Brazilian Shaman Urges World to Sign Indian Rights Law

Brazilian shaman Davi Kopenawa Davi Kopenawa, a Yanomami shaman from the Brazilian Amazon, dubbed "the Dalai Lama of the rainforest," says, "I'm asking all governments to sign ILO 169 to guarantee our rights." ILO Convention169, which marks its twentieth anniversary this year, is the only international law to recognize and protect the land rights of indigenous and tribal peoples.

It is also a key instrument in the battle to save the world's rainforests, putting control of the land back in the hands of the people who have looked after it for generations.

Survival International, an international organization in defense of human rights for tribal populations, has renewed its call for countries all over the world to sign up to the international law for tribal peoples for the occasion of the UN Day of Indigenous Peoples, on August 9, .

To date, just twenty countries have ratified ILO 169, only three of which are members of the European Union.

The UK refuses to ratify ILO 169 on the basis that there are no tribal peoples in the country, ignoring the impact of British-run projects on tribal communities. So far, 93 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion in parliament calling on the government to ratify the Convention without delay.

Survival's director, Stephen Corry said, "Tribal peoples are among the most marginalized and vulnerable peoples in the world. When their land is taken from them, often in the name of development, they lose everything. If world leaders are serious about human rights, and about saving the rainforests, they will ratify this law."

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