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MRG urges states to ensure full compliance of biodiversity and climate efforts with indigenous rights standards

29 September 2023

This message was delivered on 28 September 2023 by Glenn Payot during the Interactive Dialogue with EMRIP at Human Rights Council – 54th Session on item 3 & 5

Madame Chair-Rapporteur,

Minority Rights Group stands in solidarity with your colleague Anexa Alfred Cunningham, expert of EMRIP, who has been forced into exile for over a year, as a reprisal for her work by the authorities of Nicaragua.

MRG welcomes EMRIP’s Study on the impact of militarization on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as its Expert Mechanism Advice No. 16 on the same issue.

We welcome in particular the conclusions and recommendations related to the growing practice of resorting to militarized force to protect conservation projects, in the name of promoting biodiversity or addressing climate change. This rising trend, also known as « green militarization », often goes hand in hand with denial of land rights, eviction and displacement, as well as with serious violations of the rights of indigenous peoples living in or around these lands. In the Kahuzi-Biega National Park (or PNKB) in the DRC, MRG has documented how park guards have been killing, raping and terrorizing indigenous Batwa living on their ancestral lands.

MRG welcomes your Expert Mechanism Advice that provides much needed guidance for states. We urge all states to ensure that their legitimate biodiversity and climate mitigation efforts fully comply with these standards.

We urge in particular donor states like Germany and the United States, which have financially supported the PNKB in the DRC, to exercise due diligence and to ensure that they do not fund conservation activities that result in serious violations of the rights of indigenous peoples. Donor states and conservation agencies have a key responsibility to prevent and stop gross violations of indigenous peoples’ rights related to “green militarization”.

I thank you.

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Photo: Screenshot from the advocacy statement video.