Water Rights

Defending Indigenous Territories and Waters in Honduras

Whether it’s life imitating art or the other way around, the assault so dramatically captured in the Hollywood blockbuster film Avatar (2009) is not pure fiction. The reality is that countries and corporations that are hell-bent on extracting every last resource from the earth continue their relentless assaults on indigenous people, their land and waters, their cultures and ways of life,  Whether it’s Afro-Brazilians on the Sao Francisco river in Brazil, Dongria Kondhs on Niyamgiri mountain in India, or Lencas in Honduras’ Rio Blanco territory, they all are facing not only the threat of displacement and devastation but violence, intimidation and even, in some instances, assassination.

Shame on TIAA-CREF for Muzzling Shareholder Voices!

Once again, TIAA-CREF has denied its shareholders the right to have their voices heard through the ballot box at this year’s shareholder meeting. 

The Mystique of Las Misticas

Ingredients: 183 member organizations. 88 countries. 5 continents. 500 representatives of 200-plus million women and men. Numerous allies from movements of  women, indigenous peoples, fishers, pastoralists, environmental/climate justice activists and more. One global peasant movement. All with fearless commitment to social, economic and gender justice.

MAB is Nominated for International Human Rights Award

Grassroots International nominated one of their Brazilian partners, the Movement of People Affected by Dams, to receive the annual award of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights. The award honors courageous and innovative individuals for their activism. If selected, this award would not only reinforce MAB’s historic struggle to protect human rights and support those defending communities impacted by massive water projects; it would also provide monetary compensation and international recognition.

In fact, the nomination itself has already provided a boost to MAB’s reputation and a platform from which to raise the voices of those impacted by dams and hydro-electric projects.

Black Mesa Water Coalition resists coal, forges vision for climate justice

On this Earth Day, I’m inspired to share a story of the Black Mesa Water Coalition (BMWC). One of Grassroots International’s US allies, BMWC organizes in indigenous communities, going up against powerful corporate interests in the fossil fuel industry, and engaging in movement building toward a vision for a transition to an economically and ecologically just society. 

Celebrating World Water Day

Grassroots International celebrates World Water Day and the efforts of small farmers, indigenous peoples and water rights activists worldwide.

In light of global water grabs, this year’s theme is quite ironic: water cooperation. Water is essential to life yet we are seeing communities being stripped of their water rights every day. From Brazil to Palestine to India to the US, water resources are being privatized and sold off to the highest bidder while communities are left thirsty and unable to maintain their crops. And governments, fueled by greed (or desperation), are failing to protect these vital resources.

Climate Justice Statement of Solidarity with Idle No More

January 28, 2013 was marked around the world as an International Day of Solidarity with Idle No More, a movement sparked in November 2012 by First Nations women in Canada, in resistance to legislative threats to indigenous sovereignty.  One particular piece of legislation which Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is promoting, Bill C-45, would nullify provisions of provisions of the Navigable Waters Protection Act which since 1882 has mandated consultation and approval by First Nations for projects that could affect waterways on indigenous territories.

Zainab's Struggle to Save the Indus and her People

“The contractor even determines who our daughters will get married to!” said Zainab bibi. “That is how much we are in bondage to these contractors. Are we not human? Do our children not have dreams of education? Don’t we have hopes for them?

Water for Life, Water for All

Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories (oPt) has not only physically dominated the land that supports the Palestinian people but also the vital water resources that feed the land. The natural cycles and recharging of these important water resources have been altered by the systematic confiscation and control policies imposed by Israel that deny Palestinians’ right to the water resources in the oPt. Drought-induced water scarcity, poor sanitation conditions and low economic development further add to the hardship of water-starved Palestinians.

People Power versus Hydropower

A massive, very active social movement against the loss of land and ecosystems caused by hydro-electric dams is making headway in Brazil.  The movement is little known in North America so far, but that’s changing. And it’s on the brink of spreading across the world wherever large dams are being built and waterways threatened.  

But what’s all the fuss, some may ask.  Doesn’t it usually only affect isolated communities, and isn’t hydropower a much more environmentally friendly source of cheap energy, especially compared with nuclear, coal, or oil? Are these anti-dam activists clinging to a kind of prosaic, but impractical pastoral way of life, or just trying to push the dams into somebody else’s backyard?