sábado, 4 de diciembre de 2010

Indigenous peaceful demostration at COP 16

Peaceful Demonstration by Indigenous Delegates at UNFCCC to Voice Objections
By Jason Pan
Indigenous Media Reporter

Dec. 3, 2010

(Cancun, Mexico)

The normally staid and restrained atmosphere at UN meetings got a lively injection of energy and music yesterday, as about 30 indigenous delegates staged a peaceful demonstration at the main venue of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP16 in Cancun yesterday.

Alternating with singing, chanting slogans, calls for protection of their rights and for inclusion in the negotiations, the Indigenous Peoples certainly made their presence felt at the high-security alert UNFCCC meeting in the Mexican resort city.

“We are here to demand changes. Indigenous Peoples must have full and effective participation in the negotiations” said Cecilio Solis Librado, chairman of RITA, an indigenous organization of Mexico, and co-president of the International Indigenous Peoples Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), the official name of the Global Indigenous Caucus here at the meeting.

Solis said they will not accept the removal of reference to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the text, as some States, such as Saudi Arabia and others, are intending to do.

The demonstration attracted a large crowd of media and State delegates during the lunch-time break at the Climate Change summit meeting.  A number of the indigenous demonstrators put on their traditional dress and headwear, and others sang in their mother tongue, in proud display of their cultural heritage.

Some of the demonstrators shouted a "No REDD !" slogan, in a defiant stance against the controversial UN program on "Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation".

Organized by IEN (Indigenous Environmental Network), and other indigenous organizations of Mexico, Latin America, and North America, the event also included indigenous representatives from Africa, Europe, Pacific, and Asia.

They held up two large banners, calling upon the negotiation to “Respect Indigenous Peoples Rights” in English and “Respeten Los Derechos De Los Pueblos Indigenas” in Spanish, in front of the entrance to the main venue for the UNFCCC COP16.

Indigenous Peoples from around the world are attending COP16.  However, they have expressed frustration because UNFCCC is a State Party-driven process.   Most negotiating sessions are closed to Indigenous Peoples and other NGO observer representatives.

Indigenous Peoples have consistently expressed in their statements at COP16 that they must be included as the most affected peoples around the world.

Another contentious issue at COP16 is the exclusion of large number of Indigenous Peoples, including many Mexico and Latin America groups, with some coming from the local Mayan community, who were not able to obtain credential to enter the conference buildings.

Indigenous delegates have been informed that some States are attempting to strike out all references to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in the current negotiating text. Indigenous delegates are very concerned of these attempts to remove the protection of indigenous rights in UNFCCC sessions.

They are calling on the States not to go backwards on their obligation in upholding Indigenous Peoples rights, and are demanding that reference to UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to remain in the final text of Cancun Climate Change agreements.