Montreal, Canada – Indigenous Leaders sent a clear message to governments inside the COP15 UN biodiversity talks today – Indigenous Rights is a red line. As ministers begin final negotiations, the text needs to include explicit recognition of Indigenous Peoples rights, roles, and territories at COP15.
Photos of the message sent inside the venue can be found in the Greenpeace Media Library.
Orpha Novita Yoshua, an Indigenous Namblong woman from West Papua, said:
“Indigenous Rights are not negotiable. As an Indigenous woman, there are too many hurdles trying to stop me from working to protect the forest. We are looking for ways for Indigenous women and young people to get involved and get finance to fund our biodiversity protection work.
“Rights delayed are rights denied. No backtracking now. I have work to do. Indigenous Rights are the most realistic path forward to protect the Papuan rainforest. It is the right thing to do, and it makes the most sense here.”
Valentin Engobo, leader of the Lokolama community in the Congo Basin, which protects the world’s largest tropical peatland, said:
“We are the ones doing the work. We protect biodiversity. You won’t replace us. We won’t let you. There is so much vision in our community for what we can do with stronger direct finance and stronger protection targets.There is no time to go backwards. We are the ones providing solutions here. You can be our partners, if you want. But you cannot push us out.”
Last week, 3,500 people marched in Montreal, calling on the COP15 to protect Indigenous lands and Indigenous Rights.
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