For Immediate Release
7 December 2007
Indigenous Peoples Protest UNFCCC –
Indigenous Peoples shut out of Climate Change Negotiations
Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia – Indigenous peoples representing regions from around the world protested outside the climate negotiations today wearing symbolic gags that read UNFCCC, the acronym of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, symbolizing their systematic exclusion from the UN meeting.
Yesterday a delegation of indigenous peoples was forcibly barred from entering the meeting between UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer and civil society representatives, despite the fact that the indigenous delegation was invited to attend. This act is representative of the systematic exclusion of indigenous peoples in the UNFCCC process.
“There is no seat or name plate for indigenous peoples in the plenary, nor for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the highest level body in the United Nations that addresses indigenous peoples rights,” stated Hubertus Samangun, the Focal Point of the Indigenous Peoples delegation to the UNFCCC and the Focal Point for English Speaking Indigenous Peoples of the Global Forest Coalition.
“Indigenous peoples are not only marginalized from the discussion, but there is virtually no mention of indigenous peoples in the more that 5 million words of UNFCCC documents,” argued Alfred Ilenre of the Edo People of Nigeria.
This is occurring despite the fact that indigenous peoples are suffering the most from climate change and climate change mitigation projects that directly impact their lands.
Indigenous peoples are here in Bali to denounce the false solutions to climate change proposed by the United Nations such as carbon trading, agrofuels and so-called “avoided deforestation” that devastate their lands and cause human rights violations.
“This process has become nothing but developed countries avoiding their responsibilities to cut emissions and pushing the responsibility onto developing countries,” stated Fiu Mata’ese Elisara-Laula, of the O Le Siosiomaga Society of Samoa. “Projects like REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation in Developing countries) sound very nice but they are trashing our indigenous lands. People are being relocated and even killed; my own people will soon be under water. That’s why I call the money from the projects blood money,” he added.
Marcial Arias of the Kuna People of Panama reminded the international community that indigenous peoples’ right to participate was recognized in the Earth Summit in 1992 and reaffirmed this year. “On September 13th of this year, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples  which enshrines the fundamental human rights of indigenous peoples to their lands, territories and environment. It is precisely these rights recognized by the UN itself that the UNFCCC is violating,” he explained.
Contact: Hubertus Samangun, Indigenous Focal Point to the UNFCCC (Bahasa, English) 0813-1077-8918
Orin Langelle, Global Forest Coalition Media Coordinator 0813-3895-9742 (English) (photos available upon request)
Top right: Hubertus Samangun, Indigenous Focal Point to the UNFCCC and Global Forest Coalition representative explains to the media how he and a delegation of indigenous peoples were forcibly blocked from attending a meeting with the UNFCCC executive secretary on Nov 6. Photo: Langelle/ GJEP