August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Sunday, April 11, 2010

US Slaps Bolivia and Ecuador, the World is Watching

Corporate vampire nations running scared of Rights of Mother Earth
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News

As Bolivia prepares for the World Peoples' Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, the US has pulled out its daggers, slicing millions of dollars in climate change funds to Bolivia and Ecuador, a slap in the face to countries who do not support the dismal Copenhagen accord.

The London Guardian and Washington Post exposed the United States' denial of funds to Bolivia and Ecuador in response to the failed Copenhagen accord. However, more to the point of the US overreaction is the fact that Bolivia is launching the climate summit, April 19-22, and Ecuador was the first country in the world to recognize the legal rights of Mother Earth.

"By an overwhelming margin, the people of Ecuador voted for a new constitution that is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights," said the US Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

“Ecuador is now the first country in the world to codify a new system of environmental protection based on rights,” stated Thomas Linzey, executive director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

The Obama Administration's denial of funds to Bolivia and Ecuador is not the only indicator of the power of both the summit and Ecuador's recognition of the rights of Mother Earth. While the US and some writers attempt to diminish the power of these two actions, the force created by Bolivia and Ecuador grows in magnitude.

Corporations and governments in the so-called "developed world," ensnarled in greed, land grabbing, water poisoning, air polluting and the obliteration of Indigenous rights, are alarmed that their wealth base may now be shaken. Their methods of murder, assassination, torture and land and water theft are now being exposed, leaving those corporations and the nations operated by corporations such as the US, raw and exposed to the world.

The Bolivia climate summit and Ecuador's recognition of the rights of Mother Earth threaten to tip the balance of the corporate world and the devouring corporate nations, whose tentacles have long clasped and ripped out from the Earth that which does not belong to them.

Ecuador: Article 1 of the new “Rights for Nature” chapter of the Ecuador constitution reads: “Nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution. Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognitions of rights for nature before the public bodies.”

Also see: US Denies Climate Aid to Countries Denying Copenhagen Accord

US Denies Climate Aid to Countries Opposing Copenhagen Accord

US Denies Climate Aid to Countries Opposing Copenhagen Accord
Bolivia and Ecuador will be denied aid after both opposed the accord
by Suzanne Goldenberg

Published on Friday, April 9, 2010 by The Guardian/UK
The US State Department is denying climate change assistance to countries opposing the Copenhagen accord, it emerged today.

The new policy, first reported by The Washington Post, suggests the Obama administration is ready to play hardball, using aid as well as diplomacy, to bring developing countries into conformity with its efforts to reach an international deal to tackle global warming.

The Post reported today that Bolivia and Ecuador would now be denied aid after both countries opposed the accord. The accord is the short document that emerged from the chaos of the Copenhagen climate change summit and is now supported by 110 of the 192 nations that are members of the UN climate change convention.

"There's funding that was agreed to as part of the Copenhagen accord, and as a general matter, the US is going to use its funds to go to countries that have indicated an interest to be part of the accord," the state department envoy, Todd Stern, told the Washington Post. He said the decision was not "categorical", suggesting that other countries that opposed the accord could still get aid. Bolivia had originally been in line for $3m (£1.95m) in climate assistance and Ecuador for $2.5m under the State Department's original request to Congress for international climate aid, the Post reported.

Environmental organisations in Washington said they had been briefed that the State Department was contemplating such a step. According to their understanding, the Obama administration sees the Copenhagen accord and the promise of $30bn in climate aid for poor countries as combined package. Countries that oppose the deal, therefore, do not qualify for such funds.

However, Alden Meyer, the climate change director for the Union of Concerned Scientists, warned that such a policy risked further inflaming the tensions between the industrialised world and developing countries that have been a major obstacle to getting a deal.

"They are playing a pretty hard line," he said. "But it has the potential to be a counterproductive strategy. To cut off adaptation aid to countries suffering the impacts of climate change that are largely the result of past emissions from the US and other industrial countries risks making them look like the bad guys in a morality play. It is not a strategy that is going to play well in the developing world."

It could also expose America to further criticism that it is not doing enough to shoulder its share of climate aid. America has contributed slightly more than a billion to the fund, below its share.

At the Copenhagen summit last December, Bolivia had cast itself as a champion for the concerns of developing countries that they were being railroaded into an international agreement that would not do enough to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or protect the African and small island nations that will bear the brunt of climate change.

Bolivia joined Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua in formally opposing the accord. Ecuador did not issue such a statement but it is among the countries that have yet to formally endorse the accord. Some of those hold-outs are acutely vulnerable to climate change – such as the island state of Tuvalu which was outspoken in its opposition to the process of negotiation at Copenhagen. Others are fairly large emitters, such as Argentina.

© 2010 Guardian News and Media Limited

Bolivia, Ecuador denied climate funds
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post
April 9, 2010
You can decide to boycott the Copenhagen Accord -- but that comes at a price. For Bolivia, that's $3 million; for Ecuador, it's $2.5 million.

Bolivia emerged as one of the most vociferous critics of the U.S.-brokered climate deal last December, arguing that the political deal aimed at establishing a global trading system for greenhouse gas emissions amounted to an assault by capitalist countries on poor ones. Bolivian president Evo Morales has organized his own climate conference, which will take place later this month.

Ecuador, for its part, submitted a letter on Jan. 31 stating that it "will not join" the agreement, unlike 122 other countries who have either signed on or have pledged to endorse it.

Both nations were in line for funding under the Obama administration's Global Climate Change initiative. The State Department's congressional budget justification for fiscal year 2010 included a request for $3 million for Bolivia and $2.5 million, according to administration officials, but Congress pared down the $373 million for U.S. AID climate change assistance programs to $305.7 million.

After reassessing the budget, State has decided to deny both Bolivia and Ecuador climate assistance. Since all these funding decisions are subject to congressional concurrence, the process is not complete, but it clearly reflects administration policy.

"There's funding that was agreed to as part of the Copenhagen Accord, and as a general matter, the U.S. is going to use its funds to go to countries that have indicated an interest to be part of the Accord," said U.S. special climate envoy Todd Stern in an interview. He added this policy test was "not categorical," so some nations that declined to sign on could still obtain circumstances.

But David Waskow, climate change program director for Oxfam America, challenged Stern's reasoning.

"No one can question that poor people in Bolivia and Ecuador are extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts. We should be making these decisions based on the merits of which communities need our support, not some other factors," Waskow said. "If you want to build confidence and trust among developing countries, this would not be the way to do it, especially in light of the fact that we haven't yet passed a climate change bill."

Also see: Bolivia Launches World Peoples' Climate Conference at UN Gathering in Bonn:

Alberta First Nations Take Legal Stand on Oil Sands

Please note, that the Duncan's First Nation and Horse Lake First Nation have made application to the Supreme Court of Canada to intervene in a case that bears directly on the rights of Treaty 8 First Nations, the duties of the Crown and regulatory bodies in relation to oil sands development, oil sands infrastructure projects and major energy projects. The two First Nations opted to take action given the lack of regard to Treaty #8 rights by the Government of Alberta, Crown agencies and quasi judicial boards such as the National Energy Board and Alberta's Energy Conservation Resources Board. Both First Nations are facing a growing number of major projects within their traditional territories that will further impact their constitutionally protected rights and that will make full out oil sands development realizable within Alberta.

Alberta First Nations Take Legal Stand on Oil Sands
April 9, 2010
Peace River Alberta
Two more Alberta First Nations are seeking the assistance of the Supreme Court of Canada in defending their Aboriginal and Treaty rights in the face of mounting oil sands development in Alberta. The Supreme Court of Canada has granted intervenor status to Duncan’s First Nation (DFN) and Horse Lake First Nation (HLFN), in a case that may have major legal implications for the development of oil sands, pipelines, oil sands infrastructure projects and other major projects.
DFN Chief Don Testawich stated, “Our traditional territory is being overrun and cut to pieces by oil sands, major pipelines, gas fields and major power projects. Companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, Trans Canada Pipelines and Bruce Power are proposing massive projects that will fuel unsustainable oil sands growth. Development on this scale will is making our Treaty Rights meaningless and threatens our traditional way of life”.
Chief Testawich added, “The governments of Alberta and Canada sit back and refuse to address our concerns. We are intervening before the Supreme Court because it is abundantly clear that neither the environment nor First Nations can expect to receive a fair hearing within Alberta, where oil sands revenues are at stake. We need help now and help fast”.
This summer, the Supreme Court will hear conflicting arguments and views of First Nations, governments and industry in the Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. v. the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council case. The case will address the question of whether regulatory boards and tribunals, such as the National Energy Board (NEB) and Alberta’s Energy Conservation and Resources Board (ECRB), have a duty to decide whether the Crown adequately consulted and accommodated First Nations’ concerns before granting approvals for resource development, including concerns about past infringements of Aboriginal and Treaty rights.
The NEB and ERCB regulate, among other things, development of the oil sands, pipeline projects and other energy projects that support oil sands developments. The DFN and HLFN are intervening at the Supreme Court of Canada because of their concerns over the growing number of oil sands developments and major energy projects that will make oil sands expansion realizable. The DFN and HLFN want the Court to direct governments and regulators to fully and effectively address the consultation rights of First Nations in the regulatory processes for the major oil sands and tar sands infrastructure projects being proposed by Royal Dutch Shell, Trans Canada Pipelines, Enbridge, Bruce Nuclear Power and other corporations.
The First Nations have opted to take this matter to the courts because of their mounting frustration over the refusal by the governments and their regulators to act on earlier court decisions that direct governments to deal with their rights.
Chief Rick Horseman of the HLFN added, “To date, it’s been like watching a game of musical chairs where everyone is saying they are addressing our concerns, rights and interests but no one actually gets down to it and does it. We need a referee in Alberta that will deal with First Nations in a serious and impartial way and blow the whistle when our rights are being trampled”.

Mr. Jay Nelson: Woodward and Company (250) – 383 - 2356
Ms. Audrey Horseman: Horse Lake First Nation (780)518-5179
Mr. Matthew General: Duncan’s First Nation (780)597-3777

The Oil Sands: An Interconnected and International Project in Scope Impacting the Rights of First Nations

Mailbox: Riders for Peltier 1996

Thanks to Frank for sending this clipping in to Censored News.

Bolivia launches World Peoples' Climate Summit at UNFCCC talks in Bonn

Bolivia launches World Peoples’ Climate Summit at UNFCCC talks in Bonn
Media advisory

Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s ambassador to the UN, at a press conference during UNFCCC negotiations in Bonn on 10 April condemned continued attempts by some developed countries to impose a deeply flawed Copenhagen Accord as the basis for future negotiations: “The only way to get negotiations back on track not just for Bolivia or other countries, but for all of life, biodiversity, our Mother Earth is to put civil society back into the process.”

Solon explained it was this belief that motivated Bolivia to host an historic World Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth on 19-22 April 2010 to which more than 15,000 people and up to 70 governments are expected to attend.

“The central aim of any climate summit is not to save itself and accept any outcome, but to come to an agreement that will save humanity.”

Solon said that the Copenhagen Accord sadly marked a “backwards step” so could never be acceptable as a basis for further negotiations. Solon pointed out that the European Union’s own analysis of the Copenhagen Accord admitted that it would lead to an increase of temperatures of up to four or five degrees.

“This is no kind of solution. Yet at these talks [in Bonn] we never hear developed nations admitting concern over this. Instead the US claims this is the best agreement we have had. Are we really willing to say that allowing temperatures to rise to four or five degrees is a good goal?”

Solon reiterated the demands of many developing nations by calling on industrialized nations to rebuild trust. “You cannot rebuild trust by legalizing the same methods that led to the failure in Copenhagen.” Solon called for talks to be returned to the full UNFCCC process, and to develop on what had been agreed in COP15.

Solon commenting on news that the US and Denmark were withdrawing aid from countries like Bolivia for their opposition to the Copenhagen Accord said, “This in their rights, but unfair and clearly an attempt to punish Bolivia. What kind of negotiation is it where you lose money if you disagree?” Solon said that Bolivia would not back down due to such threats. “We are a country with dignity and sovereignty and will maintain our position.”
For more information, please contact:
Gadir Lavadenz – or ring (+591 2) 2 113161 or (+591) 706 91367
Nick Buxton – or ring +591 74056695

The Peoples' World Conference on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth was announced by President Evo Morales of Bolivia in the aftermath of the widely denounced outcomes of the Copenhagen UNFCCC conference in December 2009. The aim of the conference is to advance an agenda led by civil society organizations and in dialogue with proactive governments dedicated to preventing climate change. The conference aims to analyze the structural causes of climate change, and develop specific proposals and actions for addressing it.

Bolivia has invited all 192 governments in the UN to attend the conference and is working closely with the United Nations Development Program to bring representatives from nearly all the 49 Least Developed Countries (LDCs), whose populations will be most vulnerable to climate change. Spain, Russia and France have also indicated that they will send representatives and others are still confirming.

Amongst the confirmed speakers are NASA scientist Jim Hansen, Bill McKibben, environmental journalist and leader of, Indian environmentalist Vandana Shiva, best-selling author Naomi Klein, Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, Miguel D'Escoto, former President of UN General Assembly, Lumumba Di-Aping, lead negotiator for the G77 at Copenhagen, American actor, director and activist Danny Glover along with leaders from leading environmental organizations and communities at the frontline of climate change.
All media and journalists are warmly encouraged to come to Bolivia to cover this event. Registration is free and can be done at the conference website at (Spanish) or (English)

VIDEOS: U.N. Ambassador Pablo Solon, from Bolivia, is inviting all the governments
of the world and interested NGOs to a conference, on April 20 to 22, 2010,
to discuss the "Structural Changes for the Environment".
Conference media contacts:
Gadir Lavadenz tel:(+591 2) 2 113161 or (+591) 706 91367
Nick Buxton tel: (+591 74056695), skype: nickbuxton
Conference website: (English); (EspaƱol)
Also see:
US Slaps Bolivia and Ecuador: Corporate vampire nations running scared of rights of Mother Earth
Censored News