on Cameroon’s Atlantic coast near the southern town of Kribi. Through studying just one company – which evolved from state owned, to foreign owned, to majority Chinese owned – the study’s authors evaluated whether Chinese companies have a lower sense of social and environmental accountability than other investors. “Our research shows the situation is much more nuanced and complex than the sometimes untested, negative views about Chinese foreign direct investment in Africa…
[UK] Four UK-based directors disqualified over £3.2m carbon credit scam
By Mike Szabo, Carbon Pulse, 23 June 2015
Four men have been disqualified from acting as directors in the UK for 14 years for their part in a £3.2 million carbon credit scam, the British government’s Insolvency Service said on Monday. Bradley Peter Ferry, 38, and three brothers – Barinua Carr Nwikpo, 40, John Ekpobari Nwikpo, 38, and Daniel Nwikpo, 35 – were linked to London-based company Tullett Brown, which was wound up by the government in Mar. 2012 on the grounds of public interest. The firm, which initially sold undevelopable greenbelt land to vulnerable investors for over £2 million between 2009 and 2011, turned its attention to carbon credits and sold 500,000 voluntary units (VERs), which it had bought for £600,000 from Eco-Synergies Ltd., to around 400 victims at highly-inflated prices, the Insolvency Service said. Tullett Brown raked in £3.2 million from the sales between May 2011 and Mar. 2012, before it was forced to shut down, it added.
[UK] Directors banned over £5.5m land and carbon credit scam
By Charles Walmsley, New Model Adviser, 23 June 2015
Four men have been disqualified from acting as directors for 14 years for running a £5.5 million land banking and carbon credit scheme. Barinua Carr Nwikpo, John Ekpobari Nwikpo, Daniel Nwikpo and Bradley Peter Ferry ran a company called Tullett Brown between May 2009 and June 2012. Barinua Carr Nwikpo, John Ekpobari Nwikpo, and Daniel Nwikpo, who are brothers, all signed disqualification undertakings for 14 years in March 2014. Their period of disqualification began on 22 April 2015.
24 June 2015
Policy: REDD+ in Asia Pacific
By Andrew McGregor, Nature Climate Change, 24 June 2015
Reducing emissions from forests is a key goal of international climate efforts. New research shows how ethnographic approaches can provide better outcomes for people and forests in Asia Pacific.
The pope’s climate change message is really about rethinking what it means to be human
By Stephen P. White, Vox, 24 June 2015
What makes this encyclical controversial is its reading of contested questions of science, economics, and politics. What makes it radical — in the sense of going to the root — is the pope’s reading of the profound human crisis that he sees underlying our modern world. Abuse of our environment isn’t the only problem facing humanity. In fact, Pope Francis sees the ecological crisis as a symptom of a deeper crisis — a human crisis. These two problems are related and interdependent. And the solution is not simply to eliminate fossil fuels or rethink carbon credits. The pope is calling on the world to rediscover what it means to be human — and as a result, to reject the cult of economic growth and material accumulation.
Indigenous People Build Fund For Direct Access To Climate Finance, Push For More Active Role In Proceedings
By Steve Zwick and Kelli Barrett, Ecosystem Marketplace, 24 June 2015
Indigenous leader Juan Carlos Jintiach says he was ecstatic when governments around the world pledged $1 billion to end deforestation at last year’s climate summit in New York. He especially liked Norway’s pledge of $20 million per year to help indigenous people secure their rights. But he also knew what would happen next, as NGOs around the world quickly submitted proposals, and Norway issued a short-list of 53 finalists. “In the end, only five indigenous organizations were invited to present final proposals,” says Jintiach, who at the time had just stepped down as Director for Economic Development of pan-Amazonian indigenous federation COICA.
The Ecosystem Marketplace Forest Carbon News
Ecosystem Marketplace, 24 June 2015
Norway has long been a steadfast supporter of efforts to reduce deforestation, previously pledging $1 billion to finance Indonesia’s efforts to protect its forest and, as part of a trio of countries alongside Finland and Germany, committing hundreds of millions to the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility. Norway recently took these efforts a step further by supporting the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF) to the tune of $25 million over a 4-year period. The GCF is a collaboration of 26 states and provinces from seven countries with the shared goal of reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) using jurisdictional approaches that address the drivers of deforestation at the state, province, or even country level. This scaled-up version of REDD helps account for “leakage” – or the idea that loggers and cattlemen denied access in one project area may simply move down the road.
China puts $7.7tr price tag on its Paris climate plan
By Valerie Volcovici and David Brunnstrom, Financial Review, 24 June 2015
It will cost China over $7.7 trillion (41 trillion yuan) to meet the greenhouse gas reduction goals it will lay out later this month in its strategy for United Nations climate negotiations, the country’s lead negotiator for the talks said. Xie Zhenhua, special representative for climate change affairs at China’s National Development and Reform Commission, said the objectives China will outline by the end of June will be “quite ambitious”. Xie was participating in a three-day Strategic and Economic Dialogue forum in Washington where he met with counterparts in the Obama administration, including US climate negotiator Todd Stern, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
Indonesia Has Key Role in Climate Change Battle, Says IPCC
By Andreyka Natalegawa, The Jakarta Globe, 24 June 2015
Swiss climate scientist Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) working group, believes that Indonesia has a crucial part to play in combating climate change and will need to play an active role at future forums. “Indonesia has a key role in future discussions, as a country that is geographically unique with a number of islands, climate regimes, and ocean conditions,” Stocker said on Tuesday… Stocker, who is a candidate in the upcoming race for chairman of the IPCC, said ending reliance on fossil fuels is an essential step that Indonesia and the rest of the world must take. “It’s going to be the fourth industrial revolution. From mechanization, electrification, digitalization, to [sustainability],” Stocker said… “Deforestation is creating a lot of carbon emissions, because you’re changing the use of the land to a surface that is not capable of holding as much carbon as before.”
Landmark Dutch Ruling: Cut Emissions to Protect Citizens
Associated Press, 24 June 2015
A Dutch court ordered the government Wednesday to slash greenhouse gas emissions to help fight global warming, a landmark ruling in a case brought by hundreds of concerned citizens that could pave the way for similar legal battles around the world. Climate activists in a packed courtroom in The Hague erupted into cheers as Presiding Judge Hans Hofhuis told Dutch authorities to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 percent by 2020 from benchmark 1990 levels. The country currently is on track for a 17-percent reduction and it is not clear how it can achieve the further cut. Environmentalists hailed the ruling as a victory in efforts to push governments to take more action to tackle global warming against a backdrop of slow-moving international negotiations aimed at forging a global agreement.
25 June 2015
Do we need to move ‘beyond certification’ to save forests?
By Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com, 25 July 2015
Mongabay: What are the top reasons the commodity supply chains need to move beyond certification? Scott Poynton: The first is that the standards are too weak and have fallen behind the pace of innovation and best practice in the field. The second is that certification stifles innovation and introspection. If we’re going to grapple with the problems we face, we’re going to need huge amounts of innovation. Ticking someone else’s boxes – boxes that were created a long time go with ‘lowest common denominator’ thinking – is no way to inspire innovation. The book describes many ways by which certification processes choke off innovation. That introspection question is also important. I believe that we need people to act according to their own fundamental values. Few people are truly evil and just about everyone knows what’s right.
Gates to double investment in renewable energy projects
By Christopher Adams and John Thornhill, Financial Times, 25 June 2015
Bill Gates is planning to double his personal investment in innovative green technologies to $2bn over the next five years in an attempt to “bend the curve” in combating climate change. The billionaire philanthropist said he had already invested about $1bn in dozens of early stage companies — including battery storage, next-generation nuclear and free air carbon capture — hoping they would develop “breakthrough” technologies.
Oil Majors Urged by UN to Plan for Phasing Out Fossil Fuels
By Alex Morales, Bloomberg, 25 June 2015
The top United Nations climate diplomat urged the heads of six European oil majors to plan for phasing out fossil-fuel emissions by 2100 and to work with governments on cleaner forms of energy. “The oil and gas sector has an important and urgent role to play through an orderly transition to low-carbon forms of energy,” Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said in a letter posted on the UNFCCC website. The comments were a response to BP Plc, Eni SpA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Statoil ASA, Total and BG Group Plc, which last month banded together to discuss ways they can better engage the climate debate.
Who says Laudato Si’ is not a political manifesto?
By Mark Silk, Religion News Service, 25 June 2015
Thus, the Iowa Catholic Conference describes it with these words from Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines: “‘Praise be to you’ as an encyclical is not a political document, nor a scientific document, but a religious document which our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has developed to guide us in our moral life in order that we might be faithful to the scriptures and teaching of the Church in our times.” Over at GetReligion Terry Mattingly trashes the MSM coverage with: “This is a pastoral document, built primarily on Catholic doctrines; this is not a political manifesto, no matter what journalists keep chanting.” I beg to differ. Laudato Si’ is all about politics. It’s no accident that “politics” and its cognates occur 52 times in the text. For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, the central message is the need to employ a worldview of “integral ecology” to establish political control over economic forces.
What The Pope Gets Wrong On Offsetting
By Steve Zwick, Ecosystem Marketplace, 25 June 2015
The Pope fears that offsetting “may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors,” which is an old concern about corporate indulgences that let companies “buy their way out” of their obligations to reduce emissions. That, however, isn’t how offsets are designed to work, and our research shows that isn’t even close to what’s happening right now. In fact, far from using offsets to buy their way out of their obligations, most companies are using them to reduce emissions beyond their immediate base of operations.
China upbeat on prospects for national carbon market
By Li Jing, South China Morning Post, 25 June 2015
Nearly two years after the launch of China’s pilot-scheme regional carbon markets, authorities are hopeful a national market can be developed as early as next year, despite challenges facing the industry. Technical preparations were under way for the market, which would be similar to the EU Emissions Trading System (EUETS), said Wang Shu, a climate change official with the National Development and Reform Commission. “We hope to wrap up the preparation work … and launch a unified carbon trade market in late 2016 or early 2017,” he told a conference in Shenzhen last week, mainland media reported.
U’khand first Indian State to attend GCF annual meet in Spain
Dehradun NYOOOZ, 25 June 2015
Uttarakhand has become the first Indian State to have attended the Governors` Climate and Forests (GCF) task force annual meet held from June 15 to 18 at Barcelona, Spain. The State has been made an observer state of the GCF task force this year which will pave the way for making Uttarakhand a full member next year, said State Forest minister Dinesh Aggarwal, who along with principal secretary, Forests, Dr Ranvir Singh and REDD Plus State nodal officer Dr Parag Madhukar Dhakate had attended the GCF task force annual meeting. Addressing the media here, Aggarwal said that Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) Plus and climate change were among the issues discussed in the GCF annual meet.
REDD+ in Laos: Think big or fail
By Robert V S Redick, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 25 June 2015
REDD+ is at a crossroads in Lao PDR, and needs to “think bigger” to survive. As the anti-deforestation project nears its eighth birthday, that’s the blunt claim from a new study that says tough decisions, choices and tradeoffs must be made to avoid further lost opportunities and indeed, further deforestation. “Thinking bigger,” according to study authors Michael Dwyer, a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and Micah Ingalls of Cornell University, means that REDD+ interventions in Laos really need to change, both in kind and in scale. “The limited ambition of REDD projects in Laos so far is apparent in the choices of which forest-loss drivers to take on,” says Dwyer, the study’s lead author.
26 June 2015
Satellite-based forest mapping platform hits its stride
By Victor Montoro, mongabay.com, 26 June 2015
Global Forest Watch, a young online forest monitoring and alert system, provides free, near real-time data on deforestation and tree-cover loss around the world. It allows users to create customized interactive maps detailing forest change, concession areas for natural resource extraction and agricultural production, conservation areas, and community land boundaries. The system acts as a research platform, providing country profiles and rankings based on forest statistics, and allowing users to crowdsource forest data and stories. Users can also sign up for near-real time alerts on forest change, including fires and land clearance activity. Recently, mongabay.com interviewed Crystal Davis, the director of Global Forest Watch (GFW), about strides the system has made since its launch in February 2014.
US climate deniers call Paris summit ‘a threat’ to the world
By Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, 26 June 2015
The godfather of climate denial has warned that a United Nations deal on global warming would spell “economic suicide” for America and a disaster to the world, according to a leaked fundraising letter. In the rambling 13-page letter, Fred Singer, a retired rocket scientist who rejects the science underlining climate change, appeals for at least $425,000 (£270,212) to stop what he called the “radical, economy-wrecking and sovereignty-destroying UN climate pact”. The letter, penned on behalf of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (Cfact), an ultra-conservative group that denies the existence of climate change, suggests growing desperation about the prospects of a climate change deal emerging from the Paris meeting. Cfact did not dispute authenticity of the document.
Encyclical on climate change may be slow to take hold
By David Giambusso and Conor Skelding, Capital New York, 26 June 2015
It has been more than a week since Pope Francis issued his encyclical on the environment, sparking a global conversation on the politics and morality of the fight against climate change. But religious experts say it could be awhile before Catholics in the greater metropolitan area start hearing the sentiments expressed in Laudato Si’ . Despite the importance of encyclicals in the hierarchy of Catholic doctrine, its dissemination in local parishes and Catholic schools will be largely dependent upon the willingness of bishops, priests and nuns. “A lot of people think the Catholic Church is structured like the U.S. Army,” said Jesuit priest and social scientist Thomas Reese, a senior analyst at the National Catholic Reporter. “It’s actually an absolute monarchy tempered by selective disobedience.”
Pope Francis’ critics missed the essential point of ‘Laudato Si’
By Lord Deben, ucanews.com, 26 June 2015
The unvarnished truths of the Gospel, compellingly written and lovingly interpreted, make Laudato Si an unforgettable document. I began reading it, fascinated as to what Pope Francis would make of the science and politics of climate change. I continued simply overwhelmed by the direct evangelical call to action, personal and collective. The encyclical is no mere commentary on the world’s current concerns — although its narrative of the facts of environmental and social degradation is succinct and discerning. Instead, it lifts and intensifies the debate by demanding that we see these great issues of pollution, poverty and powerlessness as direct personal challenges — challenges to the way each one of us lives, to the businesses we run, the jobs we do, and the choices we make.
Brazil: Gunmen set fire to Indian community
Survival International, 26 June 2015
Gunmen have attacked and set ablaze a Guarani Indian community in south west Brazil. Initial reports indicated that a one year old baby had burned to death when the gunmen torched the Indians’ houses on June 24, but this has not subsequently been confirmed. The Guarani fled the area, and two girls and one boy are reported to be missing. The Indians of Kurusu Mba community peacefully re-occupied part of their ancestral land on June 22, having waited many years for it to be returned to them. They were soon surrounded by gunmen who, according to one Guarani man, “fired shots above our heads.” The ranchers and farmers who now occupy almost all Guarani land frequently employ armed men to terrorize the Indians.
[Canada] Reckitt Benckiser’s carbon credit scheme destroying B.C. farmland, says NDP
CBC News, 26 June 2015
Thousands of hectares of B.C. farmland may be ruined for food production for hundreds of years by a British chemical company’s carbon credit scheme, according to the B.C. NDP. Company Reckitt Benckiser bought over 10,500 hectares of agricultural land in Northern B.C. in order to plant trees and bank carbon credits. The company website says since launching the program in 2006 it has planted seven million trees on land in B.C. that was previously cleared, with the aim of offsetting the carbon emissions of its manufacturing operations by 2017. But according to Lana Popham, the NDP agriculture and food critic, the land should be protected for farming food, not trees. “This land could potentially be out of production for hundreds of years because it’s now owned by this corporation in the UK,” said Popham.
REDD+: The implementation challenge in the Congo Basin
By Nadia Desjro Djenontin, Samuel Assembe, Eugene Chia Loh, Maria Brockhaus and Grace Wong, CIFOR Forests News Blog, 26 June 2015
REDD+ is now moving into countries’ implementation arenas after final agreements by parties over its modalities during the 42nd session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice in Bonn. Ever since the Bali Action Plan, made at COP13 (2007) countries have sought to overcome the myriad of challenges that come with a mechanism that touches deep into the politics and power structures often linked to forest exploitation and conversion. What are the bottlenecks for implementation of the REDD+ framework in countries’ complex and diverse realities? How – and what – can we learn from existing experiences to effectively inform the ongoing implementation process? How do we realize the necessary changes in and beyond the forestry sector to get REDD+ and benefit (and cost) sharing actually implemented equitably?
Indonesian president pledges to accelerate long-delayed indigenous rights law
By Sapariah Saturi, mongabay.com, 26 June 2015
Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has promised to make passing a long-delayed law on indigenous peoples rights a priority. Jokowi reiterated his commitment to the Law on Recognition and Protection of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (PPHMHA) yesterday at a meeting with the Indigenous Peoples’ Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) in Jakarta. The draft law was shelved last year when the new government took office. The president also acknowledged the importance of setting up a task force for indigenous peoples issues; agreed to the release, in principle, of indigenous citizens who have been “criminalized,” or unfairly prosecuted by the law; and pledged to encourage economic development based on indigenous models as a counterweight to big business.
Vietnam: End “Evil Way” Persecution of Montagnard Christians
Human Rights Watch, 26 June 2015
The Vietnamese government’s persecution of ethnic Montagnard Christians in Vietnam’s Central Highlands reflects broader rights violations against religious minorities in the country, Human Rights Watch said today in a new report. The head of Vietnam’s ruling party, General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, is slated to visit Washington, DC, in early July. The 33-page report, “Persecuting ‘Evil Way’ Religion: Abuses against Montagnards in Vietnam,” is based on official Vietnamese media reports and Human Rights Watch interviews with Montagnards seeking asylum abroad. It describes religious and political persecution of Montagnards, highlanders who practice De Ga and Ha Mon forms of Christianity that the government calls “evil way” religions. “Vietnam’s official media make it shockingly clear that persecution of religious minorities is state policy,” said Brad Adams, Asia director.
27 June 2015
28 June 2015
PHOTO credit: Image created using wordle.net.