The faces of the fires

The indigenous peoples of Bolivia facing the fires and a new development model

The international press clearly showed how the fire swept through the Brazilian Amazon and Bolivian forests. The images of calcined trees and animals suffering from the voracity of the flames brought climate change and environmental depredation to the forefront. However, in the shadow of the Amazon, other victims are invisible: the indigenous peoples that live in the jungle and mountains, and establish reciprocal relations with Mother Earth.

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Indigenous peoples protest in West Papua

“Monkey”, “pig”, “dog” – these words were shouted at a group of West Papuan students, who had been arrested and later released due to lack of evidence. They were accused of burning the Indonesian flag. This is the latest development in a more than 60-year struggle for the independence of West Papua. Massive protests are currently taking place in West Papua, and news of victims on both sides has reached the media. A local indigenous organisation condemns the racist remarks and general stigmatisation of indigenous peoples in West Papua.

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Indigenous peoples’ rights key in stemming Amazon fires

Indigenous peoples in the Amazon rainforest are on the front line of defending themselves and their land from the rapidly spreading fires. A majority of the tens of thousands of fires are happening in Brazil, though fires are also raging in Bolivia where 10,000 km2 of forests (an area the size of Lebanon) have burned, as well as large areas in Paraguay and Peru.

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Beyond Brazil: Who benefits from the fires in the Bolivian Amazon?

While the international community is focusing its attention on the advancing fires in Brazil, the reality is that the problem transcends the South American giant and is reflected in the nine Amazonian countries. Beneath the ashes, the fire has shown (once again), a conflict that specialists have long pointed out: the implementation of a development model based on the extraction of natural resources at the expense of nature.

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Greenland cannot be bought as it is not for sale

In August 2019, US President Mr Donald Trump expressed an interest in buying Greenland from Denmark. In an update on Facebook, IWGIA's Board Member and Inuit from Greenland, Sara Olsvig, explains why Greenland cannot be bought, and how Trump's apparent interest in Greenland is based on ignorance of all peoples’, including indigenous peoples' right to self-determination.

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IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. The Indigenous World 2019.

Contact IWGIA

Prinsessegade 29 B, 3rd floor
DK 1422 Copenhagen
Phone: (+45) 53 73 28 30
CVR: 81294410

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