5:33 Now Playing
Across the Democratic Republic of Congo foreign owned logging companies are causing widespread destruction of one of the most valuable remaining tropical forests in the world. Often local communities are ignored as their forests are cut around them. In a country largely lawless the use of violence is endemic. By using the military and the police to crush opposition and resistance among the local populace the state is seen as openly supporting the companies over their own citizens. Acting with impunity people are being arrested, tortured and raped in remote regions.
The small forest dwelling community of Bayeria, in the Mai-Ndombe region, protested when their social improvement plans, an agreement made between the logging company and the village to help develop infrastructure, had failed to materialise. They tell their harrowing story in a region set to be the DRCs flagship forest protection area for new carbon investment projects.
7:31 Now Playing
On 1st September 2014 Edwin Chota and three indigenous Asháninka leaders were murdered while defending their forests. They had been denouncing the increasingly violent illegal loggers operating on their ancestral lands for over a decade with little recognition from the government. Through their widows, family and friends we learn about their ongoing fight for land titles. This story is one of many examples of Indigenous Peoples defending their forests and paying the ultimate sacrifice.
5:00 Now Playing
Testimonies of violence and criminalization facing Indigenous Peoples
In March 2018, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz brought together indigenous representatives from around the world to hear their testimony on the violence and legal prosecution they face for defending their lands.
Find out more at theyshouldhaveknownbetter.com
12:47 Now Playing
Despite their customary land being recognised by the Indonesian Government in 2012, the Seko community have been defending their land against large-scale energy development for the last 3 years. In 2016, 14 community leaders were criminalized, including 1 woman. They were sentenced for at least 7 months.
They oppose a large scale hydro-electric power plant, Seko Power Prima, that will divert their river and would cut through their fertile hills, groves, cropland and hamlets. The communities organised, staged rallies and defended their land.
On August 1st 2017, Amisandi was released from jail but the resistance continues.
24:25 Now Playing
Worth Dying For?
Berta Cáceres, Honduras’ most well-known land and environmental campaigner, and winner of the International Goldman Prize for the Environment, was brutally murdered in her home over a year ago. More people in Honduras are killed per capita than anywhere else in the world for defending the land and over 80% of cases go unsolved.
“Worth Dying For?” charts the extraordinary epidemic of death sweeping land rights activists in Honduras, – where more people are killed per capita than anywhere else in the world.
7:49 Now Playing
From Our Ancestors
In a rapidly dwindling community forest the people of Pandumaan & Sipituhuta have put up a strong fight to stop the growth of monoculture eucalyptus plantations. But the aggressive actions of the company & its close alignment with local politicians & the police have led this struggle down a dark path – protests, intimidation, arrests & confrontations.
7:28 Now Playing
Oil Palm Free Islands
From outsiders to political representatives, the indigenous struggle in the Mentawai islands is a 20 year struggle to be heard. We learn through the eyes of Gugen, a future Indigenous leader, as he meets the villagers, shamens, newspaper & radio stations that unify these threatened islands.
10:20 Now Playing
Jail is the reward for Momonus and Jamaludin to defend their ancestral lands. For 12 years already these Semunying indigenous territories have been controlled by P.T. In Ledo Lestari. Their dense forest had been turned into a palm oil plantation landscape. Although they have been persecuted and abused in their ancestral land, their fight is not extinguished.
7:24 Now Playing
After a seven year battle, the Mayangna community of Awas Tingni won a landmark ruling at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and demonstrated that international human rights law could protect indigenous peoples, their land and their natural resources. As a result a Demarcation Law was passed in 2003 in Nicaragua to recognise and respect indigenous people’s land rights. However a change in law does not always lead to a change in behaviour.
Indigenous communities continue to have to fight to protect their territory from unscrupulous businessmen selling off this land to poor families, some who may have invested all they own into a small plot. This has caused incredible friction between the settlers and the indigenous communities.
Patrols to protect disputed land often turn violent. In 2013 Charlie Taylor was murdered trying to keep colonists from his communities’ land, a Mayangna community situated in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve. This is a crucial moment, the indigenous peoples are mobilising groups to defend their land against settlers who often cut down large areas of forest and are increasingly violent. Despite laws and promises being made, indigenous communities are facing an intensifying daily battle to protect their ancestral lands and their forests.
1:06 Now Playing
"They've got blood on them" - Alessandra Munduruku - Munduruku People
Alessandra Munduruku speaks about the challenges her people and the indigenous peoples of Brazil are facing.
Playlist - Demand #3: Zero Violence
Global indigenous leaders are calling for 5 demands, in this series of playlists we explore each demand in turn.
Demand #3: Zero Violence
The battle to keep forests often leads to serious and sometimes fatal conflicts. Communities should be supported in their work and community leaders should not be criminalized for defending their land and our forests.
There were 46 indigenous people known to be killed in 2014 for taking a stand against environmental destruction. It is likely that the death toll is higher as murders often occur in remote villages or deep in jungles, where they are unreported