Julia Perez, the widow of community leader Edwin Chota from Saweto Alto Tamayo Peru fought for #LandRightsNow. The 12 year struggle cost her the life of her husband who was killed by illegal loggers.
AROUND THE WORLD INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ARE INSISTING ON #LandRightsNow!
Today, people are uniting around the world to advocate for Indigenous communities’ rights to their ancestral lands. It is time for everyone to join together and insist on #LandRightsNow. Indigenous people from Ashéninka in Peru to the Züüngar in Mongolia struggle to have their rights to their homelands legally recognized. This is not a new problem.
In fact the Rainforest Foundation was created to address exactly this issue almost 30 years ago—at the time we worked only in the rainforests of Brazil. We began partnering with the Kayapo in Brazil and the Rainforest Foundation US has continued to help Indigenous communities throughout the Americas. We partner with Indigenous communities so that they can protect the forestlands we all depend on.
Just last year some of our partners received land titles in Panama and in Peru enabling them to stand up to loggers, ranchers and mining interests who want to cut down the forests for profit. Sadly, neither of these titles came without great sacrifice. In Panama the Wounaan fought for their title for 50 years. In Peru, the sacrifice was unthinkable–the government ignored the Ashéninka’s land claim until four of its leaders were murdered after standing up to illegal loggers. No one should have to put their lives on the line to protect our rainforests, but that is exactly what Indigenous people are doing every day!
There is still so much work to be done, the United Nations estimates that Indigenous people and community-based regimes live on and protect 50% of the land, yet they only have the legal right to 7% of these lands!
Indigenous communities are frequently forced off their lands, sometimes they flee because mining and oil drilling have contaminated their lands rendering them inhabitable, other times they are threatened and run off by powerful people who cut down their forests to create palm oil plantations or enormous cattle ranches, sometimes they are threatened by loggers eager to cut down the ancient trees that make up their forest homes. When they are forced to leave their homes these indigenous peoples frequently end up homeless, living on the fringes of society and in urban slums completely divorced from their forest homes. Indigenous communities almost never receive compensation for their losses.
Mappers from Pijibasal work hard to document their land claims and ensure that no one is destroying their forests.
Through extensive hiking, flying drones, and using GPS systems the Mapping Team produces an initial map of the community’s ancestral lands.
This year we are working to ensure that the communities of Bajo Lepe & Pijibasal, Maje Chiman, Maje Embera Drua and Rio Hondo & Platanares receive legal recognition from Panama!
Want to learn more?
Read more about Land Rights and their connection to our environment in the newest report published by Oxfam, International Land Coalition, & Rights and Resources Initiative: Common Ground: Securing Land Rights and Safeguarding the Earth