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By Carol Schachet
January 5th, 2016
Palm oil is the most widely consumed vegetable oil on the planet, with some 50 million metric tons produced annually. High demand for the product is leading to the growth of African Palm plantations in Central America, which, in turn, is fueling environmental destruction, the exploitation of agricultural labor, and the displacement of local peasant farmers by companies often financed by development banks.
After two years of deliberation, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights recently issued two judgements declaring the State of Honduras responsible for the violation of collective ownership rights and the lack of judicial protection in a case brought before them by a Grassroots International partner. The ruling extends protection to Garifuna (Afro-descendant) and indigenous people across the country.
In keeping with the tenet of Free, Prior and Informed Consent, the Court stated that “Regarding the right to consultation and cultural identity, the Court considered that the consultation must be applied prior to any exploration project that may affect the traditional lands of the indigenous and tribal communities."
By Chung-Wha Hong and Sara Mersha
December 30th, 2015
Despite all the fanfare, the bottom line from the Paris Agreement is that emissions from fossil fuels will continue at levels that endanger life on the planet, and the trading schemes the agreement promotes will lead to an increase in natural resource grabs.
While government dignitaries engaged in UN climate negotiations (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, otherwise known as the COP21) we had a chance to participate in 10 days of powerful strategy sessions and actions for climate justice in Paris alongside many of Grassroots International’s Global South partners. We will tell you more about movement proposals and accomplishments soon, but let's start by reviewing the official agreement.
Descendents of escapees from African slave ships and indigenous communities, the Garifuna people live on the Atlantic coast of Honduras. Their beautiful seascape and ecologically rich lands have attracted aggressive interest from foreign investors for plans ranging from tourist resorts to mining to industrial agriculture.
The fate of the Garifuna people of Honduras hangs in the balance as they face a Honduran state that is all too eager to accommodate the neoliberal agenda of U.S. and Canadian investors. The current economic development strategy of the Honduran government, in the aftermath of the 2009 coup against the democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya, has not only benefited the political and economic elite in Honduras, but it has also encouraged the usurpation of some of the territories of indigenous peoples of this Central American nation. The often-violent expropriation of indigenous land threatens the Garifuna’s subsistence.
In this moment when it is vital to assert that Black lives matter, the U.S. Food Sovereignty Alliance honors Black and Afro-Indigenous farmers, fishermen, and stewards of ancestral lands and water with the 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize.
The two prize winners are the Federation of Southern Cooperatives in the U.S., and the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras (OFRANEH). The prizes will be presented in Des Moines on October 14, 2015.
The award honors both groups as a vital part of food chain workers, who together are creating food sovereignty, meaning a world with healthy, ecologically produced food, and democratic control over food systems.
Since 1994, August 9 has been dedicated as the UN’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous People. The primary purpose of this commemorative day is to help promote and protect the rights of indigenous people around the world.
The challenges faced by indigenous peoples often transcend geographical location, so it’s not surprising that indigenous groups in India and Brazil share similar stories of oppression and strife.
Grassroots International stands with people on the frontlines of defending the human rights to water, land, and food. Recently, we awarded more than 15 grants to movements in Haiti, Latin America, Palestine, West Africa and India – bolstering the efforts of those leading the global struggle for climate justice and creating sustainable solutions that we can all learn from.