Nothing --or too little-- has changed since Hollywood started producing its spectacular western movies. Rough men, ranchers, mercenary killers, saloons, cowboys, guns, gold fever, the ‘good sheriff’… and the ‘bad indians”. Those movies were anything but fiction–they were real history.
The largest ever settlement in Canadian legal history, 40 billion Canadian dollars, occurred in 2022, but it didn’t come from a court – it followed a decision by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. In 2016 the Tribunal affirmed a complaint that the Government of Canada’s child welfare system discriminated against First Nations children. (First Nations are one of three groups of Indigenous people in Canada).
Today we are starting a new series focused on human rights. For people working to create a more sustainable and just world – as we are – a human rights based approach makes sense as it starts from the premise that only by recognizing and protecting the dignity inherent in all people can we attain those goals.
"I always express myself in Quechua and I don't feel I’m less of a person," said Elías Ccollatupa, 47, who has been a bilingual intercultural teacher for more than two decades in the Chinchaypujio district, one of the nine that make up the province of Anta, in the department of Cuzco, in the southern Andean region of Peru.
Thirty years ago, the Earth Summit
, which took place in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, paved the way for the establishment of three major conventions on the environment - specifically on biodiversity, climate change and desertification.
"We are not asking for money, but for our health, for a dignified life," is the cry of the people of Choropampa, which lawyer Milagros Pérez continually hears 22 years after the environmental disaster that occurred in this town in the department of Cajamarca, in Peru´s northern Andes highlands, on the afternoon of Jun. 2, 2000.
"Water is part of our culture, it is intrinsic to the Amazon," said José Manuyama, a member of a river defense committee in his native Requena, a town located in the department of Loreto, the largest in Peru, covering 28 percent of the national territory.
The pressure of the influx of migrants, especially Venezuelans, has reached a critical level in northern Chile, and is felt as far as the capital itself, forcing the government that took office in March to create a special interministerial group this month to propose solutions that respect their human rights.
The landmark land tenure decision by parties to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 2019 offers a blueprint for upcoming climate negotiations in Sharm El Sheikh in November.
It’s a strange trial, with no defendants. The purpose is not to hand down a conviction, but to bring visibility to an atrocious event that occurred almost a hundred years ago in northern Argentina and was concealed by the State for decades with singular success: the massacre by security forces of hundreds of indigenous people who were protesting labor mistreatment and discrimination.
The voracious search for gold in southern Venezuela, practiced by thousands of illegal miners under the protection of various armed groups, represents the greatest threat today to the lives of indigenous peoples, their habitat and their cultures, according to their organizations and human rights defenders.
Every now and then, experts remind that the Indigenous Peoples are the best (and last?) custodians of the essential web of life: biodiversity.
Every other Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. sharp, a group of 26 Mexican women meet for an hour to discuss the progress of their work and immediate tasks. Anyone who arrives late must pay a fine of about 25 cents on the dollar.
On the battleground that has become African wildlife conservation, rural communities find themselves in the middle of a tug-of-war that is bound to the past on one side, and their future, on the other.
Chile could change the course of its history and become a diverse and multicolored country this year with a “plurinational and intercultural state” that recognizes and promotes the development of the native peoples that inhabited this territory before the Spanish conquest.
"Pachamama (Mother Earth) is upset with all the damage we are doing to her," says Hilda Roca, an indigenous Peruvian farmer from Cusipata, in the Andes highlands of the department of Cuzco, referring to climate change and the havoc it is wreaking on her life and her environment.
A struggle for the defense of their territories waged by indigenous Maya Q'eqchi' communities in eastern Guatemala could set a historic precedent for Latin America's native peoples because it would ensure not only their right to control their lands but also their natural resources, denied for centuries.
“Every two weeks a language disappears taking with it an entire cultural and intellectual heritage. At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered
. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given a place in education systems and the public domain, and less than a hundred are used in the digital world.”
As countries across South Asia continue to battle the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, causing serious public health and economic crisis, this region, which is home to almost 2 billion people, is also grappling with the erosion of democratic norms, growing authoritarianism, the crackdown on freedom of press, speech and dissent.
Despite significant legal advances in Latin American countries to address gender-based violence, it continues to be a serious challenge, especially in a context of social crisis aggravated by the covid-19 pandemic, which hits women especially hard.
One element that runs through all social movement climate summits is their rejection of the official meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the low ambition of its outcomes - and the treaty's 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) was no exception.