Monthly Archives: December 2015

Zambia: Mining Acres of Diamonds in You

30th December 2015

OPINION

PHIL McGraw says “Every one of us, you included, has within us everything we will ever need to be, do and have anything and everything we will ever want and need.”

That everything within you represents your acres of diamonds of your inborn divinity or providence good will; talent or something that you can do better than anyone else in the whole world; creativity or ability to create things; and application or action.

Interestingly enough, most people have little or no idea about this wholesome creative power within us.

For example, there was a farmer who lived happily on his farm with his family.

Some people said that he was happy because he was successful while others said that he was successful because he was happy.

Actually, he was successful because he was happy. It is happiness which creates success and not the other way around.

The farmer was as comfortable as a fully-grown ground-nut or pea-nut plant sitting in a fertile equatorial-rain forest soil.

He was kind and because of that many people loved him. He was like a shade-giving tree at an oasis in the Kalahari or Sahara desert.

But one day a wise man came to visit and told him everything about diamonds.

He said that if he had a piece of diamond the size of his eye-ball he could buy the most expensive luxury car of his own choice and dream; if he had a piece of diamond the size of his thumb he could buy his own district in his country; if he had a piece of diamond the size of his fist he could buy his own province in his country; and if he had a piece of diamond the size of his head he could buy his own country on his continent. Upon hearing this, the farmer became obsessed with diamonds and that night he went to bed as a sad man because for the first time in his life he feared that he was poor.

On the following morning, the farmer decided to sell his farm.

He made provisions for his family and left to look for diamonds elsewhere.

He looked for diamonds in Africa, North and South America, Asia, Australia and Europe but he could not find diamonds.

When he reached Europe he ran out of money, became depressed and soon died as a destitute.

Meanwhile, back home the person who had bought his farm was one day taking his animals to drink water at a stream which passed through the farm.

As he stood by the stream, with both his hands holding his waist and watching his thirsty beasts savagely picking up big mouthfuls of water and forcefully throwing them into their drum-sized stomachs with their long tongues and erect tails, he saw the rays of the sun shining on some stones under water and making them sparkle like a rainbow.

He picked up some and took them for analysis and to his great surprise those stones were diamonds!

As a matter of fact, the whole farm was actually located on acres of pure diamonds.

This made him and his family extremely rich and famous for many generations.

The reason why the original farmer sold his farm and left to look for diamonds elsewhere was that he did not know how diamonds looked like.

Basically, he was just strolling, stretching, standing, sitting, sleeping and smooching on top of acres of pure diamonds.

There are many people who do just that in their lives!

They only stroll, stretch, stand, sit, sleep and smooch on top of their acres of pure diamonds.

For you to succeed in your life, you must first identify, develop and dig up your acres of pure diamonds within you.

This famous story is told as a parody or comical imitation of the true story of the two brothers of South Africa, Johaness Nicolaas De Beer and Diederik Arnoldus De Beer, who sold and left their farm behind which was located on acres of pure diamonds!

In May 1871, diamonds were discovered in South Africa on a farm called Vooruitzicht owned by these two brothers.

As the commotion and stampede of diamond fortune hunters increased, the two De beer brothers decided to sell their farm for 6,000 British pounds and moved away, leaving their name behind which later became legend.

The commotion and stampede of the South African diamond rush was really intense and dangerous.

For instance, on September 6, 1870, Cape Argus, the leading newspaper in the South African colony, reported that ‘When we see many giving up good situations, and even leaving their wives and children with little resources, we begin to think that diamond hunting is becoming a dangerous madness… All classes are on the road… Some are trekking on foot, some in ox-wagons and some in mule carts’.

Two months later by July 1871, about 10,000 diggers were already working the ‘De Beers diamond mine’ known as the New Rush, when a local cook found large deposits of diamonds about one mile or so from the original De beers’ farm house.

This new discovery of diamonds became the most sensational of them all in the whole of South Africa such that it had to be given a new dignified name Kimberley Diamond Mine in honor of Lord Kimberley who was the British Secretary of State for the colonies from 1870 to 1874.

In 1888, Cecil Rhodes who had come to South Africa from England in 1870 for health reasons and to grow cotton founded the De beers Kimberley mining company at the age of 34, after securing funding from the wealthy Rothschild family of England.

The two brothers Johaness Nicolaas De beer and Diederik Arnoldus De beer had nothing to do with Cecil Rhodes’ De beers Kimberly mining company as they had sold their farm on which the company was located and moved away.

Cecil Rhodes started off by renting out water pumps to diamond mine owners all of whom he later bought out. He went on to become the richest man in the Western hemisphere before he was 40 years old!

Throughout the 20th Century, the De beers Kimberley mining company maintained world monopoly in the production and sale of rough diamonds.

Today, more than one hundred years later, the De Beer Consolidated Mines (DBCM) are 74 per cent owned by the original company and 26 per cent owned by a broad-based black economic empowerment Ponahalo

Investments.

In 2007, the sales of the De Beer consolidated mines were worth US$5.9 billion.

Up until today, it remains a great mystery just to imagine how rich and famous the two De Deer brothers and their families would have become if only they had decided to stay on their farm on which was located acres of pure diamonds.

The lesson from this amazing and legendary story is as clear as daylight at noon on a sunny day.

Shiv Khera explains ‘When our attitude is right, we realise that we are all walking on acres and acres of diamonds.

Opportunity is always under our feet. We do not have to go anywhere.

All we need to do is recognise it. The grass always looks greener on the other side.

While we are eyeing the grass on the other side, there are others who are eyeing the grass on our side.

They would be happy to trade places with us.

People, who do not know how to recognise opportunity, complain of noise when it knocks.

Opportunities are easier recognised when they are leaving rather than when they are coming’.

Aminu Isa Waziri observes “Whatever you want to accomplish the power to do so has already been implanted in your being.”

The 26th US President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909) advised that “Do what you can with what you have, where you are” and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) said “What lies behind us and what lies in front of us pales in significance when compared to what lies within us.”

What matters most is ‘who you are’, positive or negative instead of ‘where you are’.

With your positive mind power you have so much opportunity under your own feet where you are right now for you to be, do and have whatever you choose to be, do and have.

Let 2016 be your year of developing your positive mind power and mining your acres of pure diamonds within you of divinity, talent, creativity and application to achieve your personal success.

I wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year 2016 with abundance in your life.

Author is a Motivational Mentor and Consultant in Positive Mind-Set Change.

SOURCE:
http://allafrica.com/stories/201512310096.html

WTO favours developed countries, not the peasants and poor people

By La Vía Campesina,
24 December 2015

Under capitalism production is not for consumption but for trade to make profits. Countries particularly the developing ones are being forced to open their borders and markets to cheap and low quality agricultural commodities from countries such as the US, China, EU, Brazil etc. All this is done to grow profits for big corporations. Everywhere WTO promotes dumping of heavily subsidised mass produced farm produce among other products from developed countries. Even countries such as South Korea and Kenya which produce adequate good quality rice and sugar respectively are forced take imports of these agricultural products.

According to Ha Won-Oh and Kim Soon-Ae, the delegates from the Korean Peasant League and Korean Women Peasants Association South Korea, because of rice imports, Korean farmers are being destroyed as imports cause low prices resulting in low incomes; the countryside is being deserted too. The youth are leaving the farms in search for better pay in urban areas. Elderly folk left on the farms. The debt owed by these farmers has doubled. Corporations such as Cargill stand to benefit as more farmers are destroyed in future. For now Korea has surplus rice. Cheap rice imports mean big foreign rice producers are being sustained while local producers are being destroyed.

The Kenyan situation is sad. Multinational corporations are stealing from the peasants and poor people. According to Cidi Otieno of Center for Constitution Implementation (CCI) Kenyan tea and coffee is being processed and packaged in Europe and imported to Kenya at higher prices. Yet the tea and coffee growers are paid very low prices which don’t allow subsistence. Farmers are being destroyed by cheap sugar imports from China. The sugar is first imported and repackaged in Uganda then sold to Kenya under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), a regional trade bloc which allows free flow of goods for trade among member countries. The local sugar industry suffers too as it cannot compete against cheap sugar imports.

“Agricultural support from the Kenyan government is low. Where l come from sugar fields have not been harvested because the rail infrastructure has collapsed. The milling factories have been affected too. Some have closed. The government pays very low prices for the sugar. Farmers cannot send their children to school or pay for health” says Mary Saka of Bunge La Mwananchi. “Rice has been affected the same way too”, she added.

“Traditional cloth (Kikoyi-traditional cloth) and handcrafts (Kiondo – a local basket) and other locally made traditional instruments (Nyatiti –an 8 string instrument and Marimba) have been patented in Europe by private companies. With the WTO Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), Kenya might soon pay royalties for producing these local goods in future. After the 10th WTO ministerial (MC10), Kenyan government could be forced to enforce patent laws under WTO as the foreign companies seek to control local production”, says Cidi Otieno.

Water too is being privatised. “Grandson, a foreign company, is supplying prepaid water to Mathare slums at very high charges. Only 3 prepaid meters service 6,000 families”, says Rachael Mwikali, a grassroots gender activist.

WTO ministerial in Nairobi must fail to save the poor, peasants and small farmers from being turned into slaves to be exploited by corporations. Our governments must pull out of WTO now. We, the peasants and activists, gathered in Nairobi calling for an End the WTO should unite and collectively fight this vampire, the WTO. Our future is better without the WTO. We call for Food Sovereignty to be embraced by our governments to support the poor and peasants.

SOURCE: La Via Campesina

Kenya: Mining CS in talks with miners over new royalties

22nd December 2015
By RICHARD MUNGAI, Dec. 22, 2015, 7:00 am

The government plans to fastrack implementation of higher mining royalties to give Kenyans a bigger share of earnings from the country’s mineral resources, newly appointed Mining Cabinet secretary Dan Kazungu said yesterday.

Kazungu said the government is negotiating with miners for a new royalty structure, and any new miner will abide by the updated rates.

“We are negotiating with the companies that have been paying much lower rates. We are expecting a breakthrough in the introduction of the new royalty structure,” he said during his inaugural press briefing at the Ministry of Mining offices in Nairobi.

Previous plans by the state to increase the royalties on various minerals have been met with resistance by major prospecting firms like Base Resources which mines the Kwale mineral sands.

The dispute started following a legal notice issued by former mining CS Najib Balala in August 2013, stating that royalty rates had been increased from a rate below 2.5 per cent to over five per cent for most minerals.

The notice stated that royalties chargeable on diamonds shall be 12 per cent of the gross sales value, while niobium, titanium ores, zircon, and rare earth elements and radioactive minerals would attract a rate of 10 per cent.

Coal together with ores such as metallic, iron, manganese, chromium, nickel and bauxite would be charged eight per cent of the gross sale value, while gold, silver, platinum, platinoid group metals, gemstones, fluorspar, diatomite and natural carbon dioxide gas would be charged at a five per cent rate.

Industrial minerals including gypsum, limestone and silica sand would attract a charge of one per cent of the gross sales value.

Kazungu did divulge the proposed higher rates.

“The new royalty structure will ensure that we get a good return from our mineral wealth,” Kazungu said.

He added that the mining sector strategy is ready and the ministry is waiting to officially receive it from global consultancy firm, McKinsey, which was hired in August to advice on the industry growth.

“We need to have a strategy that will help us to become the best place to invest in mining. Very soon, honorable [former CS Najib] Balala will be coming to hand over that strategy to us,” he said.

The ministry, Kazungu further said, is also reaching out to MPs to fastrack the Mining Bill 2015 which will be instrumental in streamlining the sector.

“We have been relying on a 75-year old law enacted in 1940. We need to have a new legal framework which will benefit us and the investors,” he said.

SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201512220193.html

WTO talks an unfair match that pits the rich against the poor

By Billow Kerrow | Saturday, Dec 19th 2015 at 22:00

NAIROBI: If you lock powerful trading giants of the West in the same room with our small economies from the Third World to negotiate, chances are there will be no outcome because they are simply not on the same plane. Or if at all there will be a deal, it will be a raw one. In its 20 years of existence, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has not created a level playing field that would ensure benefits for all its member countries, some of whom hardly do any international trade.

Setting rules for global trade that would please small farmers in Asia and Africa, and multinational corporations in Europe and America at the same time was not going to be easy anyway, and that’s the trouble with the WTO. The big players are determined to set these rules, and they invariably do so in fine print but the small players often fail to notice it. However, 20 years later, some emerging economies are a bit wiser and may not walk into the negotiations blindfolded and hence the slow pace.

Western nations trade proposals are often driven by their corporate world whose single most important motive is price and market domination. This explains why small family farmers associations in the West and their civil society usually hold protests at such trade gatherings. Similarly in the developing nations, it is the modern sector that often calls the shots in multilateral or bilateral trade deals. And not surprisingly too, even the usual budgetary proposals on incentives on tax measures and policies invariably favour the corporate world, not our SMEs or farmers.

For Africa whose populations largely live below the poverty line, and whose subsistence economies are dependent on agriculture, the WTO is yet deliver on market access for their produce. In the Doha negotiations in 2001, developing countries sought to obtain deals on the agriculture and development agendas, which would see the developed nations, eliminate trade barriers, and farm subsidies to allow for global fair and ethical trade. It became hard for the big Northern economies to let go, and negotiations have been a circus since.

The weak governments of the South have not thrown in the towel nonetheless, but the organisation risks being irrelevant if there is no payoff to the world’s least developed countries, and the developing nations in general. The recent globalisation of the world economy, multilateral economic pacts and bilateral agreements in the past two decades have all conspired to generally water down the impact of the WTO. In short, the world has moved on, particularly for the North. This explains why they are now keen on bringing new issues to the table, which seek to liberalise procurement, investments, mobility of professional services and privatisation of state corporations. These issues will allow their multinational corporations and professionals take control in developing countries. At the same time, they continue procrastinating on our lifeline — agriculture. It has remained difficult to export our tea, coffee, flowers and other commodities to the Northern countries because of subsidies, tariffs and non-tariff barriers designed to protect their farmers.

Deals on matters such as ICT do not in effect benefit our countries because the manufacturers are mainly in the North. Services is another area that we are ill-prepared to sign off in bold. Unfair trade terms have the potential to kill local economies in the long run and instigate social instability if we are not careful. We must not have a deal at all costs!

The greatest encouragement in the Nairobi talks is the hard ball played by emerging nations such as India. If the West does not climb down, let’s archive the WTO and go regional, and continental. We will do better.

SOURCE: http://www.standardmedia.co.ke/mobile/article/2000185788/wto-talks-an-unfair-match-that-pits-the-rich-against-the-poor

Zimbabwe: Platinum Miners Target Value Addition

The Herald
8th December 2015

Platinum producers including Zimplats are engaged in consultations to come up with beneficiation investment strategies in line with Government’s directive to export only value-added products.

The move is expected to increase revenue in the wake of depressed global mineral prices. Zimplats managing director Mr Stanley Segula confirmed the development saying the operating environment called for innovation and investment in current technologies.

“We have been challenged as the PGM (Platinum Group Metals) by the Minister of Mines Cde Walter Chidhakwa to invest more in platinum beneficiation,” said Mr Segula.

“We are committing ourselves as platinum producers. There is a number of us, we have a committee that will look into that request from Government and see how we can initiate the process”.

Towards that goal, he said Zimplats is in the process of reactivating the base metal refinery mothballed during the BHP era.

Minister Chidhakwa, who was speaking during a recent commissioning of Chinhoyi University of Technology library extension, said that platinum producers will be engaged to come up with a fund to support value-addition and beneficiation research.

“It is good for our country, our universities, Zimplats and others for a fund targeting research into how we can beneficiate our minerals and add value to them,” he said.

He said technology is evolving and there is need for research into ways of reclaiming valuable mining dumps which could not be sufficiently mined owing to inappropriate technologies.

SOURCE: http://allafrica.com/stories/201512080996.html

Kenya: On the Nairobi Ministerial of the WTO

A joint statement by African and Indian civil society

2015-10-27, Issue 748

In a joint statement released and endorsed by nearly 200 organisations across Africa and India on the occasion of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit taking place in New Delhi this week, African and Indian civil society remind their governments of the key issues at stake at the forthcoming WTO Ministerial which will take place in Nairobi in December.

We, on behalf of civil society in Africa and India, write to you, the Heads of Governments in Africa’s 54 countries and India, as you meet for the Third India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS-III) through the 26-29th October in New Delhi, India. As you all deliberate on a ‘reinvigorated partnership-shared vision’, we would urge you to consider the common economic, social and environmental challenges that all our countries face, while reminding you of the issues at stake at the forthcoming Tenth Ministerial Conference (MC10) of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, between December 15-18th this year.

One of the main objectives of the WTO was to create more opportunities for the developing world, and even more so for least developed countries (LDCs), so they could advance their development progress. As a result, the world was to see a more balanced economic and, hopefully, socially just order. However, after twenty years of the WTO, we do not see any materialisation of those promises from global trade rules. In spite of some strengthening of developing country voices, the developed countries and the transnational corporations within them have grown more powerful, strident and aggressive. They have made it clear that they are interested in the WTO only to “take” from and not to “give” to developing countries. The current Director General, Roberto Azevedo, (himself from a developing country) and the WTO Secretariat and it’s functionaries, are taking pro-developed country positions in the desperation to retain WTO’s relevance as a multilateral forum.

In fact, even the WTO’s Doha Development Round, launched in 2001 and mandated to address core development issues faced by the South, continues to see stiff opposition by the developed countries to any concessions for developing countries and to removal of barriers, which could actually enable them to provide better economic and social opportunities to their people. Special and differential (S&D) treatment in agriculture and NAMA, for example through easier terms for tariff cuts, Special Products and Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM) in agriculture, preferential Rules of Origin for LDCs, and most importantly talks on agricultural subsidies, including the crucial issue of cotton subsidies, given by the West have failed to get anywhere. In this context we strongly support the statement made by the Kenyan Foreign Minister, Honourable Ms Amina Mohamed on July 1, that the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations cannot be concluded without “credible” developmental outcomes.

It is not only that the WTO is not helping realize development pathways in the South; it is actively threatening development policy space and development-oriented programmes in the developing world. The stiff resistance by the USA, EU, and other developed countries to negotiate a permanent solution to the food security proposal and a development-oriented outcome in agriculture, which is not only of key interest to India and several African countries, but also to many other developing countries, is a clear evidence of this challenge.

Agriculture and food, and the ability to continue to produce food, is a core development need in both India and Africa. We would like to also support the position of the Cotton-4 countries on elimination of all subsidies on cotton and Duty-Free-Quota-Free (DFQF) market access to LDCs on cotton and its products, which is of key interest to African countries as well as India.

In NAMA (non-agricultural market access), the developed countries continue to insist not only on adverse formulas on tariff cuts that will force developing countries to cut more tariffs, but also on “Sectorals or zero-for-zero” where some sectors will see total elimination of tariffs with immediate effect. The NAMA proposals will severely limit domestic industrialization and job creation prospects in Africa and India.

The TRIPS Agreement under the WTO set up intellectual property rights (IPRs) standards which are being pushed through trade rules; it creates barriers to technology development and transfer in developing countries with impacts on access to medicines and health care, key agricultural inputs including seeds varieties and traditional knowledge. However, the TRIPs Agreement had offered some flexibilities to developing countries that could help them protect important development priorities. These flexibilities are now being increasingly challenged. Moreover, the TRIPS waiver for LDCs is continuously under negotiation and is used as a lever to extract other concessions. Now developed countries are opposing amendments to TRIPS Rules to prevent ‘biopiracy’ from Africa, India and several other developing countries.

The current WTO situation presents grave contradictions. Instead of creating spaces to foster growth and development, we see more and more aggressive demands are made of developing countries to prise open their economies on very unfair terms, which would threaten livelihoods, food security, locally beneficial industrialization and beneficiation (local value addition). The current negotiations at the WTO clearly indicate these contradictions, created by the aggressive positioning of the developed countries: pushing a binding Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) while not granting a permanent solution to food security and offering only a “best endeavor” (I will try my best) LDC package; offering no cuts in domestic subsidies, but instead asking developing countries to cut subsidies and grant further market access; and blocking TRIPs flexibilities while pushing for higher IPR protection through TRIPs.

Further, the developed countries are creating parallel and aggressive mechanisms through secret negotiations of plurilateral agreements such as Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), Information Technology Agreement-2 (ITA-2), Agreement in Environmental Goods and Services, and bilateral trade and investment agreements all of which thwart the multilateral nature of the WTO.

As you discuss issues of critical importance for us, for your people, at this important Summit, we put on the table the following specific recommendations that civil society in India and across African countries want to put forward to their leaders:

• Ensure a strong development outcome at the Nairobi MC10 of WTO with significant gains for developing and least developed countries. The “success” of the Ministerial should not be valued in terms of reaching the low hanging fruits, which favours developed countries, but one that actually equips developing countries to address key economic, social and environmental needs;

The Doha Development Round should not be concluded in Nairobi or later without a meaningful development package and no other round should be launched without addressing the core development issues that the DDR was mandated to address. In particular, the Singapore Issues including government procurement, competition policy, investment and any “new issues” would severely restrict space for implementing development oriented policies and hence should not be touched;

• Specific deliverables of a development package should include but not be limited to; a permanent solution on the food security proposal that allows essential subsidies to producers for supporting public food stockholding; discussions on domestic subsidies including on cotton subsidies, by the advanced countries like the USA and the EU, an agreement on elimination of export competition, special and differential treatment (S&DT) for developing countries in all aspects of agricultural and NAMA negotiations including on tariff cuts and safeguard mechanisms, ‘Biodiversity Amendment’ to the TRIPS Agreement to prevent ‘biopiracy’, and a strong LDC package. On the other hand, further advances in and weakening of the flexibilities of the TRIPs Agreement, the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and further talks on plurilaterals and mega regional FTAs should be blocked; and,

• Conduct the negotiations in a transparent, inclusive and fair manner that truly reflects the multilateral nature of the WTO and not participate in small ‘green room’ discussions and dealings that leave a large number of Member States out of discussions that would critically impact their people and the planet.

India and Africa have played a key role in WTO negotiations, most often supporting strong developing country positions. They have a crucial role to play in this Ministerial. It is of tremendous importance that the WTO Ministerial Conference is being held in Africa. As a strong and articulate advocate of developing country space in the WTO, the African countries, and Kenya in particular, has a responsibility to ensure a balanced and development friendly outcome at the Ministerial. The “success” of the Ministerial will only be a success if it delivers on key development objectives of the South that includes the interests of the people in Africa and India and benefits all people in the developing world. If it can’t, it is of no interest to us.

Working together, India and Africa must ensure our people have access to diversified opportunities for livelihoods, jobs and incomes, healthy food to eat and the ability to produce it locally, have access to adequate services, such as drinking water, health and sanitation, natural resources, and live in a safe and sustainable environment. No trade rules should come in the way of attaining these objectives. The WTO in particular must be allowed only to forward and not to hinder these objectives.

Our leaders must also remember the commitments they made in the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which is to “leave no one behind”. They know it will be impossible to follow the principles of this Agenda and meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) without fair trade rules and other means of implementation. That is why they fought so hard on these issues in these negotiations. But unless they hold strong against pressures and keep reiterating their development priorities and fight for the policy space to realise those, their commitments to the global community and to their own people will be meaningless. The WTO and the Nairobi Ministerial is the place where this commitment must be made real.

As Kenya prepares to host the WTO’s MC10, we urge you to keep in your mind your people and their needs, and not to put trade before people. As all of you prepare to engage with the WTO until December and beyond, you must ask yourselves the questions: What has the WTO done for us so far? What can I gain here that I can justify my engagement with the WTO to my people? What can I take back from Delhi, India that helps us all move trade and development in the right direction? We are all waiting eagerly to hear the answers from you.

Signatories as on 27 October 2015

For more details please contact:

1. Ranja Sengupta, Senior Researcher, Third World Network, E-mail:
ranja.sengupta1@gmail.com
2. Stefano Prato, Managing Director and Editor, Development, Society for International
Development, E-mail: stefanop@sidint.org
3. Biraj Patnaik, Right to Food Campaign, India, E-mail: biraj.patnaik@gmail.com
4. Manicandan, Coordinator, Our World is Not for Sale (OWINFS), India, E-mail:
manicandan@gmail.com

Copy to:

1) Shri. Narendra Modi, Hon’ble Prime Minister, Government of India
2) Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Hon’ble Minister of External Affairs, Government of India
3) Smt. Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman, Hon’ble Minister for Commerce and Industry, Government of India
4) H.E. Prime Minister, Abdelmalek Sellal, Algeria
5) H.E. Vice President, Manuel Vicente, Angola
6) H.E. President, Yayi Boni, Benin
7) H.E. Foreign Minister, Phandu Skelemani, Botswana
8) H.E. President, Blaise Compaoré, Burkina Faso
9) H.E. President, Pierre Nkurunziza, Burundi
10) H.E. President, Jorge Carlos Fonseca, Cape Verde
11) H.E. President, Idriss Déby, Chad
12) H.E. President, Paul Biya, Cameroon
13) H.E. President, Ikililou Dhoinine, Comoros
14) H.E. Prime Minister, Daniel Kablan Duncan, Cote d’Ivoire
15) H.E. President, Denis Sassou Nguesso, Congo–Brazaville
16) H.E. President, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, Djibouti
17) H.E. President, Joseph Kabila , DR Congo
18) H.E. Prime Minister, Sherif Ismail, Egypt
19) H.E. President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, Equatorial Guinea
20) H.E. Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia
21) H.E. President, Ali Bongo Ondimba, Gabon
22) H.E. President, Yahya Jammeh, Gambia
23) H.E. President, John Dramani Mahama, Ghana
24) H.E. President, Alpha Condé , Guinea
25) H.E. President, José Mário Vaz, Guinea-Bissau
26) H.E. President, Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya
27) H.E. Prime Minister, Tom Thabane, Lesotho
28) H.E. Vice President, Joseph Boakai, Liberia
29) H.E. Prime Minister, Abdullah al-Thani, Libya
30) H.E. President, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, Madagascar
31) H.E. President, Peter Mutharika, Malawi
32) H.E. President, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, Mali
33) H.E. President, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Mauritania
34) H.E. Prime Minister, Navin Ramgoolam, Mauritius
35) H.E. Prime Minister, Abdelilah Benkirane, Morocco
36) H.E. President, Armando Guebuza, Mozambique
37) H.E. President, Hifikepunye Pohamba, Namibia
38) H.E. President, Mahamadou Issoufou, Niger
39) H.E. President, Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria
40) H.E. President, Paul Kagame, Rwanda
41) H.E. Prime Minister, Gabriel Costa, São Tomé and Príncipe
42) H.E. President, Macky Sall, Senegal
43) H.E. President, James Michel , Seychelles
44) H.E. Foreign Minister, Samura Kamara, Sierra Leone
45) H.E. President, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Somalia
46) H.E. President, Jacob Zuma, South Africa
47) H.E. President, Salva Kiir Mayardit, South Sudan
48) H.E. President, Omar Hassan Ahamed Albashir, Sudan
49) H.E. King, Mswati III, Swaziland
50) H.E. President, Jakaya Kikwete, Tanzania
51) H.E. President, Faure Gnassingbe, Togo
52) H.E. President, Moncef Marzouki, Tunisia
53) H.E. President, Yoweri Museveni, Uganda
54) H.E. Acting President, Guy Scott, Zambia

Also copied to heads of African missions in New Delhi.

SOURCE: http://www.pambazuka.net/en/category.php/features/95908

UN Forum shares experiences of extractive industries and human rights

Published by MAC on 2015-11-26

The talking shop that is the Fourth Annual Forum on Business & Human Rights has recently taken place in Geneva. It has been used as the vehicle to launch various reports (see for instance: Barrick Gold Fails to Address Ongoing Violence at Tanzania Mine).

As previously, issues around the extractive industries played a disproportionally large role.

Indigenous Peoples once again met before the Forum itself, and issued a caucus statement, demanding “that transnational companies’ countries of origin assume responsibility to guarantee that businesses do not violate human rights in third countries, and where this occurs, that they take all measures necessary so that justice can be done and the necessary remedy provided.”

In addition – and apparently for the first time – the caucus stated that “[M]ultilateral development financial institutions (such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank) and new development financial institutions (such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and New Development Bank (BRICS), aimed at financing private sector infrastructure) should comply with the UN Guiding Principles within the framework of standards governing human rights and the specific rights of Indigenous Peoples…”

Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus Statement to the 4th UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

United Nations Fourth Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights
Joint statement

16-18 November 2015

Representatives of Indigenous Peoples from different world regions, meeting at a caucus on the 15th of November 2015, declare that:

“We, the Indigenous Peoples, Mother Nature’s sons and daughters, with our world vision and spirituality, demand that States protect, and that business respect, our rights to land, territory and water, the wind and other natural resources, fully guaranteeing our individual and collective rights as recognised in all the conventions, treaties and international norms on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We embrace and restate our ideas in the Indigenous People’s caucus Declaration made at the Third Forum on Business and Human Rights, in 2014. We express our great concern that no measures have been taken this regard.”[1]

For this reason we have reviewed, debated and agreed upon the following recommendations regarding the subject matter and the six key areas of the fourth forum:

– Efforts to track performance and progress in the implementation of the Guiding Principles

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (hereafter, the “Guiding Principles”) are an asset that encourage respect for human rights. However, as the testimonies of Indigenous Peoples show, irreparable damage has been caused to Mother Earth and all living beings, such as murders, abuse, rape, the disappearance of rivers, destruction of the social fabric, hunger and poverty. That is why we would like to reiterate that these principles should not justify businesses presence without the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous Peoples.

We denounce the militarisation of our land by armies, paramilitaries and other armed groups, who protect business interests and violate our rights. These armed groups are the causes of forced disappearances, they threaten and murder us, they break the balance of our communities and contribute to the destruction of our culture. All of these facts must be investigated independently and those responsible tried and punished.[2]

Further to the Report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (Measuring the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights) of July 2015, we urge the Working Group to engage in further study regarding gaps in data coverage on Indigenous Peoples described in paragraph 51 of that report. We also urge States and corporations to facilitate culturally appropriate data indicators and collection with the full and active participation of Indigenous Peoples.

In their future work and activities related to the implementation of their remit to promote the Guiding Principles, we urge the Working Group to review the implementation of Indigenous Peoples’ rights, building on its 2013 annual report (A/68/279) which addressed the issue of indigenous peoples’ rights in relation to its mandate. We particularly request that the Working Group, in cooperation with indigenous peoples, conduct further research and hold discussions on issue of guarantying effective remedial mechanisms.

– Policy coherence in global governance frameworks

Some States are promoting laws to eliminate Indigenous Peoples’ rights in favour of business corporations, therefore negating any coherence in policy action with the Guiding Principles. We demand States and businesses that they ensure the full and effective participation of Indigenous Peoples before undertaking any initiative, in compliance with the norms stated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and ILO Convention 169.

We ask States to comply with their obligation and commit to following up on the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the recommendations of the Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur report on the rights of Indigenous Peoples regarding international investment and free-trade regimes and their impact on the rights of Indigenous Peoples published in August 2015.

We recommend consulting the Indigenous Peoples Major Group Position Paper on Proposed SDG Indicators[3], published by AIPP, CADPI, IITC and Tebtebba, in which it is requested that the definition of the indicators be guided by Indigenous People’s human rights, and that States include legitimate representation of Indigenous Peoples permanently when collecting official date, in order to guarantee those data are sufficiently disaggregated.

We would also state that existing multilateral development financial institutions (such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank) and new development financial institutions (such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and New Development Bank (BRICS), aimed at financing private sector in infrastructure) should comply with the Guiding Principles within the framework of standards governing human rights and the specific rights of Indigenous Peoples, like the UNDRIP and ILO Convention 169.

– Policy and practice: coherence at the national level

In our review of National Action Plans (NAPs) on business and human rights that have been developed to date and are being developed, it is a matter of great disappointment that human rights obligations of States, including to the rights of Indigenous Peoples, have not been given due regard, specifically, concerning Indigenous Peoples participation in the elaboration of NAPs.

We recommend State bodies, including the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), to fully address the rights and interests of Indigenous Peoples in developing and implementing action plans aimed at putting into practice the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The Caucus restates article 37 of the UNDRIP and recognises that, in those countries where Indigenous Peoples have treaties, these treaties must be respected and fully applied in the context of businesses obligation to respect and State obligation to protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Finally, in order to support coherence in the application of the Guiding Principles, we feel it is necessary that the Human Rights Council ensures there is always an Indigenous People’s representative among the members of the Working Group.

– Corporate respect for human rights in practice

The Indigenous Caucus states that many States have been co-opted by transnational and national companies that promote an economic development model based on extractivism, the destruction of land and territory, and who are unaware of and violate Indigenous People’s rights as set out in international regulatory framework.

We reject using the issue of accelerated climate change as a justification for mercantilisation and imposing the implantation of energy projects, that exploit the water, wind, sun and land under the supposed paradigm of ‘green energy’, which only benefits the businesses involved and continues to displace and rob Indigenous Peoples of their territories.

We demand that transnational companies’ countries of origin assume responsibility to guarantee that businesses do not violate human rights in third countries, and where this occurs, that they take all measures necessary so that justice can be done and the necessary remedy provided.

– Groups at risk

Indigenous Peoples have been the guardians and guarantors of the abundance of natural resources in our territories, but this role we have, which benefits all society, has placed us at particular risk of violations of our individual and collective rights by business interests that promote expropriation, removal and exploitation. We demand that consultations are carried out in good faith, guaranteeing our right to free, prior and informed consent to any business intervention, and thus ensuring self-determination of our territories, in accordance with our ways of organising and decision-making.

We demand that those peoples living in voluntary isolation are resected, and that no business projects are carried out in their territories.

We would also like to express our concern that there are no mechanisms to duly protect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, specifically women. We denounce all acts committed against women and men leaders and Indigenous People’s authorities in defence of their territory.

– Access to effective remedy

The Indigenous Peoples recommend a legally-binding treaty applicable to all transnational, national and sub-national business enterprises. This treaty should cover all violations of human rights (not merely grave violations). Furthermore, the treaty drafting process should be inclusive and participatory for all States, civil society and Indigenous Peoples.

The Indigenous Peoples in attendance at this Forum wish to express our solidarity with all peoples who are suffering serious violations of their rights, particularly:

Rwanda: The petition of the Rwandan Indigenous People to be officially recognised: the indigenous Batwa identity of Rwanda, taking into consideration the recommendations made by States during 23rd Session of the Universal Periodic Review, which makes reference to the Batwa People and thus strengthen their integration into development programmes.

Brazil: We denounce the genocide that is being committed against Guaraní-Kaiowá people, who have been massacred, murdered, assaulted and violently removed from their territories, and whose rights are threatened by the proposed Constitutional Amendment 215, which aims to take the traditional lands away from the Indigenous Peoples, the Quilombolas and all traditional communities.

Guatemala: We express solidarity with Angélica Choc, a Q’eqchi’ Indigenous woman from Guatemala, who has a lawsuit against the material and intellectual authors of the murder of her husband Adolfo Ich Chamán, which involves a private security company working for a mining company. We are also concerned with the destruction of the social fabric and the persecution of indigenous leaders who are opposed to the hydroelectric project in Xalalá, which could lead to the disappearance of 40 indigenous communities.

[1] http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Business/ForumSession3/Submissions/BettinaCruz_Declaration_SP.pdf
[2] This is the case in Honduras, where Indigenous Peoples are being murdered and criminalised by the army.
[3] http://aippnet.org/index.php/human-rights/1569-indigenous-peoples-major-group-position-paper-on-proposed-sdg-indicators

SOURCE:
http://www.minesandcommunities.org/article.php?a=13179