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sharing in governance of extractive industries

Forest peoples demand their rights be made central to global efforts to curb deforestation

Tropical deforestation and violation of forest peoples' rights resulting from oil, gas and minerals extraction was one of several major focal points at an intercontinental gathering on Deforestation and the Rights of Forest Peoples held between 9 and 14 March 2014 in Palangka Raya, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, which I attended. 

Participants identified a major “implementation gap” between international human rights standards that recognize forest peoples' customary rights to forests, lands, territories and natural resources and require their protection by states, and the systematic denial of these rights on the ground. The conference highlighted that governments frequently fail to respect the customary rights of forest peoples by issuing permits and concessions to companies on their lands without free, prior and informed consent - and that companies in taking up such concessions also fail to respect these rights.

At the workshop's  close, Indigenous and forest peoples issued  the Palangka Raya Declaration and called on the international community, governments and international organizations to secure and respect their rights in conformity with international law.

The Palangka Raya Declaration expresses workshop participants’ affirmation that where
forest peoples’ rights are secured deforestation can be halted and even reversed.

Participants pledged to work together in solidarity to form a global grassroots accountability network to independently monitor, document, challenge and denounce forest destruction and associated violations of forest peoples' rights.

The Declaration and press releases are available in English, French, Spanish and Bahasa Indonesia, along with photographs and backgrounders on Cameroon and Peru, here.

Declaration signatories are here.

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