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"We must ensure the participation of indigenous peoples – women and men – in decision-making at all levels. This includes discussions on accelerating action towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals and defining the post-2015 development agenda."Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon2014 Theme: "Bridging the gap: implementing the rights of indigenous peoples"

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Reposted from Responding to Climate Change

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The 2014 United Nations Development Programme Human Development Report, Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience, was just released on July 24, 2014. By identifying vulnerable communities and bolstering their ability to react to negative forces through collective action, governments stands to improve many of the human rights violations affecting Indigenous Peoples and marginalized groups around the world.

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On the morning of May 20, 2014, leaders of the Y’apo Avá-Guaraní community appeared before Judge Silvia Cuevas Ovelar as summoned. Meanwhile, over 300 heavily armed Paraguayan national police descended upon Y’apo, ruling in hand from the same judge in favor of Brazilian agribusiness Laguna S.A., ordering the relocation of residents and the destruction of their property. The community was razed while women and children fled to the forest.

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Daniel Pascual is a 42-year-old Quiche defender of Indigenous rights, a well known activist and the current president of the Comite de Unidad Campesina (CUC). Daniel Pascual recently appeared at the Constitutional Court of Guatemala to hear the complaint filed by the president of the Foundation Against Terrorism, Ricardo Méndez Ruiz, accusing him of libel, slander and defamation.

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According to UN Special  Rapporteur on Business and Human Rights John Ruggie, when extractive companies have problems with local communities surrounding their development, about 80% of time can be devoted to conflict resolution: not an effective time strategy. Companies can lose up to $20 million a week due to shut down costs as a result of social conflict.

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Traditional Mayan authorities from Huehuetenango, Guatemala traveled to Spain in early July on a tour to raise awareness about the systematic human rights abuses experienced by their peoples at the hands of Spanish companies including Hydro Santa Cruz, a hydroelectric company operating in Santa Cruz Barillas, Guatemala. The Plurinational Government of the Q’anjob’al, Chuj, Akateka, and Popti’ and Mestizo peoples of Huehuetenango, including a representative of the community of Santa Cruz Barillas, and Santa Eulalia, visited Madrid and Barcelona on their tour.

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"If the dam is to be built, our homeland, our longhouses, our burial ground, our places of interest, all will be under the water. This will definitely put an end to our livelihood, our cultures. We want the government to respect our boundaries, to respect our rights upon our land."

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The United Nations General Assembly has put forth a zero draft resolution to be adopted on September 22nd, 2014. The draft outlines the goals and strategies that the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples hopes to achieve and implement.

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Indigenous protesters are under threat by the Peruvian government after a law was passed that effectively gives the police the “license to kill” according to the Lima-based Instituto Libertad y Democracia.  The law grants: “members of the armed forces and the national police exemption from criminal responsibility if they cause injury or death, including through the use of guns or other weapons, while on duty.

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Cultural Survival congratulates Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein in his appointment as the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. His term will begin starting September of 2014. Prince Zeid has been an Ambassador for Jordan to the United Nations for the last 10 years and he is proud to be the first High Commissioner to come from the Asian continent to represent the Arab and Muslim worlds. Prince Zeid has had a successful career contributing to the drafting of the elements for individual offenses such as genocide and war crimes.

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