Large-scale plans made by governments or companies can often have profound effects on small communities and their environment. Countless people have to move if a dam is built, forests are cleared for new highways, airports or palm oil plantations. Promised compensation is often incomplete or not given at all. For local communities, objecting to such plans is not easy. Nevertheless a community in Uganda has managed to receive fair compensation from the government. Together with the organisations NAPE and AFIEGO, partners of Both ENDS and IUCN NL, the community has persuaded the government to buy new land for those who are forced to move.
We’re only a few months away from the start of the World Cup festivities. For a period of four weeks, starting mid-June, the eyes of the world will be focused on 12 Brazilian football stadiums in which it will be decided which country may call itself World Champion Football for the coming four years. However, for a large number of people, there is little to celebrate. During the preparations for the big event people are evicted from their land and expelled from their homes to make way for stadiums, hotels and infrastructure. These people will have to a way to try to build up a new life somewhere else, without being adequately compensated for their losses.
Megaprojects in South America like large dams and mines are a threat to the natural habitat of indigenous tribes. Cross Cultural Bridges - in cooperation with Both ENDS - therefore started a two-year project to encourage young indigenous leaders in the Amazon and Andes area to defend their rights. Ralph Schreinemachers of Cross Cultural Bridges came to visit Both ENDS to report on the project that he participated in as a trainer.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has pointed out to the Surinam Government that it must obey the "Saramaka verdict". On November 28th, 2008 Suriname lost the case that was brought against the government by the Saramaka community, led by - amongst others - Steward Hugo Jabini, presently a member of the Parliament of Suriname. Jabini is very active in the struggle against the exploitation of the territory of the Saramaka.
This week, a special rapporteur of the United Nations spoke out against the opening of an open-pit coalmine in Phulbari in the northwestern part of Bangladesh. He did this because of the enormous human rights violations this project might lead to. A year ago, the International Accountability Project (IAP) presented a proposal for research on this subject to a number of UN Special Rapporteurs. Olivier de Schutter (UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food) has worked on the proposal since then. From the start, Both ENDS has been active within several networks that are trying to prevent the opening of this coalmine.
The Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development regrets the fact that part of the Ngäbe-Buglé tribe is unhappy with the construction of the Barro Blanco dam in the river Tabasara in Panama. Ploumen said this in reply to parliamentary questions filed by Jasper van Dijk (SP). The Netherlands is involved in the construction of this controversial dam because of the loan provided by the Dutch development bank FMO. The minister does not have the intention of forcing the FMO to withdraw the loan, even though the basic human right of "free, prior and informed consent’ has been violated. A part of the Ngäbe tribe has not been informed before the plans were carried out. Anouk Franck of Both ENDS looks at the impact of the FMO loans.