India: Declaration on Dams and Natural Resource Protection
During the two-day consultation programme “Indigenous Peoples Consultation on Dams and Natural Resources Protection in India’s North East” in Argalta, environmentalists, social organizations and pressure groups have asserted that the land, forests, rivers and all natural resources in India’s North East belong to the indigenous people of the region. The participants expressed their concern on the introduction of more than 200 mega dams and other ‘unsustainable development policies and projects’ in the region done without the consent of the indigenous peoples of the region.
The participants asserted that mega dam constructions that had already been commissioned such as Loktak Project in Manipur, Dumbur Dam in Tripura have already led to widespread dispossession, loss of lands, extinction of flora and fauna, demographic impacts on indigenous peoples in the region and other human rights violations. “Our land and all natural resources are inherent sources for our life, culture, identity, survival and future of our present and coming generations,” the participants affirmed. It was stressed that the indigenous peoples in the region have the right to self-determination over their lands, territories and resources and they possess undeniable rights over its management and use. The Declaration Calls upon the Government of India and Corporate Bodies · The Government of India and all corporate bodies should respect and recognize indigenous peoples' rights over our land and resources in India’s North East and also to respect and recognize their self determined development processes in the region. · Implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007 and recommendations of all UN human rights bodies in all development processes affecting their land and resources. · Decommission Dumbur HEP project in Tripura and Loktak Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project in Manipur. · Revoke all MoUs, Environment Clearances for mega dams in the region, especially for 2700 MW Lower Siang HEP, 3000 MW Dibang HEP, 1750 MW Lower Demwe in Arunachal Pradesh, 1200 MW Teesta III HEP, 500 MW Teesta IV HEP, 97 MW Tashiding HEP, 280 MW Panang HEP etc in Sikkim, 1500 MW Tipaimukh HEP, 4000 MW Etalin HEP, 2000 MW Lower Subansiri HEP, 600 MW Kameng HEP etc, granted in the region despite peoples vehement objections and also without their consent. · Conduct a full review of Mapithel Dam construction and other ongoing mega dams constructions for their compliance with social, environment and human rights norms and safeguards as laid down by the World Commission on Dams, UN Indigenous Peoples Declaration, other human rights treaties and as reflected in “The Future, We Want”, the outcome document of the Rio+20 in June 2012. · Stop all false projection of Mega Dams as Climate Change friendly in NE India. · Oppose all bilateral or multilateral secretive agreements and negotiations among States on water and energy issues in India’s North East, especially between India and Bangladesh. · Stop all Uranium mining in Meghalaya, Oil exploration efforts in Manipur without the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples. · Ensure that all International Financial Institutions, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Japanese Bank for International Cooperation etc investing in India’s North East in water, energy, forestry sector etc should respect indigenous peoples’ rights as per the UN Indigenous Peoples Declaration. · Repeal Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 and stop all militarization processes associated with development processes in India’s North East. · Protect the human rights of environmentalists, human rights defenders, dam activists campaigning for just and sustainable development in the region We committed to support and extend solidarity to all initiatives and efforts of the indigenous peoples of NE region to assert our right to self determination over our land, wetlands and rivers, forests and all resources and to define our development priorities based on our needs, wishes and aspirations. The participants of the Two Day: “Indigenous Peoples Consultation on Dams and Natural Resources Protection in India’s North East”, held at Agartala from 10 till 11 February 2013, organized by the Borok Peoples Human Rights Organization, Committee on the Protection of Natural Resources in Manipur, North East Dialogue Forum, Citizens Concern for Dams and Development, Siang Peoples Forum, Mapithel Dam Affected Villagers Organization, Peoples Movement for Subansiri Valley, Civil Society Women’s Organization, All Loktak Lake Areas Fishermen Union, Affected Citizens of Teesta, Centre for Research and Advocacy, Save Sikkim, Initiative for Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples, Peoples’ Right to Information and Development Implementing Society of Mizoram, Federation of Khasi, Jaintia and Garo People, All Assam Students Union, Save Mon Federation, All Zeliangrong Students Union, Hmar Inpui United Committee on the Protection of Natural Resources, All Tribal Students Union Manipur, Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti, Naga Women’s Union hereby