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On Tuesday, May 26, 2015, Cultural Survival delivered a radio console and microphone to Radio Snuq Jolom Konob in Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango, Guatemala. A generous grant from the Swift Foundation allowed Cultural Survival to donate this equipment to the station. Radio Snuq Jolom Konob was shut down on January 19, 2015, by the mayor of Santa Eulalia and his supporters for publicizing protests against hydroelectric companies operating in the region.

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Since a report was released on April 16, 2015 by the International Center Against Impunity in Guatemala revealing a disturbing political scandal involving high ranking political figures, Guatemala has been politically unstable. From the resignation of the vice president to the continued protests demanding the resignation of President Otto Perez Molina, Guatemala approaches one of its hardest election years. Not since the 1950’s have the various ethnic and social populations of Guatemala united for a common cause. Preliminary elections are set to be held on September 6, 2015.

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On May 6, 2015, the delegation of Panama came before United Nations Human Rights Council during the 22nd sesssion of the Universal Periodic Review to address its human rights violations and the progress that it had made since its initial review in 2010.

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Held on May 20, 2015, at the University of Ottawa, Canada, the Symposium on Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) brought together a diverse array of Indigenous experts and advocates to discuss what FPIC entails, why it is so crucial, and how it can be most effectively implemented.

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The past few weeks have been extremely important for the political future of Guatemala. On April 16, 2015, the Guatemalan Public Ministry, with the help of the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, unraveled one of the most shocking political scandals in the history of the country. The scandal is a multimillion-dollar scheme in which various individuals paid bribes to avoid customs duties on imports.

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In April 2015, Cecilia Mérida, the partner of an environmental defender who was arrested and falsely charged and imprisoned in Guatemala testified at the World Bank in Washington, D.C.

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The Indigenous Caucus of the Americas at the Organization of American States (OAS) has withdrawn from negotiations on the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a process that has been going on for over 17 years. The most recent negotiations took place May 13 to 15, 2015 in Washington, DC at the eighteenth meeting of the Working Group to Prepare the Draft American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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Many remember the controversy of the Panama Canal, a 77.1 kilometer canal that cuts through the Isthmus of Panama. The project was marred by decades of debate, thousands of worker deaths, a US-backed coup d’etat, and years of violent riots from Panamanians before it reached completion. Now, a similar project stands to exceed the scope of the Panama Canal in both size and depth. In June 2013, Nicaraguan officials approved a $50 billion (US) deal with a Hong Kong firm to oversee the construction of a 278-kilometer long canal. The HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company’s proposed project would attempt to link the Pacific to the Caribbean, allowing the passage of container ships too large for passage through the Panama Canal.

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Translated from RIDH | Panorama diplomáticoRead Cultural Survival's Shadow Report on Guatemala to CERD

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Berkeley, CA (Monday May 11, 2015): Standing on Sacred Ground, a four-part documentary series, eight years in the making, on Indigenous struggles over sacred sites, will enjoys its broadcast premiere nationally on The PBS WORLD Channel, this Sunday, May 17 at 9pm ET, with the next three episodes running on Sundays, May 24, May 31 and June 14, 2015. In addition, public television stations across the country are broadcasting the series via the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA), as part of May’s Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month (check local listings).

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Cultural Survival offers its deepest condolences to all the victims’ families of last Saturday’s earthquake outside of Kathmandu, Nepal.  The thoughts and prayers of all Cultural Survival Board and Staff are with the many affected by this disaster.  We especially stand with the Indigenous Peoples of Nepal who make up 40 percent of the national population (26.5 million) and face marginalization in the long term recovery efforts.

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On Tuesday April 21, 2015in partnership with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), Cultural Survival began regional visits to various Indigenous community radios in Guatemala. As part of ICFJ’s Regional Initiative for Investigative Journalism in the Americas, this second phase has selected 20 Indigenous journalism projects focused on improving community radio programming to receive funding. An ICFJ trainer has been serving as a mentor and guide to the community journalists as they produce investigative radio stories.

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Together, We Can Support Indigenous Communities in Nepal

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Cultural Survival is not a disaster relief organization. We work towards a world in which the rights of Indigenous Peoples are respected, protected, and fulfilled.

Bikalpa Gyan Kedra, an organization in Nepal founded by our Board Member Stella Tamang offers alternative educational opportunities to Indigenous girls and is not a disaster relief organization either, but since the earthquake they have been acting as a shelter to 300 local families. They need basic items like drinking water and food.

Radio Kairan in Kubu-Kasthali is asking for help with purchasing a power generator to get his community radio station back up and running to provide an essential means of communication for villagers on relief efforts as well as to power his community. Cost for this generator would be about $2,500

We have set up a special fund to assist our Indigenous contacts in Nepal. With your help, we can provide some limited assistance to our friends in desperate need.

Donate to Nepal