Indigenous leaders and organizations in Brazil and Abya Yala (APIB) are speaking out against official efforts to block them from participating in the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as Rio 2012 or Rio+20, to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June.
The following article is cross-posted from The Wrong Kind of Green.
Statement from Indigenous Peoples of Brazil Opposing Interference and Disrespect by States, the United Nations and Corporate Indigenous NGOs
WKOG Editor: At Rio+20 an unethical, corrupt and unfortunate reality continues to unfold. The reality is that of an escalating, internal Indigenous power game which has now reared its ugly head once again at the Rio+20 conference. An existing Indigenous elitist UN group, comprised/inclusive of acquiescent NGOs, has grabbed control over the funding and “official organizing powers”, thus isolating the Indigenous peoples who refuse to bow down to corporate interests and sell out their people. This funding is used in part, to fly in selected Indigenous representatives who NGOs (i.e. Tebtebba) have trained upfront to support REDD, the false solution of a false solution vehemently opposed by ethical Indigenous groups around the globe. Adding further insult to injury, the people being pushed out are those under a national umbrella; indigenous organizations from Brazil – the country hosting the summit.
This is an urgent issue and yet it has been met with resounding silence on International NGO organizing environmental list-servs.
Victoria Tauli Corpus is the Executive Director of Tebtebba (Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy and Research Education). Corpus is also is a board-member of Conservation International. Both Corpus and the NGO she oversees, that of Tebtebba, work closely with the United Nations (UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues) and have been instrumental in pushing the false solution of REDD forward.
Recently, a contact group on SBSTA REDD Plus was co-chaired by Peter Graham and Victoria Tauli Corpus, producing the SBSTA REDD Plus TEXT.
From Feb 2002 to present Corpus has been a Member of National Selection Committee of the Ford Foundation who has invested heavily in advancing the REDD agenda.
As well, Corpus is a board member of the pre-COP15 corporate creation TckTckTck. TckTckTck was initiated by the United Nations working with one of the largest marketing agencies in the world (Havas), while partnering with many of the most powerful corporations on the planet, in a united effort to “to make it become a movement that consumers, advertisers and the media would use and exploit.”
On March 20,2012 there will be an event at the UN organized by Tebtebba, the Indigenous elite NGO who works closely with the United Nations. This NGO has been instrumental in pushing the false solution of REDD forward. This NGO has chosen an individual that works for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Brazil, to be the lead organizer for the indigenous at Rio +20. This Individual clearly represents the government first and foremost, not the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil.
Although an objection letter (Charter of Porto Alegre – see below) is very clear, the response from the UN, the NGOs, and the elite circle of Indigenous “politicians” is that of absolute silence.
“In September 2011, the 64th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference took place in Bonn, Germany. About 1,500 people from 70 countries turned up. On the third day of the meeting, a remarkable thing happened. Not a single participant at the conference put up their hand to disagree with a declaration which promotes REDD as a carbon trading mechanism.”
Background: Indigenous leaders and organizations in Brazil and Abya Yala (APIB) have been, and continue to be, ignored and isolated from the Rio+20 process. These leaders are told that they do not possess the right to represent their own people and that in the case of Brazil only two NGOs will be recognized as representing all Indigenous for Rio+20: The Intertribal Committee and the National Council of Indigenous Women (CONAMI). These NGOs are coordinated by individuals that are working in the Governmental Department of Indigenous Affairs; the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), whose protection of corporate interests is first and foremost, superseding rights of indigenous communities. Rightly so, APIB peoples do not recognize dynamics, entities and initiatives that have not been through consultation and coordination with their own people. These cherry-picked NGOs are echoing government indignities by frequently violating APIB’s right to free, prior and informed consent, a right enshrined in the Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Because of this, and specifically, to preserve the dignity for their brothers and sisters who are present in Rio, APIB does not recognize nor support the space for discussion of the global agenda of the Rio+20 nor the UN’s Karioka II.
non-official translation into English by EARTH PEOPLES (POVOS DA TERRA/PUEBLOS DE LA TERRA)
Porto Alegre Charter
TO OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND ORGANIZATIONS OF BRAZIL AND THE WORLD
We, representatives of indigenous nations and leaders of indigenous organizations in Brazil, members of the organizations that are part of the Coordination of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – APIB (Articulation of the Indigenous peoples of the Northeast and Minas Gerais states and Espirito Santo – APOINME , Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon – COIAB; Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of the South – ARPINSUR, Great Guarani People’s Assembly – ATY GUASU; Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of the Pantanal – ARPIPAN and Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of the South East – ARPINSURESTE ) gathered in the city of Porto Alegre, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, during 29 to 31 January 2012, after participating in the Social Forum with the theme: Crisis of capitalism, social and environmental justice and after participating at the Social Movements Assembly , held from 24 to 28, and facing the People’s Summit and the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio + 20, which will be held in June this year in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Given the different processes of organization, preparation and participation for Rio + 20 Conference, we express to our sister organizations Abya Yala, Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin (COICA), Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Andres (IOTC), Indigenous Council of Central America (CICA) and other indigenous organizations in this continent and of the world, our position on these processes.
First – When considering the importance of the issues and specific topics that are on the United Nations agenda, because of its obvious impact on the lives of our peoples, we state our disagreement with the way how the “official system”, in some cases coordinated by indigenous on the national and international level, have proceeded, by putting individuals in charge of organizing the global agenda on issues that affect us.
Second – We condemn the fact that our leaders and organizations in Brazil and Abya Yala have been, up to this moment, ignored (and left out) in these processes, saying that these do not represent our people and in the case of Brazil that there are only two organizations that would be the representative, the Intertribal Committee and the National Council of Indigenous Women (CONAMI).
Third – We want to clarify to our brothers and sisters of Brazil and of the world that these organizations are coordinated by individuals that are working in the governmental department of Indigenous Affairs, the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), a questionable affiliation for our indigenous communities. While our organizations, like any social organization can have its problems, in the history of the Brazilian indigenous movement, we are the actors, we struggle together with and for our bases. Under the coordination of APIB, we have been important in our actions against dynamics and incidences against our people and organizations by the national government.
For these struggles in institutional spaces and especially our concrete struggles taking place on the ground, in defense of our lands and territories, against (large scale landowners) companies, monoculture, agribusiness, mega-projects such as hydroelectric dams, ports, roads and mining and quarrying (logging, mining and others), many of our leaders of our local organizations and associations have been killed, persecuted and imprisoned illegally. In the year 2010, 63 of our brothers were killed, and so far the culpits have not been tried and convicted by the Brazilian justice, the perpetrators and planners.
We will not allow that this reality and history of struggle will be disrespected and ignored.
Fourth – Given these facts, we reaffirm that we do not recognize dynamics, entities and initiatives that haven’t been through consultation and coordination with our organizations, that are doing exactly what governments do, they
frequently violate our right to free, prior and informed consent, a right enshrined in the Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Specifically, to preserve the dignity for our brothers and sisters who are
there, we do not recognize (support) that the space for discussion of the global agenda of the Rio +20 and other issues that affect us as indigenous peoples is Karioca II.
Karioka II is an official ((governmental, UN system, specific foundations and non-governmental organizations funded by…)) initiative and clearly detached from the social and political reality of the specific problems of our peoples and communities.
Fifth – We reaffirm to all our brothers and sisters, to governmental bodies, NGOs and the diverse political, social and grass-root movements in Brazil and to those of the world that the space for discussions on the global agenda and the specific agenda of the indigenous peoples and communities will be the Free Land Camp (Acampamento Terra Livre – ATL), for the sake (concept) of “Living Well” and “Full ((Healthy, Intact)) Life” in Rio de Janeiro, in the context of the People’s Summit and the ((Rio+20)) Conference of the United Nations.
We clarify that the Free Land Camp so far has been the largest political action that our people and organizations have developed every year since 2004, gathering over 1000 indigenous leaders to discuss their problems, demands,
recommendations and collective proposals to the Brazilian State. This year we decided to do the same in Rio de Janeiro, in order to internationalize our common efforts and in the hope to create a space of convergence for and with our brothers and sisters of the world that come to the Global Peoples Summit and the UN Conference.
Sixth – Finally, we call on all peoples, organizations and indigenous leaders from Brazil and the world to get together with us in order to show governments and transnational corporations, that despite the geographical distance, language and
other differences, we are united, we have similar problems, rights, needs and aspirations for which we will fight and influence the various national and international levels during and beyond the Rio + 20.
For the Good Living and Full Life of Our Peoples.
Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – APIB
Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, January 31, 2012
Spanish Version: Español_RIO+20