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Uzbekistan/Kazakhstan: Retreating Aral Sea displaces Karakalpaks 

The shrinking of the Aral Sea by 90 per cent and desertification of most of its territory is one of the most visible environmental disasters in the world over the last fifty years. While improved water management has led to modest growth in the volume of Kazakhstan’s northern portion of the sea in recent years, there is little prospect of similar changes in the...

Iran: River diversion dries up Ahwazi Arab land 

In 2011, the World Health Organization declared that Ahwaz City, the capital of the Khuzestan governorate, was the most polluted city in the world, with high asthma levels among children and teenagers due to industrial waste and emissions. Industrial pollution has damaged the natural environment, and marshland biodiversity is so seriously threatened that migratory birds have left the area. The Bandar Iman petrochemical complex...

South East Asia: The campaign against destructive palm oil  

The rapid expansion of palm oil plantations in South East Asia is being driven by rising global demand for edible oils and bio-fuels. Thailand and the Philippines have a burgeoning palm oil industry, plantations have been established in Cambodia, and Vietnam is exploring the possibility of cashing in on this crop. Malaysia and Indonesia are the top producers of palm oil in the world,...

India: Adivasis fight mega-dams  

A new “powerhouse” is emerging in the frontier state of Arunachal Pradesh, north-eastern India. Public and private companies have proposed 168 massive dams, to produce 57,000 megawatts of hydropower, in this strategically important region, which borders Myanmar in the east, Bhutan in the west and China in the north. All of these dams are proposed for the upper reaches of the Brahmaputra...

Cambodia: Kuy people rally to save ‘our forest’ 

I am Mao Chanthoeun, a Kuy, from Chaom Svay Village near Prey Lang forest in Kampong Thom, Cambodia. I was born here about 30 years ago. My parents and grandparents were also born here. We’ve always been dependent on Prey Lang, which in Kuy means ‘our forest’. When I was young, the forest was large and thick. Prey Lang gave us food, medicines, and...

Gabon: Mining, dams and repression 

‘It’s fantastic, the forest, fantastic. There is peace, tranquillity, one breathes in the freshness - no pollution and it’s magnificent. If we destroy this forest, we will have aggression from everywhere that will reach the wider population’, Marc Ona Essangui, President of Brainforest and winner of the 2009 Goldman Environmental Prize. The small village of Mananga lies next to the Ivindo River in Ogooué-Ivindo province,...

Ethiopia: Forced displacement and ‘villagization' 

The Ethiopian government has forcibly relocated 70,000 indigenous people from the fertile Gambella region to free up land for commercial agriculture. Local activist Ojulu talked to Corinne Lennox about some of the effects of this so-called ‘villagization’ policy.One year after the villagization programme even those farmers who tried to do farming in the new places were not able to produce enough for the whole...

Uganda: Land injustice for the Basongora 

The Basongora are a pastoralist community that lived and occupied land in Kasese district, north of the Maramagambo forest in western Uganda. The Basongora rely on cattle-herding for their livelihoods. Under colonial rule, Basongora lost 90 per cent of their land between 1900 and 1955 to establish the Queen Elizabeth National Park. The Basongora were evicted, their animals destroyed and huts torched, and no...

Thailand: Indigenous people penalised for carrying out traditional practices 

For decades, indigenous peoples have been forcibly evicted and relocated from their lands on grounds of national security, development and resource conservation. In the north, smaller mountain-dwelling ethnic groups, including Akha, Hmong, Karen, Lahu, Lisu and Mein, struggle to survive economically and culturally in the face of development projects, land-ownership issues and the influx of ethnic Thais. In July, officials at Kaeng Krachan National...

Sudan: Correction - Intisar Sharif Abdulla still in custody 

SIHA is sorry to have to correct its statement of Thursday June 19th that Intisar Sharif Abdallah, who had been sentenced to death by stoning for alleged adultery on 22nd of April 2012 by Ombadah/Omdurman criminal court, had been unconditionally released. This information given to us by Omdurman prison staff proved to be wrong. In fact, the appeal court of Karari/Omdurman referred the case...

Film: State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2012 

Natural resource development projects such as logging and dams, oil and mineral extraction and large-scale agriculture have been successful in generating vast revenues across the globe. But at what cost to minorities and indigenous peoples?In its flagship annual publication, State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2012, Minority Rights Group International documents hundreds of case studies about marginalized groups who have been adversely...

Thailand: Documentary film - jungle dwelling indigenous community threatened by influx of 'outsiders' 

Mani 2.0 is a 25-minute documentary about an indigenous jungle dwelling community, the Mani, of Southern Thailand, who are now facing challenges and influences from the 'outside' world. Watch the film on YouTube:Part1:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXD0M3FhWKY&feature=g-upl Part2:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQJSg-pLgcQ&feature=relmfu...

Interviews with activists: Ahamat Molikini says Tibu minority still face oppression in post-Arab Spring Libya 

MRG: Who are the Tibu?Ahamat: The Tibu are black Africans who live in Southern Libya and are also found in parts of Sudan (Darfur), Chad and Niger. Colonial borders separated them and divided them between countries. In Libya, Tibus live mainly in the Sebha, Kufra, Awbari, Qatrun and Murzuq regions. They are Libyans and were in the region before the Arabs.MRG: What language do...

China: Hard times for nomads in Tibet 

Across the grasslands of northern China, ethnic minority nomads are being systematically relocated into settled communities as part of a process known as "ecological migration." The government's ostensible goal is to restore degraded grasslands, but many believe this is a convenient way for the state to assert greater control over minority people and their territories, and to facilitate natural resource exploitation. Since the mid...

China: Tibetans stop mining on sacred mountain 

Tibetans call the Plateau of Tibet ‘the land surrounded by mountains’. Among the massive mountain chains, a few peaks are especially sacred, attracting pilgrims from afar. In rugged eastern Tibet, nowhere is a sacred as the hidden land of Kawa Kharpo. The sacred Kawagebo mountain sits on the border between the Tibetan Autonomous Region and China’s Yunnan Province; its eastern side is part of...

Russia: Reindeer herders seek deal with energy giants 

The Russian Federation is home to about 200 ethnic groups. Of these, 41 are legally recognized as “indigenous, small-numbered peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Far East”. This status is confined to groups numbering less than 50,000; maintaining a traditional way of life; inhabiting certain remote regions of Russia; and identifying themselves as a distinct ethnic community. Russia is the...

Colombia: San Juan community assert their rights  

In 2010, the Supreme Community Council of Alto San Juan ASOCASAN in Chocó, Colombia drew up their own community protocol, to assert their rights to govern their territories and natural resources according to their customary, national, and international rights and responsibilities. The community protocol provides an overview of the Alto San Juan’s history, and highlights their long standing relationship with their land and the...

State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2012 

Natural resource development projects such as logging and dams, oil and mineral extraction and large-scale agriculture have been successful in generating vast revenues across the globe. But at what cost to minorities and indigenous peoples?In its flagship annual publication, State of the World's Minorities and Indigenous Peoples 2012, Minority Rights Group International documents hundreds of case studies about marginalized groups who have been adversely...

Madagascar: Rio Tinto’s history of human rights abuses 

In 2006 QIT Madagascar Minerals S.A (QMM), a joint venture between QIT Fer et Titane (Rio Tinto’s wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary) and the Government of Madagascar, began work on a new ilmenite mine in the Fort Dauphin area of the Anosy region of Madagascar. An estimated 6000 people, including many indigenous Antanosy, lived in villages in and around the area which was removed to make...

Suriname: Saramaka win case in human rights court  

The Saramaka are one of six Maroon peoples in the Republic of Suriname. Their ancestors were brought to Suriname in the late 17th and early 18th centuries as slaves to work in Suriname's sugar, timber, and coffee plantations. The Saramaka live in a 9,000 square kilometre area of central Suriname. In the 1960s, a hydroelectric dam was built on their traditional land, devastating almost...


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