Survival names ‘terrible ten’ – key abusers of tribal peoples’ rights

To mark UN Human Rights Day (10 December) Survival has named the ‘terrible ten’: the key abusers of tribal peoples’ rights in 2007. Indonesia, Australia, Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Botswana, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay and Malaysia are all highlighted.

Tribal peoples in West Papua face appalling violence at the hands of the Indonesian military, experiencing killings, arbitrary arrests, rape and torture while their lands are exploited by the Indonesian government and foreign companies.

In Botswana, the government evicted the Bushmen from their land in the Central Kalahari in 2002, and continues to prevent them from returning home, despite a landmark court ruling in 2006 that declared the evictions ‘unlawful and unconstitutional’.

Cattle ranchers occupying Guarani Indian land in Brazil are hiring gunmen to target the Indians. This year two Guarani leaders have been murdered and two Guarani women raped in land conflicts, while at least 26 Guarani have committed suicide.

Peru is home to an estimated 15 of the world’s last uncontacted tribes and all of them are facing extinction as the government opens up their territories to oil companies and illegal loggers flood in. The Peruvian president recently suggested the tribes didn’t exist.

The Ayoreo-Totobiegosode in Paraguay are the last uncontacted Indians south of the Amazon basin. But powerful logging companies are destroying their forest at breakneck speed, and the government is failing to protect them.

In Malaysia, the tribes of Sarawak have had their land taken to make way for logging, dam construction and oil palm plantations. The government has told the nomadic, hunter-gatherer Penan that they have no land rights until they ‘settle down’ and start farming.

Despite supposedly being liberal democracies, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA were the only countries to vote against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was approved by the General Assembly in September this year. 143 countries voted in favour.

For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]