Indigenous people fret over talks

The indigenous people's rights had not been well-recognised at the Bangkok climate talks, ethnic groups complained yesterday.

The talks, which wrapped up on Friday, were full of speeches about public participation and people's rights to take part in the decision-making process, but the indigenous people's core demands had been left untouched, said Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri, a member of the Network of Indigenous People in Thailand.

Indigenous people had demanded that all countries uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which recognises free prior and informed consent as a prerequisite for resettlement, projects affecting indigenous peoples' territories and lands, or any other legislation which may affect them.

"These principles to safeguard our rights were somewhat watered down at the Bangkok talks," said Mr Kittisak, a member of the Chiang Mai-based Iu Mien ethnic group, who was in Bangkok during the two-week talks to campaign for indigenous rights.

Prasert Trakansuphakon, regional director of the Indigenous Knowledge and People's Network, said even after protecting nature reserves for generations, the indigenous people were now the worst affected by climate change which was to blame for the worsening floods, storms and drought, although they have contributed the least to these global disasters. "The full and effective participation of indigenous peoples, local communities and vulnerable groups is therefore the key to achieve a just and equitable outcome of the climate negotiations," said Mr Prasert, a Karen scholar from Chiang Mai.

However, he was still optimistic for the climate change summit in Copenhagen in December, when government leaders plan to seal a new pact on climate change to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

The indigenous people need to push ahead with their agenda to ensure that the rights of their people are included in the new climate change treaty, he said.

The 43-member Alliance of Small Island States issued a statement of concern at the end of the Bangkok talks. They said the Copenhagen climate summit was unlikely to produce any legally binding deal to build on the current international climate regime.

Indigenouspeople fret over talks

ACHARA ASHAYAGACHAT

>>The indigenous people's rights had not been well-recognised at the Bangkok climate talks, ethnic groups complained yesterday. The talks, which wrapped up on Friday, were full of speeches about public participation and people's rights to take part in the decision-making process, but the indigenous people's core demands had been left untouched, said Kittisak Rattanakrajangsri, a member of the Network of Indigenous People in Thailand.

Indigenous people had demanded that all countries uphold the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which recognises free prior and informed consent as a prerequisite for resettlement, projects affecting indigenous peoples' territories and lands, or any other legislation which may affect them.

''These principles to safeguard our rights were somewhat watered down at the Bangkok talks,'' said Mr Kittisak, a member of the Chiang Mai-based Iu Mien ethnic group, who was in Bangkok during the two-week talks to campaign for indigenous rights.

Prasert Trakansuphakon, regional director of the Indigenous Knowledge and People's Network, said even after protecting nature reserves for generations, the indigenous people were now the worst affected by climate change which was to blame for the worsening floods, storms and drought, although they have contributed the least to these global disasters. ''The full and effective participation of indigenous peoples, local communities and vulnerable groups is therefore the key to achieve a just and equitable outcome of the climate negotiations,'' said Mr Prasert, a Karen scholar from Chiang Mai.

However, he was still optimistic for the climate change summit in Copenhagen in December, when government leaders plan to seal a new pact on climate change to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

The indigenous people need to push ahead with their agenda to ensure that the rights of their people are included in the new climate change treaty, he said.

The 43-member Alliance of Small Island States issued a statement of concern at the end of the Bangkok talks. They said the Copenhagen climate summit was unlikely to produce any legally binding deal to build on the current international climate regime.
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