August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Indigenous Environmental Network: Betrayal in Cancun

Cancún Betrayal: Cancun Climate Summit Unmasked as WTO of the Sky

Real Solutions to the Climate Crisis Will Come From Grassroots Movements
By Indigenous Environmental Network
Photo 1: Sarah James, Gwich'in, in peoples march on Tuesday. Copyright by Ben Powless, Mohawk. Photo 2: Casey Camp, Ponca, at ceremony for carvan arrival. Copyright Allan Lissner.
Censored News
CANCUN, Mexico — As representatives of Indigenous peoples and communities already suffering the immediate impacts of climate change, we express our outrage and disgust at the agreements that have emerged from the COP16 talks. As was exposed in the Wikileaks climate scandal, the Cancun Agreements are not the result of an informed and open consensus process, but the consequence of an ongoing US diplomatic offensive of backroom deals, arm-twisting and bribery that targeted nations in opposition to the Copenhagen Accord during the months leading up to the COP-16 talks.

We are not fooled by this diplomatic shell game. The Cancun Agreements have no substance. They are yet more hot air. Their only substance is to promote continued talks about climate mitigation strategies motivated by profit. Such strategies have already proved fruitless and have been shown to violate human and Indigenous rights. The agreements implictly promote carbon markets, offsets, unproven technologies, and land grabs—anything but a commitment to real emissions reductions.

The Voices of the People Must be Respected
Indigenous Peoples from North to South cannot afford these unjust and false ‘solutions’, because climate change is killing our peoples, cultures and ecosystems. We need real commitments to reduce emissions at the source and to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Because we are on the front lines of the impacts of climate change, we came to COP-16 with an urgent call to address the root causes of the climate crisis, to demand respect for the Rights of Mother Earth, and to fundamentally redefine industrial society’s relationship with the planet. Instead, the Climate COP has shut the doors on our participation and that of other impacted communities, while welcoming business, industry, and speculators with open arms. The U.S., Industrialized nations, big business and unethical companies like Goldman Sachs will profit handsomely from these agreements while our people die.

Women and youth in our communities are disproportionately burdened by climate impacts and rights violations. Real solutions would strengthen our collective rights and land rights while ensuring the protection of women, youth and vulnerable communities. While the Cancun Agreements do contain some language “noting” rights, it is exclusively in the context of market mechanisms, while failing to guarantee safeguards for the rights of peoples and communities.

The failures of the UN talks in Copenhagen have been compounded in Cancun. From the opening day to the closing moments of the talks, our voices were censored, dissenting opinions silenced and dozens ejected from the conference grounds. The thousands who rallied outside to reject market mechanisms and demand recognition of human and Indigenous rights were ignored.

The Market Will Not Protect Our Rights
Market-based approaches have failed to stop climate change. They are designed to commodify and profit from the last remaining elements of our Mother Earth and the air. Through its focus on market approaches like carbon trading, the UNFCCC has become the WTO of the Sky.

We are deeply concerned that the Cancun Agreements betray both our future and the rights of peoples, women, youth, and vulnerable populations. While the preamble to the Cancun Agreements note a call for “studies on human rights and climate change,” this is in effect an empty reference, with no content and no standards, that will not protect the collective rights of peoples. The market mechanisms that implicitly dominate both the spirit and the letter of the Cancun Agreements will neither avert climate change nor guarantee human rights, much less the Rights of Mother Earth. Approaches based on carbon offsetting, like REDD, will permit polluters to continue poisoning land, water, air, and our bodies, while doing nothing to stop the climate crisis. Indeed, approaches based on the commodification of biodiversity, CO2, forests, water, and other sacred elements will only encourage the buying and selling of our human and environmental rights.

The Cochabamba People’s Agreement Points the Way Forward
There is another way forward: the Cochabamba People’s Agreement represents the vision of everyday people from all corners of the globe who are creating the solutions to climate change from the ground up, and calling for a global framework that respects human rights and the Rights of Mother Earth.

If any hope emerges from Cancun, it comes from the dramatic demonstrations we saw in the streets and from the deep and powerful alliances that were built among indigenous and social movements. The Indigenous Environmental Network joined thousands of our brothers and sisters to demand real climate solutions based in the rights of Indigenous Peoples, the rights of Mother Earth, and a just transition away from fossil fuels. We will continue to stand with our allies to demand climate justice. The communities on the frontlines of the problem––those who face the daily impacts of the climate crisis––are also on the frontlines of the solutions. Community-based solutions can cool the planet!

The fight for climate justice continues. We are committed to deepening our alliances with indigenous and social movements around the world as we build in our communities and mobilize toward COP-17 in Durban, South Africa. Social movements in South Africa mobilized the world to overthrow Apartheid and create powerful, transformative change. The same mass-based movement building is our only hope to overturn the climate apartheid we now face. We look forward to working with our African brothers and sisters and tribal communities in Durban.

We only have one Mother Earth. As Indigenous Peoples, we will continue our struggle to defend all our Relations and future generations.

Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) is a network of Indigenous Peoples empowering Indigenous Nations and communities towards sustainable livelihoods, demanding environmental justice and maintaining the Sacred Fire of our traditions. IEN brought 17 indigenous leaders to Cancun as part of the Grassroots Solutions for Climate Justice — North America Delegation uniting representatives from fossil fuel impacted communities who are on the frontlines of solving the climate crisis. A complete archive of the delegations statements and activities can be found at and
More videos:
The End of Negotiations – Youth Delegations Ejected from COP16
Soham Baba, Lessons in Manipulating the Indigenous – COP16
World Bank President @ COP16
Jane Goodall Endorses REDD at COP 16
COP16: Perspective from The Streets
Media Contacts: IEN media hotline in Cancun: +52 998 108 0748 (available through Dec 11) Tom Goldtooth in Cancun +52 998 108 0751 (available through Dec 11) Tom Goldtooth (after Dec 12) +1 218-760-0442

Watch live streaming video from abyayalanexus at

Evo Morales: US intelligence lacks intelligence

Democracy Now's Amy Goodman asked Bolivian President Evo Morales about a Wikileaks cable which states Bolivia, Ecuador and other countries need to be neutralized, co-opted or marginalized. Morales responded that US intelligence lacks intelligence. Morales said the people of Bolivia are not children and the leaked cable confirms the reasons Bolivia expelled the US diplomat, as the US continues its attempt to destabilize governments. Meanwhile, Bolivia is now a a mirror site for Wikileaks. --Censored News
Wikileaks leaked cable, no. 16:
Democracy Now! Cancun
AMY GOODMAN: In a speech at the U.N. Climate Change Conference, Bolivian President Evo Morales warned Thursday against throwing out the Kyoto Protocol, saying such a move could result in ecocide or genocide. Bolivia has become a leading critic of how the climate talks have developed and of last year’s U.S.-backed Copenhagen Accord.

Soon after Morales spoke, I had a chance to ask him a question at a news conference. He was also asked to respond to recent criticism from Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa.

AMY GOODMAN: I’m Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! in the United States. A State Department cable was recently leaked by WikiLeaks that quotes a top White House official saying that countries like Bolivia and Ecuador and others need to be neutralized, co-opted or marginalized. I wanted to get your comment on this, on the fact that the U.S. cut off funding for Bolivia after you refused to sign the Copenhagen Accord, and where you think the Cancún accord is going and needs to go.

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Well, the topic of WikiLeak, the WikiLeak documents, WikiLeaks, we realize how espionage from the U.S. government takes place, before Obama and after Obama. Happily, we are not sorry, because there is a stop to this type of imposition—espionage, threats, intimidation—trying to break up the economies and the policies and also our identities. Happily and timely, we announce this constantly. I am happy to have started to provide dignity to the people of Bolivia, men and women.

In the fourth conference of the defense minister of America, where the Secretary of Defense of the U.S. was present in Santa Cruz last month, I decided two things. It’s Evo’s knee or the dignity of the people. I prefer the dignity of the people than Evo’s knee, to tell you the truth. And after that comes this information from WikiLeaks confirming everything that we denounced before that, that’s the diplomacy of the empire. They try to shut down, to persuade, by using some presidents from Latin America. I am certain that they have an intention, and their intention is to generate lack of trust—Evo with Cristina, Evo with Chávez, or Evo with Correa. At this time, we are no longer children, and we are not small. That will not generate any lack of trust. That will not generate any confrontation between presidents. I respect and admire Cristina, the president of Argentina, as well as our colleague Chávez, Correa, Lula.

They said that they had—he had a tumor on the nose because he had a problem in the nose, but not a tumor. I reached the conclusion that the intelligence agents from the U.S. lack intelligence. And they speak foolishness that I have a tumor. They want to cause damage. They won’t be able to do it. But these type of operations will continue, of course, although we have started to provide dignity to the people of Bolivia, men and women, no matter the fact that we are a country that is labeled as underdeveloped or developing, well above whatever our economic, cultural situation is. Above all of that, there’s our dignity.

And I’m not sorry for having expelled the U.S. ambassador at the time when we expelled the U.S. ambassador. Since then, there’s no conspiracy against democracy. There’s no more attempts of coup d’état. What our journalist friends have to know is that wherever the U.S. government has monopolic interests through their ambassadors, there’s no guarantee neither of democracy, there’s no guarantee for development, there’s no guarantee of the integration of peoples. Whether Obama accepts it or not, with the U.S., with the American empire, we are three to one, if we talk about democracy. We must recognize, with the coup d’état in Honduras, Obama beat us. But the empire has lost in Venezuela, in Bolivia and in Ecuador with their attempted coups d’état. That the Latin American people is beating the empire three to one goals, that’s good. They will always—we’ll always have one goal against us, but that’s the U.S.

And then WikiLeak is mentioned [inaudible]. They can do it; it’s their right. If we were not in government, we would also be organized to permanently fight against capitalism, neoliberalism, against colonialism. That’s our right that we have. But they are not even able to control their intelligence, their forms of control or their forms of espionage. I believe that even in that situation, the U.S. is decadent.

REPORTER: [translated] From Millennial paper in Mexico, Mario Vargas Llosa has just said that you headed a government which was a joke, you were the clown. He considers you a clown. Two, regarding the Kyoto Protocol, the Mexican chancellor and the United Nations secretary for the environment, they say that due to the polarization of the parties, that’s why they are trying to find a midpoint, so that the Kyoto Protocol doesn’t die completely. What do you think about these two positions?

PRESIDENT EVO MORALES: [translated] Now, regarding Vargas Llosa, I believe that sometimes Nobel Prize laureates of economics—economy, physics, the Nobel Peace Prize laureates, those prizes are for people who are political dissidents. I don’t understand that a writer, a novelist, can make these type of comments, but indigenous peoples have always been victims of some educated people, some writers or some novelists. Patience, to be able to be resilient to discrimination—how can somebody receive a Nobel Prize, somebody who refers to me as a clown? If you talk about a person is a clown to my brothers at the grassroots, how will they see this writer? The world people should wonder what kind of people are receiving Nobel awards. We leave this for the debate and analysis of the peoples of the world.

We have learned how to [inaudible] country or death. It’s for country, and therefore, now we are no longer saying country, or that now it’s planet, or that either capitalism dies or Mother Earth dies. We were trying to find—if we try to find an intermediate exit is to try to make fools of ourselves, trying to find some kind of compromise using some indigenous brothers to convince with carbon bombs or with resources, that’s practically tried to cheat mankind and cheat the hopes that the peoples of the world have placed here in Cancún.

AMY GOODMAN: Bolivian President Evo Morales speaking yesterday at a news conference after his speech at the plenary of the U.N. summit on climate change. He was translated.

Bolivia Decries Adoption of Copenhagen Accord II without Consensus

Bolivia Decries Adoption of Copenhagen Accord II Without

By Plurinational State of Bolivia

The Plurinational State of Bolivia believes that the Cancun text is a hollow and false victory that was imposed without consensus, and its cost will be measured in human lives. History will judge harshly.
There is only one way to measure the success of a climate agreement, and that is based on whether or not it will effectively reduce emissions to prevent runaway climate change. This text clearly fails, as it could allow global temperatures to increase by more than 4 degrees, a level disastrous for humanity. Recent scientific reports show that 300,000 people already die each year from climate change-related disasters. This text threatens to increase the number of deaths annually to one million. This is something we can never accept.
Last year, everyone recognized that Copenhagen was a failure both in process and substance. Yet this year, a deliberate campaign to lower expectations and desperation for any agreement has led to one that in substance is little more than Copenhagen II.
A so-called victory for multilateralism is really a victory for the rich nations who bullied and cajoled other nations into accepting a deal on their terms. The richest nations offered us nothing new in terms of emission reductions or financing, and instead sought at every stage to backtrack on existing commitments, and include every loophole possible to reduce their obligation to act.
While developing nations - those that face the worst consequences of climate change - pleaded for ambition, we were instead offered the “realism” of empty gestures. Proposals by powerful countries like the US were sacrosanct, while ours were disposable. Compromise was always at the expense of the victims, rather than the culprits of climate change. When Bolivia said we did not agree with the text in the final hours of talks, we were overruled. An accord where only the powerful win is not a negotiation, it is an imposition.
Bolivia came to Cancun with concrete proposals that we believed would bring hope for the future. These proposals were agreed by 35,000 people in an historic World People’s Conference Cochabamba in April 2010.
They seek just solutions to the climate crisis and address its root causes. In the year since Copenhagen, they were integrated into the negotiating text of the parties, and yet the Cancun text systematically excludes these voices. Bolivia cannot be convinced to abandon its principles or those of the peoples we represent. We will continue to struggle alongside affected communities worldwide until climate justice is achieved.
Bolivia has participated in these negotiations in good faith and the hope that we could achieve an effective climate deal. We were prepared to compromise on many things, except the lives of our people. Sadly, that is what the world’s richest nations expect us to do. Countries may try to isolate us for our position, but we come here in representation of the peoples and social movements who want real and effective action to protect the future of humanity and Mother Earth. We feel their support as our guide. History will be the judge of what has
happened in Cancun.

Comunicado de Prensa
Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia

Bolivia denuncia la adopción del Acuerdo de Copenhage II sin consenso

Diciembre 11, 2010 (Cancún, Mexico).- El Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia cree que el texto de Cancún es una victoria vacía y falsa que fue impuesta sin consenso, y su costo será medible en vidas humanas. La historia juzgará severamente.

Solamente existe una manera de medir el éxito de un acuerdo climático, y esto se basa en que si es o no efectivo para las reducciones de emisiones para prevenir el cambio climático. Este texto claramente falla, pues permite elevar la temperatura global en más de 4 grados, a niveles desastrosos para la humanidad. Recientes reportes científicos muestran que 300.000 personas ya están muriendo cada año por los desastres relacionados con el cambio climático. Este texto amenaza con el aumento de muertes anuales a un millón. Eso es algo que nosotros nunca aceptaremos.

El año pasado el mundo reconoció que Copenhague fue un fracaso tanto en contenido como en proceso. Este año, una campana deliberada para reducir las expectativas y la desesperación por cualquier acuerdo ha dado lugar en substancia a lo que es el Copenhague II.

La llamada ‘victoria’ para el multilateralismo es realmente una victoria para las naciones ricas que intimidaron y forzaron a otras naciones a aceptar un acuerdo en sus términos. Las naciones más ricas no ofrecieron nada nuevo en reducción de emisiones o de financiación, y en lugar han buscado en dar marcha atrás a los compromisos existentes, e incluir todas las escapatorias posibles para disminuir su obligación de actuar.

Mientras que las naciones en vías de desarrollo - las que se enfrentan las peores consecuencias del cambio climático - abogaron la ambición, nos han ofrecido en lugar el "realismo" de gestos vacíos. Propuestas por parte de los países poderosos como los EE.UU. fueron tratadas como sacrosantas, mientras que las nuestras eran desechables. Los acuerdos fueron siempre a expensas de las víctimas, en lugar de los culpables del cambio climático. Cuando Bolivia dijo que no estaba de acuerdo con el texto en las últimas horas de conversaciones, la objeción fue rechazada. Un acuerdo en el que sólo los poderosos llegan a la victoria no es una negociación, es una imposición.

Bolivia llegó a Cancún con propuestas concretas que traen esperanza para el futuro. Estas propuestas fueron acordadas por 35.000 personas en una histórica Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos de Cochabamba en abril de 2010. Estas buscan soluciones justas a la crisis climática y abordar sus causas profundas. En el año transcurrido desde Copenhague, estas propuestas se integraron en el texto de negociación de las partes, y sin embargo el texto de Cancún excluye sistemáticamente estas voces. No pueden convencer a Bolivia de abandonar sus principios o los de los pueblos que representamos. Vamos a seguir luchando junto a las comunidades afectadas en todo el mundo hasta lograr la justicia climática.

Bolivia ha participado en estas negociaciones de buena fe y la esperanza de que podamos lograr un acuerdo climático efectivo. Estábamos dispuestos a ceder en muchas cosas, salvo la vida de nuestro pueblo. Lamentablemente, eso es lo que las naciones más ricas del mundo esperan que hagamos. Los países pueden tratar de aislarnos de nuestra posición, pero hemos venido aquí en representación de los pueblos y movimientos sociales que quieren una acción real y eficaz para proteger el futuro de la humanidad y la Madre Tierra. Sentimos su apoyo como nuestro guía. La historia será el juez de lo que ha sucedido en Cancún.


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