Burned eucalyptus trees, Chile. As in Australia, a combination of heat wave and drought contributed to the worst wildfires in Chile’s history over the 2016-2017 fire season. Photo: photolangelle.org (2017)
Cam Walker is the campaigns coordinator for Friends of the Earth Australia. He works on campaigns including climate and energy justice, forests and inland rivers. He is also a volunteer firefighter with the Country Fire Authority. Cam lives in Central Victoria, about 100 miles north of Melbourne.
To donate to the fire relief effort, please go to: https://www.melbournefoe.org.au/fire_emergency
For more on the fires in Australia and why they were so bad: https://www.foe.org.au/bushfire_disinformation
Clearcut in the Shawnee National Forest during songbird mating season, May, 2019 Photo: Langelle
Photo: Daniel Pascual via Peoples Dispatch
Peoples Dispatch January 14, 2020
Daniel Pascual, who is appearing as a defendant in a defamation case on Tuesday, has faced constant attacks because of his work to defend human rights and Indigenous and peasant communities in Guatemala.
The legal process against Guatemalan Indigenous leader and human rights defender Daniel Pascual is set to begin on January 14, Tuesday. Pascual who is internationally recognized for his work in the Committee for Peasant Unity (CUC) has been charged with defamation, slander and injury by Ricardo Méndez Ruiz, the son of a former general and minister of the interior during the rule of war criminal and dictator Ríos Montt.
Social movements and organizations in Guatemala and the region alleged that the legal process, rife with irregularities and violations, is a clear case of persecution with political and racist motivations.
The case goes back to June 10, 2013, when Ricardo Méndez Ruiz, president of the Foundation Against Terrorism, pressed formal charges against Daniel Pascual for defamation, slander and injury. The charges are linked to statements that Pascual made during a press conference about an assassination attempt against him in San Juan Sacatepéquez amid conflicts over the construction of a cement plant in the municipality.
In the press conference, Pascual had revealed details about this assassination attempt and death threats he had received. These were part of a general trend of attacks and intimidation against Indigenous leaders in various areas of the country where there are extractive projects. This campaign of persecution, he noted, also included information and media attacks where columnists and dubious organizations such as the Foundation Against Terrorism, which he classifies as “pseudo clandestine organizations,” shared false information about him and other leaders.
Following this press meet, Méndez Ruiz filed the penal lawsuit with the fundamental piece of evidence being an edited video taking the words spoken by Pascual in the press conference out of context. The judge overseeing the case did not compare the heavily edited video with the original declarations from the press conference or the unedited video in order to verify the veracity of the claims, the first of many irregularities in this case.
Pascual’s defense team, as well as the CUC and other organizations, have pointed out that in accepting the case in a penal court, the judge violated the Constitutional Law of Free Sharing of Thought which outlines that in case of grievances, the case can be dealt with in the Press Tribunal. When this violation was presented before the court as grounds for the case to be removed from the penal court, the judge refused. This same judge soon announced that she would not continue with the case and declared that it was because Daniel Pascual and his defense team were not litigating in accordance with the law and that her personal integrity was at risk, though the real reason was because she retired.
The judge who took over the case summoned Pascual to court and warned that if he did not appear, he would declare him in contempt and would order his immediate detention, a warning that seems out of proportion given the consistent fulfillment of all court directives by Pascual.
In 2016, the defense team presented a legal resource to the Constitutional Court and by June 7, 2016, the Constitutional Court temporarily suspended the penal process but it was reactivated in 2019.
To read more visit Peoples Dispatch
Community of Amador Hernandez-Chiapas, Mexico. Photo: Langelle
Phys.org January 7, 2020
More than a third of the world’s vanishing pristine forests are managed by indigenous peoples under threat from development and deforestation, scientists said Tuesday, calling for greater protection.
As deadly bushfires ravage Australia’s east coast, a new assessment of how wild forests are maintained showed that indigenous people have tenure over 36 percent of Earth’s remaining intact forest landscapes.
Indigenous peoples play a vital role in maintaining ecosystems and use traditional methods to manage forests that have proven to be more effective in many cases than modern conservation techniques.
These peoples are currently under attack in several countries, led by Brazil where President Jair Bolsonaro’s government is taking steps to legalise mining on indigenous lands.
‘Important climate protection’
An international team of scientists conducted a geospatial analysis of 50 countries where pristine forests remain, overlaid with maps of indigenous people’s lands.
They found that while untouched forest areas had declined 8.2 percent since 2000 on indigenous land, the number was higher—10 percent this century—in areas outside their stewardship.
To read more visit Phys.org
Photo: Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) via Wet’suwet’en Supporter Toolkit 2020