#COP21 deal: Indigenous peoples fear rights might be dropped

The US, EU, and Norway are reportedly blocking reference to human rights in Article 2, which includes recognition of indigenous peoples rights

ARTICLE 2 ISSUE. In a silent protest on Friday morning, December 4, the indigenous peoples at COP21 hold placards inside the conference venue, demanding that their rights should remain under the preamble and article 2 of the climate agreement. Photo by Tebtebba

ARTICLE 2 ISSUE. In a silent protest on Friday morning, December 4, the indigenous peoples at COP21 hold placards inside the conference venue, demanding that their rights should remain under the preamble and article 2 of the climate agreement. Photo by Tebtebba

By: Voltaire Tupaz; @voltairetupaz

Source: Rappler (http://goo.gl/Bjv8ta)

PARIS – Representatives of the world’s indigenous peoples took their fight for their rights to the Blue Zone in Le Bourget, where the 5th day of climate negotiations are being held.

In a silent protest on Friday morning, December 4, the indigenous delegation held placards inside the conference venue, demanding that their rights should remain under the preamble and article 2 of the agreement.

They feel that the articulation of their rights should be clear not only in the statement of principles but also in the operational text.

"There is a risk of indigenous peoples rights getting omitted from the final agreement,” Lakpa Nuri Sherpa of the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) told Rappler.

The US, European Union, and Norway are said to be blocking references to human rights in Article 2, which includes recognition of indigenous peoples rights, according to Rukka Sombolinggi, deputy secretary-general of Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN), an Indonesian NGO.

"We got the information from the negotiations rooms," she said. "And we're afraid that if we don't give them pressure that reminds them of their commitments (under) the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we will probably lose everything here."

In the first draft that was released Thursday, December 3, Article 2 still mentioned "the respect, protection, promotion and fulfilment of human rights for all, including indigenous peoples.” (READ: Progress in Paris: Draft climate change deal is out)

Article 2.2

[This Agreement shall be implemented on the basis of equity and science, in [full] accordance with the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities[, in the light of national circumstances] [the principles and provisions of the Convention], while ensuring the integrity and resilience of natural ecosystems, [the integrity of Mother Earth, the protection of health, a just transition of the workforce and creation of decent work and quality jobs in accordance with nationally defined development priorities] and ncluding the right to health and sustainable development, [including the right of people under occupation] and to ensure gender equality and the full and equal participation of women, [and intergenerational equity].]

The draft text is heavily bracketed, meaning the wording of various sections is contested by negotiators from member countries.

Indigenous peoples, who own, occupy or manage about 65% the world's land surface, "have been largely excluded" from national climate change mitigation and adaptation plans, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

There are at least 370 million indigenous peoples in 90 countries, comprising 5% of the global population and 15% of the world's poor, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues reported.

Indigenous proposals

The UN Human Rights Office earlier called on countries "to take action to protect those who lack the resources to protect themselves, as well as providing access to effective redress for climate harm.”

"What we want to see is that the response in Paris is one that takes into account the impacts of climate change on human rights,” it stressed.

About 250 indigenous leaders who engaged in unprecedented consultations in their regions in the Arctic, North America, Asia, Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean, Russia and Eastern Europe, and Africa submitted proposals to the ongoing talks. (READ: Indigenous peoples to world leaders: We carry burden of climate change)

In the document crafted by the International Indigenous Peoples’ Forum on Climate Change (IIPFCC), they reiterated their resolve to contribute their traditional knowledge and livelihood to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.