There are certain events that mark a turning point in a country. The way a government decides to handle them defines the way they will go down in the history books.
The Bambuti people were the original inhabitants of Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the oldest national park in Africa whose boundaries date back to 1925 when it was first carved out by King Albert of Belgium. But forbidden from living or hunting inside, the Bambuti now face repression from both park rangers and armed groups.
It is late afternoon when a light drizzle begins to fall over a group of young men seated together in Mudja, a village that lies approximately 20 kilometres north of Goma on the outskirts of the Virunga National Park. Mudja is home to a community of around 40 families of indigenous Bambuti, also known as ‘pygmies.’*
“You don't convert your own house in a tourist site,” said Oussou Lio Appolinaire, an activist from Benin, wearing a traditional outfit in vivid yellows and greens. He was referring to opening up to tourists places that are sacred to indigenous people.
Chills ran down Tomás Gómez Membreño’s spine when he first heard about the brutal murder of his renowned friend and ally, the Honduran Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres, six months ago this week.
"Why don’t the authorities put themselves in our shoes?” asked Cándido Mezúa, an indigenous man from Panama, with respect to native peoples’ participation in conservation policies and the sharing of benefits from the protection of forests.
“Go and tell my dad that they’re holding me here,” Maximiliano Gordillo Martínez told his travelling companion on May 7 at the migration station in Chablé, in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco. It was the last time he was ever seen, and his parents have had no news of him since.
In July 2015, the Mexican government granted a U.S. corporation permission for the use of genetic material obtained in Mexican territory for commercial and non-commercial purposes, in one of the cases that has fuelled concern in Latin America about the profit-oriented approach to biodiversity.
The Rio Olympics began with the signature fanfare that accompanies the Games every four years. However, unlike every year, the nature and size of the spectacle, the synchronised dancers, over-the-top fireworks and the millions spent brought a new set of disappointments with them.
It is a sunny afternoon in Boui, a small village in the Boumba and Ngoko Division of Cameroon’s South East Region. A primary school teacher is drawing some wild animals on the blackboard. Then she turns to the class of fifteen pupils.
Indigenous peoples around the world continue to struggle for self-determination over their education, as highlighted by recent protests against proposed education reforms in Oaxaca, Mexico, which have left at least six people dead.
Education, the most powerful instrument in the struggle against exclusion and discrimination, is still elusive for indigenous people in Latin America who remain the most disadvantaged segment of the population despite their wide presence in the region.
With more and more governments narrowing space for dissent and activism, the UN has emerged as a key platform to air concerns about acute rights violations and develop protections for civil society and other vulnerable groups.
Fast-tracked development often means that indigenous people and their territories get run over and their rights are not taken into consideration, Roberto Borrero, from the International Indian Treaty Council and Indigenous Peoples Major Group, said here Friday.
In a petition signed by 150 NGOs, the Coalition for Human Rights in Development have called for development banks to make sure that human rights are respected by their beneficiaries.